Inside JGU 2021 - Issue 1 (January)

JGU expands full-time faculty strength, making its faculty-student ratio 1:8

Jindal Global Business School (JGBS), Startup JGU, and the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation + Entrepreneurship (JSiE) organised from 18 to 29 January, 2021 a two-week immersive learning experience and cross-university elective course, titled the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge in the Asia Pacific (SECAP), in collaboration with Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Atma Jaya University in Indonesia and industry partner Maker’s Asylum in India. 

Nearly 100 students from Indonesia, India, and Australia were chosen to participate and, for the first time, receive course credit in their respective universities. 

The SECAP programme placed each student in a mixed university team. Each team was given the challenge to collaborate and find innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global social and environmental challenges.  

Students teams began by choosing 1 sustainable development goal (SDG) to frame their problem statements around. To support, validate and vet their problem statements, 20 industry experts joined the programme across multiple days. The industry experts mentored the student teams to help them conceptualise a convincing problem statement and form an innovative solution. 

In addition to industry experts, the SECAP programme included workshops on the SDGs, design thinking, problem and solution development, frugal innovation, assumption testing, prototyping with tech tools and storytelling. 

“One of the biggest learnings from the Covid year is that we don’t exist in isolation. So programmes like SECAP provide our incredibly talented students the framework and guidance to work with other amazing young people to collaborate and realise their role and ability to engineer solutions. SECAP has driven home for me how true it is that our young people have the ability to change the world,” said Ronita Choudhuri, Director, Startup JGU. 

The programme drew mentors and expert panelists from each of the represented countries, Indonesia, Australia, and India, as well as  the US, France and China. The SDG workshop included a session with Dr. Richard Brubaker (Goal 11), Prof. Sriroop Chaudhuri of JSLH (Goal 13), Huma Masood (Goal 4), Simone Pianko (Goal 12), and Endang Sulistyaningsih (Goal 3). These illustrious experts discussed some of the key challenges and potential pathways to solutions. Professor (Dr.) Sriroop Choudhuri said, “SDGs are all focused on our efforts as citizens to help and improve. We need to consider where and how, and what we should be working on.”

Huma Masood, programme officer at UNESCO, on Goal 4 said, “Globally, the development discourse tends to focus on lifting people out of poverty. Our work at UNESCO has convinced us that the challenge of lifting people out of illiteracy is as great as lifting them out of poverty and rewards of doing so are enduring.”

In the design thinking workshop, Vaibhav Chhabra, Co-founder, Maker’s Asylum, described the process of design thinking as “stepping into someone’s shoes to try to think how they are thinking.” The concept of design thinking contributed to a more comprehensive and empathetic conceptualisation of the problem and thus more effective and realistic solution prototypes.

Students applied entrepreneurial skills into practice to craft practical business models into their solutions. To do so, the programme organised 5  “Skill Bazaar” workshops by experts in areas including augmented reality, CAD modelling, poster design, MIT App Inventor and Figma 101. 

The cross-cultural nature of the SECAP course allowed for the sharing of diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives within the student teams as they worked towards their solutions. At the end of the programme, each team presented their solution in line with the respective SDG goal to the larger 100+ group. In addition, each team created a public website that explained their social enterprise, the problem they were solving, their proposed solution and the strategies behind their social enterprise’s development.

A few of the solutions created by SECAP students:

  • To combat plastic bag waste, a video game where players can trade points won in the game for cloth bags in retail stores.
  • A social enterprise where local women learn to make mosquito net jumpsuits which are sold locally to help rice farmers in Indonesia combat malaria.
  • A keychain that makes it easy for women to carry around menstruation products with them without shame or embarrassment.
  • An app that helps the elderly find friends near them to combat loneliness.
  • A menstruation product sanitiser using solar power for rural Indian women.

On the final day, special guests and Deans from JGU, Monash University and Atma Jaya University were invited to share their insights and assess the team pitches. The session began with an introductory speech on the importance of cross-cultural innovation by Jack Taylor, Second Secretary, Australian High Commission to India. Dr. Rajesh Chakrabarti, Dean, JGBS, spoke about the importance of creating businesses with a social impact mandate. The Dean of Arts, Monash University, Prof. Sharon Pickering, talked about the role of cross-cultural collaboration among young people in the post-Covid world. Furthermore, Deputy Consul-General, Mumbai, added to it by underpinning the importance of cooperation between young people.  

JGU Student Testimonials about SECAP:

“This session was just an escape from my mundane lockdown routine but here I am sobbing while writing this, that I had the time of my life during this programme. I’ve met such lovely people and my team was honestly the best. I’ve truly made friendships for a lifetime. I had meagre knowledge of social entrepreneurship earlier. Now I can very confidently say that I am capable of doing something worthwhile in this field.” – Noor Dewan, JGLS

“I’d been looking forward to SECAP since the first introductory webinar, and somehow the actual experience exceeded all my expectations. Not only was I left with invaluable insights on entrepreneurship, design thinking and problem solving, it also taught me some important lessons on teamwork, leadership and collaboration, and left me with memories and friendships for a lifetime.” – Unnati Patel, JSIA

“This programme has changed my life” – Shubh Agarwal, JGBS