Amrita Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE) hosted its fifth Entrepreneurship Awareness Camp (EAC) for the students of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham from September 16 -18, 2016. The three-day camp saw a participation of 75 engineering students who aspired to become entrepreneurs. Several established entrepreneurs shared their vast knowledge and experiences in their journeys to become successful.

The session on the first day commenced with a prayer. Mr. R. Krishnan, Head, ACE, then welcomed the gathering and briefed one and all on how this camp would be a promising one. Prof. C. Parameswaran, Director, Corporate and Industry Relations (CIR), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, spoke to the students on the various options available to them post graduation and conveyed his best wishes for the camp. He also said that he was looking forward to see some budding entrepreneurs from the college in the near future.

The first speaker for the day was Mr. A. Somasundaram, Managing Director, Essilor Sankar & Co. He spoke about how arduous his personal journey of becoming an entrepreneur was. He quoted his trials, tribulations and initial failure in the field. "Every difficulty is a new opportunity. It is this approach of mine that has made me shine as a businessman," he said while talking about his plethora of entrepreneurship ventures. He then addressed the various queries put forth by the students and cleared all their doubts.

The next speaker for the day was by Ms. Reni Auxiliya, Executive Director, TiE – Coimbatore. Being a first generation woman entrepreneur herself, she spoke to the students of her journey from bank employee to becoming an entrepreneur. She related that people criticized her for resigning a secured bank job with high pay and venturing into a field of risks. "You have to believe in yourself despite what the world tells you about your abilities. People kept throwing stones at me till I became successful," said Ms. Reni when questioned about her message for youngsters. She also gave a good insight to students on what intrapreneurship is and how it works.

This was followed up by an industrial visit to the Sharp Electrodes Private Limited, Saravanampatti. The students were shown around the factory where they got to observe the key processes involved in the making of electrodes. The staff at the workplace explained in detail on how packaging and exporting takes place post the production of goods. Ms. Mohanasundari, CEO, Sharp Electrodes, met the students and shared with them her vast knowledge in the business field for over 20 years. She spoke to them on the practical risks and malpractices prevalent in the corporate market and how an entrepreneur should tackle these with wits. Despite having setbacks in the family and losing her husband, Ms. Mohanasundari comes across as an epitome of sheer perseverance and courage. The session concluded with a group photo.

The second day of the event also commenced with an abundance of optimism and goodness. The first session started at 10 am sharp by Ms. Asha Devi, Assistant Engineer, District Industries Centre. She began by interacting with students on what their future plans were and slowly moved into the subject of how important funds were to any entrepreneurial venture. Subsequently, Ms. Asha discussed the various schemes provided by the government for funding SSI units and innovative business ideas that are brought up by youngsters.

Mr. Vijay Raj, Founder, Foodly Nutrilive India Pvt. Ltd. was the second speaker for the day. He spoke about how he discovered the passion for business within himself, and on identification of opportunities for entrepreneurs and the mechanism of product selection. His method of weaving complex marketing techniques into a story pattern was loved by the audience. He asked the students not to be perturbed by failures and losses and mentioned how even he had lost money by wrong investments in the stock market. His simple talk and positive approach made him become an instant favourite amongst the participants.

The first speaker for the afternoon session was Ms. Sunita Kumari, Soft Skills Faculty & Logistics Business Mentor, CIR, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. She enlightened the students on the different aspects of 'Creativity in Business'. She put before students novel ideas and thoughts on how creativity in business could refer to right choices, making daring decisions and facing challenges. "Don't try to think out of the box, think that there is no box," she said, while highlighting how success and the courage to be different go hand in hand. Her story of how her brother's entrepreneurial journey inspired her in the business field sowed the seeds of true entrepreneurship in all the young minds present.

The next speaker was Ms. Sindhu Kalyanasundaram, Communication Expert & Consultant. This session on 'The Importance of Communication in Business' was the personal favourite for most students. She spoke on how the right kind of communication and body language was vital for making it big in the business field. It was an interactive session where students were made to open up and indulge in fun activities like drawing the right pattern and tower building. The students were taught planning, team work and division of labour through the tower building activity. The day concluded with a group photograph and students posing for selfies with Ms. Sindhu.

The 18th of September marked the last day of the camp. The first speaker of the day was Dr. Madhav Datta, Chairperson, ACIRI, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. He spoke to the students on the various modes of technology assistance from Research & Development (R&D) labs, choice of technology and patents. He explained at length several intricacies involved in the various manufacturing processes. His words were a clear reflection of his rich experience and knowledge in the field of practical technology solutions for business startups, as well as giants like IBM, Intel, Emerson and Apple. His obvious humility, despite his many achievements and awards, was noted by the students.

The second speaker was Mr. Pradeep Menon, Chief Officer, Lakshya Labs. He addressed the audience on the historical background of Indian values vis-a-vis Entrepreneurship and the present scenario. He told how budding entrepreneurs had a role to play in influencing the GDP and economic growth and contribute toward the betterment of the nation. 

The next session was by Mr. Sankaran Iyer, CMA, CPA & Executive Coach, on how important finance and investment is in business. He interacted with the students on how the right kind of funding is important in entrepreneurial ventures. 'Cash is King' was the favourite line for many from his speech. His talk thus made the students realise how appropriately money needs to be invested in business.

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15
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