Thiruvananthapuram: K.G. Preethu, 20, a fifth semester civil engineering student at Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, aspired to be a good civil engineer two years from now.
But a chance mentoring by an American entrepreneur and Massachusetts Institute of Technology fellow, Rajesh Nair, has changed her mindset and she is determined to set up a construction company. Preethu is not alone. There are 49 other engineering students who have started dreaming big and aspiring to be entrepreneurs.
Ratan Tata had asked Nair, 52, a native of Chirayinkil in Thiruvananthapuram, who is currently doing his third masters in system design and management at MIT, to go to India and find a solution to the issues being faced there.
Nair is on a fellowship from MIT and wanted to tap the young blood. His mission is to groom budding entrepreneurs and at the same time document their progress in the two-month programme.
As an inventor and entrepreneur, Nair is the founder and chief technology officer of Degree Controls Inc. since 1997 at New Hampshire in the US. For the last five days, 50 engineering students have been evaluating and creating a product to make it accessible through their entrepreneurial skills.
“If you are able to tap the young blood right from their school days, it would be beneficial to them, society and the state. My challenge is to architect an efficient entrepreneurial ecosystem that can create a thousand new technology startups in 3-5 years.
I wanted to groom only 20 students and asked them to upload a video on YouTube on why they wanted to be in the mentoring programme,” said Nair, an alumni of Sainik School, Kazhakootam, University College and Indian Institute of Science.
But Nair was bowled over by their response, so he decided to take all the 50 students who applied. They designed and built an LED flashlight and microprocessor within five days during their grooming session from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.