M.O.P. SWABHIMAAN – ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT
M.O.P. Vaishnav College was established with the ideal of women’s empowerment at its core. The College seeks to inculcate in students more than academic proficiency – it seeks to nurture self-reliance and social responsibility, hallmarks to true empowerment. This ideal remains the lodestar that the College continues to work towards, most notably with the entrepreneurship development programme, M.O.P. Swabhimaan.
M.O.P. Vaishnav College works through all means possible to create a conducive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. M.O.P. Swabhimaan aims at creating job providers rather than job seekers through a distinctive multi-pronged approach. This includes seminars, practice schools and mentorship through the Incubation Centre.
The thrust on entrepreneurship is a natural outcome of the ‘Panchsheel’ or 5-‘I’ principle that guides all student programmes at M.O.P. Vaishnav. The process can best be described through the following five actions:
Pedagogy (through faculty, guest lectures and other academic and non-academic exposure) creates an impact on the student.
This kindles the student’s imagination and she develops a problem-solving mindset.
Her creativity is stimulated, and, often through brainstorming with faculty guides and peers, ideas are generated.
Lessons from practitioners and gurus are imbibed, and the student is motivated to strike her own path.
In turn, she inspires her peers and others to similarly craft their destiny.
M.O.P. Swabhimaan is structured to help students imbibe the required conceptual, analytical, technical, entrepreneurial and human relations skills to become effective and ethical entrepreneurs.
An evaluation of women entrepreneurial ecosystem nation-wide reveals that while NGOs, philanthropic investments, and businesses have combined their resources to work collaboratively, a lot still remains to be achieved. Access to government schemes such as MUDRA, Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana, Startup India Programme, Skill India, Udhyam Sakhi Portal for Women Entrepreneurs, and the Women Entrepreneurship Platform by Niti Aayog, remains a huge concern due to lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits at the grassroots—especially for rural women entrepreneurs. Taking on the role of evangelists for entrepreneurship, M.O.P. also conducts awareness programmes and skill development programmes for women in semiurban and rural communities.
Entrepreneurship Development Cell
The Entrepreneurship Development cell of M.O.P. Vaishnav College is the nerve centre of all activities that pertain to creating entrepreneurial system and culture among the students. It organizes guest lectures, panel discussions, workshops and seminars on entrepreneurship, besides training programmes, field visits, open fora and research work for budding entrepreneurs. An arm of The Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development of the college, it functions actively throughout the year, conducting various activities like E-week celebrations, B-plan Competitions and M.O.P. Bazaar.
The Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development – one of the eight ministries of M.O.P. Sansad, or the Student Cabinet – organizes the annual student-run M.O.P. Bazaar. It is a platform for students to showcase their entrepreneurial skills, wherein students and alumnae of the college come together in teams to run their businesses for two days. The Bazaar is open to the public and generally sees a footfall of over 20,000 visitors.
For an extra element of fun, the Bazaar is structured in the form of streets, each having a unique name, holding around 100 stalls run by around 300 students and alumnae. A plethora of products ranging from art pieces, handicrafts, cosmetics, garments and footwear and food delicacies are sold at the Bazaar. The exercise serves as an end-to-end workshop for students in all aspects of business including market research, strategy, capital-raising, budgeting, inventory management, book-keeping, marketing and people management.
Apart from giving hands on experience, seminars, conferences and panel discussions are also held. Ignite 2017, a national-level entrepreneurship summit was hosted by M.O.P. Vaishnav. Featuring eminent speakers, including practitioners and thought-leaders on entrepreneurship, it was aimed at inculcating passion for entrepreneurship among young people both within the college and from elsewhere. The summit created a forum for the exchange of ideas and insights, with the goal of inspiring budding entrepreneurs, or at the very least, igniting the thought of self-determination.
The Incubation Centre, launched in 2019, trains students in idea generation and business plan preparation. The Incubation Centre handholds budding student and alumna entrepreneurs. Business-on-Campus practice school initiatives are conducted as a part of incubation on campus. Beyond Breads (Bakery), Impressionz (Stationery) and Akriti (Model Joint Stock Company) are businesses that have been incubated and operated on campus.
The registered students of the Incubation Centre are provided with one-to-one mentoring as they begin their entrepreneurship journey. A total of 11 students with eight business proposals have registered with the Incubation Centre.
The Management Studies programmes every year conduct business plan competitions for students – both within the college and at the inter-collegiate level. With veteran business leaders as judges and mentors, participants receive thorough feedback on every step of their plans, thus helping them hone their entrepreneurial skills. M.O.P. MBA students have also emerged winners several years in a row, winning cash prizes, at the B-Plan competition organized by the Madras Management Association.
Every year, all students of Management Studies programmes and Commerce set up day-long pop-up businesses on the campus that help them get a flavour of entrepreneurship, from conceptualization, through marketing, financial planning and operations.
2019-20 saw the launch of ‘Thozhil Seyyalaam Thozhi,’ (Let’s do Business, My Friend!) an initiative to upskill women in suburban and rural areas to enable self-determination and income generation. The various Departments of the College extended the initiative in unique ways, including the imparting of skill training to 100 rural women in Thiruverkadu village to cultivate entrepreneurship skills such as agarbatti and jewellery-making.
In its thirty years of existence the students graduating from M.O.P stand out in their exhibition of entrepreneurial skills. The number of success stories that have been scripted by these students stand testimony to the fact that the spirit of entrepreneurship and M.O.P graduates are inseparable.