Soumil Joshi, a final-year IT engineering student from Vadodara, stood in his small stall at the IIM-A campus on Saturday, explaining visitors how he wanted people who could replicate in their respective cities his all-in-one, on-line information centre www.ourvadodara.in.
“I am looking for people who could start a franchise of the website in their own cities,” said Soumil, whose seven-month-old website (a portal of events, history, helpline numbers and on-line shopping) is one among 21 start-up companies that set up stalls at the b-school’s annual “Entre Fair”, a student-driven attempt to link students looking for jobs with peers or seniors who have ventured into business of their own.
This year’s fair, the third, saw more than 500 students thronging the campus and at least as many attending online, where presentations by start-ups were streamed live and where interested students posted questions and applications. To be sure, the start-ups present were from varied sectors. One sells corporate kurtis, another runs a special auto-rickshaw service, yet another is a consultancy firm, one delivers firecrackers at customers’ doorsteps during he festive seasons and yet another, a web portal, lists event schedulesin various cities.
Some start-ups were specific in what they came looking. For instance, Axio Biosolutions, a four-year-old company begun by six friends, most with a biotechnology background, and which manufactures special emergency plasters to stop profuse bleeding, needed MBA pass-outs with science backgrounds to help them venture into different states. They received several enquiries for internships from qualified candidates.
But like most other start-up executives at the fair, www.ourvadodara.in’s founder Soumil received more than job enquiries. “Someone told me I could add a section on my website where students, which Vadodara is full of, can post ‘roommates wanted’ or ‘rooms wanted’. I will be including that soon,” he said, adding this was just one among many ideas he got at the fair.
Some companies came simply to gain more visibility — Just Monkeying, a city-based library for children, came not so much to look for new hands but to mark its presence.
Built on the concept that children should be able to read in an environment of their own making, the library doubles as a play area. “We want noise because a strict, quiet place reminds us of school,” said Advait, the school-going son of Jayanti Santosh Kumar, the library’s director.
Other start-ups came for something and got something else. Pranav Kapoor from Mumbai-based Blue Bus