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May a 100 entrepreneurs bloom!

Rashmi Bansal talks about entreprenuership – the Handa way

LEM (Laboratory in Entrepreurial Motivation) is an elective course at IIM Ahmedabad. Taught by IIM A alumnus and entrepreneur Sunil Handa since 1992, this unconventional course is one of the most sought after 2nd year electives a large number of students vying for its limited (30 odd) seats. The methodology: a mix of personal experiences and practical aspects.

Says Handa,”Over a period of time I realised that the students already have all the answers. For example: an Entrepreneur is a person who takes risks – this everybody knows. For example: an entrepreneur is a person who tries out new ideas, fails, gets hurt, gets-up tries again and again and again and never gives-up – this also everyone knows ! All the textbooks and readings used in entrepreneership courses are things which are already known to the students”.

“Then the question is why do they not become an entrepreneur, why do they take the safe path of joining a job, why do they become employees instead of becoming an employer. After much reflection I came to the conclusion that fear is the key. They have certain notion of entrepreneurship and are afraid to test the waters so I changed the whole course and now the course has no textbook, no readings, no quizzes, no test, no exams. ”

The LEM course is very unstructured and individualised. “About half the course is through classroom /outings / visits and half the course is through one-to-one discussions between students and myself, which often become sessions in personal counselling also”.

Long after they have passed out, ‘Handa sir’ offers advice and mentoring. “I am available to them, and also my office, free of cost”. It’s not unusual for students to come and stay at his house to brainstorm on ‘what to do’ next.

More than 100 LEM students have taken up entrepreneurship in the last 14 years. That includes the editor of this magazine! Possibly the biggest success story is that of Narendra Murkumbi, MD of Shree Renuka Sugars – a company which is now publicly listed and has a marlet capitalisation of over 3500 crores.


Read other articles on Entrepreneurship by Rashmi Bansal

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A a single professor can ‘create’ entrepreneurs. But to begin with, there must be that spark within. Course or no course, some manage to ignite that passion and translate it into an entrepreneurial venture, despite the hurdles.



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