Despite the lockdown imposing serious logistic challenges, ECell has managed to plan, organise, and execute many events to help mentor IIIT’s budding entrepreneurs.
Naturally, the online sem brought a few changes to the E-Cell’s operations. Although there weren’t any significant changes, some were necessary to adapt to a remote work environment. Due to the online medium, some of the events were cancelled, such as the Megathon, while a few new events were introduced – such as Zenith. ECell was unfortunately one of the few student organisations that had to scrap their plans last year due to the pandemic, including an Entrepreneurship Summit, which was cancelled a few days before the event.
In this past year, E-Cell has conducted more events than in previous years offline.In May and June, E-Cell collaborated with OSDG (Open Source Developers Group) to conduct SummerUp, a 50-day long event where participants would come up with an idea for a sustainable startup and work on enhancing and implementing the idea. The main goal of SummerUp was to help participants see precisely how their concept can progress into a real-world application and the amount of hard work required to bring it into reality.
A total of 35 teams registered for SummerUp with about 100 participants. A few teams even decided to continue working on their projects and make them into startups.
Zenith was the first-ever tech fest organised by E-Cell. It started on 18th October and went on till 28th October. The main idea behind it was to organise a plethora of events so students with varying interests would be excited to participate. Since Zenith was conducted at the same time as Megathon, the flagship event of E-Cell and the largest student-run hackathon, the original plan included Megathon as a part of Zenith. However, due to limitations caused due to the online execution of events, Megathon could not be held.
Zenith presented a bunch of events, starting with panel discussions, with panelists like Viivek Verma, a famous name in the Hyderabad startup ecosystem; Anubhav Tiwari, Head of DeepTech incubator at CIE; Nijil Yesudas, cofounder Mashinga, a deep Tech NLP startup; and Ramesh Loganathan, Professor Co-Innovation/Outreach at IIIT Hyderabad Zenith also included other events like “Speed Ideating”, an event where participants had to make quick decisions based on given problems, and a coding contest, “Kaizen”. The contest was conducted on CodeChef alongside the Programming Club.
E-Cell also conducted Startup Aid this year, after last year’s program had to be cancelled near its end. It is a 3 phase program for the students, aiming at structuring their startup idea with proper guidance from mentors. In the end, students can even pitch their ideas to CIE and receive funding. Out of the three phases, two have been conducted.
Phase 1 of Startup Aid was conducted in January. It aimed at developing and refining the main idea around which the whole startup would be built.
Phase 2 aimed at building a proper business plan and finding ways to market their ideas.
Phase 3 is expected to be conducted alongside SummerUp-2021, which was announced recently.
Footbids was conducted as a part of Felicity, IIIT’s annual fest. E-Cell conducted it alongside Amateur Sports Enthusiasts Club (ASEC). It was an interactive activity where participants could participate in a virtual football auction. They were given a certain amount of virtual money to pick their teams, and then the teams competed against other teams through a virtual FIFA simulation in a tournament-style bracket with seven other teams.
In the coming years, E-Cell is planning to increase the number of events that directly cater to the entrepreneurial ambitions of students. Considerable efforts are also being made towards making the process of approaching CIE more straightforward through E-Cell.
Editor: Tejasvi Chebrolu
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