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Introduction

An unsolicited advise to Engineering Colleges.

ALL students should be exposed to STARTUPs but ALL need not be exposed to being a scientist (Ph.d).

Krishna Karedla

This is my strong belief and I submit this to all respected Principals and Professors, for serious consideration.

The reason I attach importance to this is, it sets the framework for the first three (3) crucial years of Engineering Education both for the College Managements and Students.

The operative word in the advice is “All“. The benefits of training all students towards Startups are numerous:-

It brings to the students attention in a meaningful way, to ask the question “why are they studying a particular subject?”

This happens because, “Startup Training” forces every individual student to think on these lines. If this questioning commences in the first year, the college is also benefitted as they have more focused and outcome oriented students.

“Startup Training” also trains students to work or take up a role in a startup in the industry. Kindly, note the point, Startup Training is not about each student creating a “Startup”!

Extending this further, every great company is a collection of startups. I do not want name the companies, for the simple reason that this I think is very obvious, for someone who is following or tracking corporates. Every other company is striving to add a startup within their fold.

With this introduction over, let us start from the basic reality before all of us, INTERNET.

Given today’s proliferation of internet, more students across the country have an opportunity to succeed and colleges will have to align with this trend and keep pace.

Today, students have access to multiple resources to learn, sharpen skills and demonstrate talent leading to earning opportunities. Which means additional responsibility for colleges and faculty.

At the same time, because of this massive change happening, students are keen to startup and the future is going to be startups only. Indian family run corporates will find it hard to thrive as services become local, and free software and cloud services proliferate and accelerate this trend. The existing MNC Product based Corporates will rule the business landscape as they already have a presence.

Access to high end technology coupled with domain expertise will throw up micro entrepreneurs all over the country.

Along with this, corporatization of individuals is happening which means an individual will work from home and do multiple jobs and hire people to assist him in doing multiple jobs. This will not appear in Govt. data but is happening all over the country. In USA, doing multiple jobs is a common practice and with Internet access the work from home option available, this will become commonplace in India. It has already started happening.

The Microentrepreneur

Given this background, employees will prefer work from and business from home, and educational institutions will have to follow suit.

Colleges will have to teach and train students on how to work in startups and build their careers and provide the enterprising ones with infrastructure to seed their startups on campus.

This culture is very important for colleges fighting for existence and to compete. Survival of colleges, particularly the non research colleges is going to be dependent on this single factor as teaching in the traditional sense is going to take a back seat.

In this article, I have discussed on how to expose your students to Startups and future of Business and Employment.

Let me quickly introduce myself.

I am a startup founder, and work with several defence manufacturing companies, and help them and grow in the billion dollar business of defence manufacturing business.

Given the changes happening in the startup and employment space, it is absolutely necessary for fresh engineers to know.

  • Startup world, opportunities and realities
  • Getting ready for the Job market
  • Using the four years of their course, to learn and grow to get employed in startups and succeed

If the following tips are implemented, your college will get a reputation that it is creating employable students, resulting in better placements.

This is the need of the hour.

Below I have listed a guidelines and tips.

Each heading is a tip / guideline and what follows is a brief explanation of the tip / guideline.

Important concepts have been hyperlinked. So, please follow the links and get a detailed understanding. If not yet satisfied do give me a call or WhatsApp. I will be glad to help.

Please do note that my services to colleges start from Zero Rupees, and my request is to make best use of the info given below. Share it with your faculty and students too.

All Branches

The best aspect of defence startups is any branch or all branches independently can nurture and sprout a defence startup.

The Mechanical Engineering Department can focus on building a Jet Engine Model, while Civil Engineering focus on building Runways for High Altitude airports. Every department has an opportunity in Defence Business.

Transparency

Unlike previous years the Govt. of India and Ministry of Defence and various wings are going public with all their requirements of weapon systems and infrastructure elements.

Read the Press Release

This has never happened before.

All that students and their guide have to do is access the right source and work on building projects.

Start Early

It is very important that the college startup monitoring teams start introducing the idea of startups to students as early as 1st year. However, the first year has to be only to understand and appreciate the concept of startups and projects.

Towards the end of first year, intense training and exposure to startup can be commenced.

The benefit of startup is students at that age take time to get used to the earning world and by starting early we give the student more time to understand and ease into the work force.

Engage a Startup Advisor for your College

College managements are advised to hire startup advisor who will pilot the initiative in the college and appoint a team of young professors, you can call them champions, drawn from each department, to implement and carry out the ideas and action plan.

The advantage of this model is that eventually the internal faculty will be able to take care of the startup program with occasional inputs from external sources.

It is always recommended that the advisor himself is a startup founder. This is because, a startup founder will have undergone the process of raising funds, assembling resources, selling his idea, marketing the product or service, and finally focus on profits. Such experience when transferred to students, will be good for the student and college.

Create a Best Fit Model

Every college is not the same. Each college has its own culture. One college may have a very good established startup culture. Another, may have a good projects culture but unable to convert the project culture to startup culture.

Before finalizing an action plan to create a startup culture, an analysis of the college dynamics has to be done and understood.

This way, returns on efforts will be optimized.

A key aspect here is to note that Faculty have a key role to play in creating startups.

The most underutilized resource in a college are the young faculty. This is a national waste and smart college will not let this happen.

Implement K3 Plan

On this page >> you will find the K3 Plan. This plan outlays a broad and deep initiative to make your college a top college. Implement this plan in small baby steps and you will start seeing results.

Role of Software

The role of software in today’s world cannot be emphasized. However, few appreciate that in the Defence Vertical, software plays a very important part as competition is intense, and all purchases are big ticket purchases.

There is no room for missteps.

To minimize the missteps and hasten the development of defence products, software have to be used.

Students of all branches will have to be exposed to wide variety of software. This will help them to understand that software has to be used right from ideation to testing and delivery at every step of the value chain.

Army

India boasts of one of the largest army in the world. Everything a solider wears and uses to all the logistics required to manage the million strong armed forces is a startup opportunity. This is because, new material, new metals, new technologies are popping up which can be deployed to strengthen the Soldiers capability will elicit a AON from the forces.

Download the list of opportunities in the army

India has a lengthy coastline, and is under three commands. East, west and soutch.

Compared to the threats in the north and the west, threats in the ocean is far less, though smuggling and terrorists access is possible through waters.

Herein lies a great opportunity for students of the future and present to work on naval projects and try and convert them into startups.

Download List of Opportunities in Navy

Air Force

India has one of the most capable Air Force Pilots in the world.

Combine this human resource with the world’s best fighter aircraft Rafale, the formidable Sukhoi 20, Mig, and Jaguar we have a well equipped force which any opposition will think twice to attack.

However, there is a constant upgrade program and need for new weapon systems. The Air Force has recognized this and listed all the weapon systems it intends indigenize – the list is available here >> Air Force Indigenization List.

Download List of Opportunities in Air Force

Coast Guard

The coast guard, keeps watch on the immediate coast and ensures the borders are safe. As compared to Navy, the coast guard has a different set of requirements and accordingly projects can be thought of.

Build a Startup Institutional Memory

Institutional memory is a very important aspect of startup culture. Institution memory is that learning which is a collection of all events conducted wrt to startups and projects in the institution and the results.

A thorough understanding will help the institution to take appropriate action at the right time to guide the startup initiative.

The foundation for institutional memory of startup culture is continuity and documentation.

Documentation may include printed documentation, digital library, digital presence, digital footprints, exhibits, posters, trophies and awards..

Create an Iterative Model

It is very very important for students to be made go through an iterative model of exposure to startups. This will enable them to develop skills to relate their original ideas to the end resulting product and its marketing. Ideally, 2-3 ideation to end product cycles has to be run for all students for them to understand and appreciate the startup world.

AON

The Govt. of the day has been very transparent in all aspects of its intention to boost India’s defence production.

It has recognized that telling and informing its citizenry what it needs is the first step to achieve its stated goals in Defence Production Policy.

Accordingly every branch of the Defence establishment has brought out a list all its weapon systems and other equipment. This will ensure everyone in the country can access what the end user needs and accordingly create products and solutions. Entrepreneurs can go one step further and improve upon the systems and create products.

However, the Govt has gone one step further and announced that in cases where a new product is created, it will study a prototype or a proof of concept of the product or service and release a Certificate of Acceptance of Necessity.

This will ensure that entrepreneurs can keep the end user whether it is the Air Force, or Army or Navy or Coast Guard in the loop from the first step.

Prototype Scaled Model

Full scale models are not necessarily required in the college project level. Prototype and or scaled models will also be a great beginning.

In complicated cases such as a Jet Engine Project, a scaled non working but all parts in place with something unique can be a project. Just jump into and do whatever is possible and do not aim to achieve the ultimate.

A drone system which can assist forward posts and capabilities to scan steep valleys will be a great project and a startup as well. Here are some of the links to scaled models:

Fighter Jets >> Model Fighter Jet Aero Model which really flies

Passenger Aircraft >> Model Passenger Aircraft

Why is this a Smart initiative for the College?

Firstly, and most importantly this initiative of Defence Projects and Startups secures the future of the college.

It is not really that how many startups have come up, it is a question of how many students have done defence projects and how many have been placed in defence manufacturing companies.

The justification for extra focus on defence projects are:

  • Necessity of systems is available from the Govt. Assured requirements
  • Large Private Sector companies are looking students trained in defence projects
  • Defence orders are big ticket orders, ensuring higher pays and opportunities

Higher Education

Several courses are available in the defence sector for interested students. The Govt. of India has ensured that an M Tech course is now available for students to choose from. For those interested in Defence Jobs and Startups this is a good option. One more resource is AICTE M Tech.

List of institutes offering this course is available here>> List of Institutes offering Defence Tech Courses

It is commendable that nearly 25 institutes have adopted to offer this course. These are first of the block. Incidentally, many of them have a decent NIRF rank.

Let me state clearly, it appears the Govt. will support colleges which offer this course, projects and startups in these colleges.

My suggestion is start preparation for the M Tech in Defence Tech in the 3rd year itself.

Overview of IdeX

This is a Govt. of India initiative to invite startups to register in the iDEX online platform and try for funding and also to participate in events.

Eligible startups get direct funding by the Department.

Click here to go directly to the funding page >> Funding by Idex.

List of defence startups is given here >> Defence Startups listed on Idex

Make sure that all students are given this document >> Scheme for innovations

Direct Funding

Deserving startups get direct from the Government. This cuts much of delay and you will be delighted with ease of doing business.

Training sessions for Students

Students can be trained on the following subjects in a major initiative to boost their knowledge and awareness of startups:

  • Ideation
  • Incubation
  • Startup
  • Seed Funding
  • Venture Funding
  • Series Funding
  • Android
  • AI
  • Defence Startups
  • Why is Govt. encouraging Defence Startups
  • Patents and Copyrights
  • Business Plan
  • Pitch Deck
  • Online Selling
  • Digital Presence
  • Digital Footprint
  • Leveraging Projects to get Jobs

Benefits of a Defence Projects and Startups

  • Work with Latest technologies
  • High impact
  • Motivational for students. They will feel proud and valued.
  • Facilitates to branch of to other vertical in careers
  • Govt. of India is very much interested
  • Possibility of foreign students joining the institute which has a strong defence eco system

For Students

In a previous article, I have written how students can aim to become startup founders and in the following article, I have written why students should think of startups

In this article, I have written why you should consider Defence Startups or Defence Projects. Let us first note that great startups usually originate as projects. Given this, it is a wise idea to consider defence startups as it will make you work very smart and once you are trained in this manner you can take on any other assignment and succeed.

Also, given the encouragement the Govt. of India is giving to defence startups the traction will be high.

Your resume will look great. Period. Imagine having a defence project on your resume. Companies will take you in without hestitation.

Self respect. Recall, how we feel when Param Vir Chakra is being awarded and how recipients are revered. We all have a bit of nationalism in us, in varying degrees. A defence project will make us respect ourselves and others will respect you too.

Learning. There is no doubt that defence companies are one of the best. This is because, they provide the latest technologies in their products. You stand to benefit immensely by associating defence projects.

So, think about it. This is an opportunity. Make maximum use of it.

Best,

Promoters

List of startup websites you should visit – and know what is happening. If you know of any startup let me know, we will cover them too!

This list is not comprehensive and is indicative.

AeroSense

Specialize in Drones >> Aerosense Technologies.

Optimized Electrotech

Specialize in Surveillance >> Optimized Electrotech Private Limited.

Combat Robotics

Specialize in Robotics >> Robotics | The Force Multipliers (combatroboticsindia.com).

Astrome

Specialize in Network Decongestion >> GigaMesh (astrome.co)

Raphe mPhibr

Specialize in Logistics Drone >> Raphe mPhibr

NOPO

Specialize in single walled carbon nano tubes >> www.nopo.in

Airpix

Specialize in High Resolution Imaging >> airpix

Parallax

Specialize in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality >> Parallax Labs LLP

Scapic

Specialize in Immersive Commerce >> Joined hands with Flipkart (scapic.com)

Agnikul

Specialize in Making Space Journey Comfortable >> Agnikul

Garudan

Specialize in UAV >> Garudan – Home
.

NeeWee

Specialize in AI for Manufacturing >> www.neewee.ai

General Aeronautics

Specialize in UAV >> GA HOME – General Aeronautics.

Bellatrix Aerospace

Specialize in Propulsion >> Bellatrix Aerospace

Stelae Technologies

Specialize in Defence Digital Transformation >> Stelae | Tech (stelae-technologies.com)

Tonbo Imaging

Specialize in Imaging >> Tonbo Main (tonboimaging.com).

Manastu Space

HUViAiR

Specialize in software for Construction Management >> www.huviair.com

AUS

Specialize in Drones for Enterprises >>Professional Drones for Enterprises, Industrial Inspection Drones in India | AUS.

Dimension NXG

Specialize in Mixed Reality Solutions >> AjnaLens

Skylark

Specialize in Worksite productivity solutions >> Drone data solutions for construction, volume estimation & inspection | Skylark Drones.

Sastra Robotics

FabHeads

Specialize in Composite Part Manufacturing >> http://www.galactica.ai/.

Krishna_Karedla
Author: Krishna_Karedla

Startup Founder, Aero Defence Manufacturing Consultant