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Jack McGourty of the Columbia Business School talks about the Venture for India programme, after which students are guaranteed a two-year placement in New York

Jack McGourty, director of community and entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School, speaks to HT Education about the school’s collaborations with India and a threeweek workshop that will culminate into a two-year placement in New York City.

VFI will place fellows in companies related to their fields of interestPlease elaborate on the Venture for India programme.

Venture for India’s (VFI) fellowship programme gives graduate students the opportunity to attend a three-week entrepreneurial workshop conducted by Columbia Business School (CBS) in New York City. The workshop is followed by the student getting placed in a company for a minimum of two years. After the two years, students go through a capstone simulation where the top performing student over the two years will get over and above entrepreneurial mentorship and support from VFI to start his/her own venture. Venture for India not only aims to develop the entrepreneurial environment in India but also generate jobs by helping companies expand and train graduates to become business builders and job creators.

What kind of students are you looking for? Is there an eligibility criterion?

VFI has a detailed application on the website which students must download, complete and send to apply@ventureforindia.org. We are selecting graduate students with a motivational drive to become an entrepreneur. Although good academic standing is important, it is not the deciding factor for selection. Ideally, students from 22 – 28 years of age will be selected.

What made you choose India to collaborate with?

India is a hotbed for entrepreneurship. Along with having a great demographic dividend in which the majority of India’s population is below the age of 30, entrepreneurship is necessary to sustain the economy and creating new jobs. This brings us to VFI’s mission: create jobs and help the economy.

What will the selected students be able to experience?

Venture Fellows, through interactive lectures and selfdirected assignments are guided through all elements of the venture planning process in a modular format. Each module will help the participant develop a comprehensive new venture plan. The five modules are: opportunity, strategy, innovation, leadership and execution. At each stage of development, participants are exposed to critical terms, tools that support research and decision making, and explanations of how each major planning activity fits into the business plan. Fellows will also be visiting start-ups throughout their stay in New York City.

When you say ‘guaranteed two year job placement’, how do you place this guarantee? What kind of jobs are we talking about?

VFI has tied up with Angel Investors such as Mumbai Angels and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs). We have also tied up with early-mid stage companies to provide a platform for students to gain experience in the working world, after the programme. It is imperative that students get experience working in the field before they start their venture. Hence, VFI places its fellows in a company which is related to fellow’s area of expertise to unfold maximum exposure.