The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Rajasthan, has great news for its students and faculty, allowing them to take a year off to establish a startup. They can also use the time off to join a new business. The move comes as a part of an initiative to promote innovation and startups.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR STUDENTS

Besides the year off from the deemed university, students will also earn course credits for contributing to innovative prototypes or business models. As an incentive to boost entrepreneurship, the university will give them up to 2% grace marks during a semester if they win State or national-level competitions.

According to the Innovation and Startup Policy 2022, students can swap their projects, summer training, or seminars with a startup launch. They can set up their businesses independently or jointly with faculty. The promising ones will get pre-incubation support and help with seed funding from the institution. Further, these aspiring entrepreneurs will be given subs


idised accommodation within the institute’s campuses.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR FACULTY MEMBERS

The policy also opens a similar opportunity for faculty members, whereby they avail of a sabbatical or extraordinary leave to be involved full-time in the startup. Under the plan, they will get an earned leave for a maximum period of a year. Conversely, they can engage in the startup part-time or through capital investment in return for shares. But in that case, they do not assume a managerial role or provide mentorship.

Besides the teaching faculty, the non-teaching staff members are also allowed to be a part of the initiative. But they can only make a capital investment in the startup, without other technical, managerial, or mentorship roles.

Notably, BITS alumni have already established several unicorns. The new policy aims to take the momentum to the next level. It will approach private and corporate sectors to raise Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for the initiative. The institute will also create an ‘Innovation Fund’ with 1% of its total annual budget. Further, it will seek funds from government bodies such as the All India Council for Technical Education, the Technology Development Board, and the Department of Science and Technology.


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