Charity begins at home, companies begin in college

Campus companies in various engineering colleges across Mumbai have been a huge hit lately. Right from small business ventures to start-ups being acknowledged by the biggest Entrepreneurs of the country, engineering colleges in Mumbai have them all.

To run these companies efficiently, colleges have entrepreneurship cells, better known as “e-cells” to provide them help, financial and otherwise. After all, the owners are students enrolled in a highly competitive academic course.

Some of the campus companies in K J Somaiya College of engineering are running quite well. LEME (life of engineers made easy), Perhaps the most common campus company, is  a campus company under KJSCE Bloombox-the e-cell of the college to provide students of KJSCE engineering materials like write-ups at lowest possible cost.LEME has been operational since August 2012 and is one of the oldest and most successful campus company in KJSCE.

‘Z series innovations’ is an e-learning solution focused on technical studies that tries to provide detailed information about most of the elements of engineering. Starting from component study to system study to project building – they’ve have it all. Moreover, it’s been voted in the top 25 of the tata first dot competition in india. This campus company has been a hit amongst engineers who seek “practical knowledge” in their arena of interest and has been in action since February 2013.

Tool trunk provides first year and second year engineering students with all types of tools needed for the course. They’ve expanded their services by also providing drawing instruments and other accessories required for engineering drawing.

Xeuce is one of the kewl campus company that sells t-shirts containing cool quotes, pictures etc. It also designs tee shirts as required by the customers. They also sell designed t-shirts for different student bodies during college fest, jersey for the football team, etc.

Another very successful campus company of KJSCE is Component Cloud, which provides delivery of electronic components for all kinds of projects and electronics enthusiasts on campus at competitive rates.

A novel idea indeed, book bubbles is a campus company of KJSCE looking forward to meet the needs of book-lovers who can rent their books and earn money out of it. They rent rarely found novels and story books at cheap rates.

Generation Going Green makes books and notepads from single sided waste pages, usually the paper-waste from computer labs, that have programs written on only one side of the page. This social enterprise was featured in TOI too.

Sparkle is another social enterprise that aims to help low income staff earn an extra income by teaching them certain creative things and promoting their creations by publicizing and selling it.

Looks like the hostelites have themselves satiated before they go to sleep. Bloombox has helped open snackbar, a midnight snack store for the students residing in hostels on-campus.

When Jahnvi Kulkarni, the campus company head of Bloombox,was asked why was she selected as the head of this particular branch of e-cell, she says “It’s mainly organizational skills. Of course there are other factors taken into consideration, but being rational and good as an organizer are the key requirements.”
“We provide students with financial aid too, on a non-interest basis for a stipulated amount of time. Yes, there have been some campus companies that had to be shut down, but there has been no single case where a company has failed to pay us back, yet” adds Jahnvi.

Apart from the regular business ventures in AET’s Atharva College of Engineering, Ember, the e-cell has managed to flourish by having pretty huge start-ups as its assets; the best one being VenTech.

One of the founders of the company, Tejas Oturkar, says “It started in Dec 2011 when we came up with an innovative project on Vertical Axis Windmill (VAWM) & Solar Adverts Street Lights. These projects got selected in IEDC (Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Programme), DST (Department of science & Technology) & we got funding of 2,00,000/- . This gave us the boost to create a startup named “VenTech”.

In feb. 2012, we won the “most innovative project” award by NEN ( National Entrepreneurship Network)  of “Smart street light system”. This gave us more exposure as a business and we sold this project to couple of housing societies. In dec. 2012, we designed prototypes of our projects, efficiency of these projects were pretty good. Then we showcased these projects in feb. 2013, in E-Week, which resulted in Runner’s up championship award from NEN. In march 2013, we were selected in top 50 innovators of india under DST, FICCI , Stanford business schools, Lockheed Martin , IC2 Texas. in dec 2013, started getting clients for solar energy solution(5kW projects). We really are getting a positive response! Now we provide customized designing for solar panel’s installation and services, output ranges from 10W to 100kW and for VAWM with output ranges from 3W to 30kW” adds Tejas.

Apart from Ventech, Creatint, a design start-up, Konnections which has the tagline “Any problem, we have the solution” are other start-ups by students of Atharva College.

Sans the mainstream “Engineer’s Store” company that sells college-related merchandise, and a book club, Sardar Patel Institute of Technology has a kewl campus company that has implemented a culture of reward systems in the dynamics of college. Points are awarded to students on the basis of their academic performance and their participation in workshops and seminars. These points can be redeemed in the form of prizes, exactly how gaming arcades work, except that you don’t really have to invest your money. Investment and memberships gets you profit, certainly an innovative company that helps improve students’ academics.

All these campus companies roar one thing- Students can do more than studying. Bursting the stereotype of engineering students being boring and geeky, these companies have yielded their owners monetarily, which adds to their interest in entrepreneurship. While there are colleges like TSEC and VESIT with no e-cells at all, the trend of having an e-cell in the college is blooming in others, and how!

Joohee Shherma

Honest, fun-loving and totally NOT sarcastic. Writer. Hobbyist photographer, dancer, cook. Aspiring Electronics Engineer. Derpina-hater. Anti-anime. Dexter disciple. Totally. Oh yes, I'm a vegan.

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