I arrive early and find my way to the auditorium of Jyoti Nivas College where a national conference is happening with the theme is “Are our women and daughters safe today?” with a subtext ‘Listen, Feel & Respond to Women’s Voices’. I have my doubts how this conference relates to the theme for this year’s E-Week, Innovating for India. I listen to the conference overview and a few speakers’ speech, one of whom is Srikrishna, our Executive Director at NEN. I’m ecstatic to hear him speak; he speaks effortlessly, easing the audience, giving them a few laughs and maintains his stance on the importance of doing something. He is followed by Dr. Elizabeth V S who gives the key note address, (Dr. Elizabeth V S is a professor in history from National Law School of India University and JNC is her alma mater.) She talks about various issues, predominantly the psyche of Indian Society and its deeply inherent patriarchal values, which hamper and hinder the growth of women. Although, her speech mainly focused on the violence women sustain and the numerous crimes that go unreported, by the end of the speech you realize that changing the attitude and values of people right now is also Innovation, it is very important and much needed and would definitely be a prerequisite for women empowerment especially when it comes to entrepreneurship which is one of the significant ways of innovating India.
The Conference is just one of the 450 odd events Fortitude, the E-Cell has planned for the E-Week. Fortitude is easily one of the most active and vibrant E-Cells out there. Though it has only 18 members, these students with the help of their coordinating faculty manage all the in-house and off-campus events. The E-Cell is thriving with its diversified, scaled up and sustainable campus companies such as Sparkle, Mitra, Sati, Swatch, and Innovative Hub among others.
The air in the campus is convivial and infective as E-Cell members gather around and shout “We can! We will!”. It’s easy to drown in the info the E-Leaders Sharon and Meghana flood us with. They are chirpy and go on giving us a non-stop soliloquy of the events they have conducted. They show us around the Green Store where they keep all the products from their campus ventures. We see cloth bags, recycled notebooks, key chains, accessories to name a few. In a session on business opportunities in India, they have come up with viable options such as corporate gifting, floriculture, freelancing, etc.
The campus is well decorated with posters, banners and charts. The corridors are filled displays on the traffic rules, women abuse, drugs, and environmental issues among others. Meghana explains us, when we thought about innovation, it occurred to us that it’s not always inventing something new but sometimes it’s also removing what’s bad and undesired.
There have also been a number of outreach programs wherein students went on industrial visits to small scale businesses; they have also conducted a survey on the impact on FDI on retail stores by taking up about 25 stores in and around the place.