BESC – the incubator of entrepreneurship, excellence

Even as the debate whether Entrepreneurs are born or made rages on unabated, Kolkata’s premier institution, the Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) is walking the talk to empower students and transform them into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. BESC will soon open the doors of its swank Incubation Centre – a 5000 square feet, state of the art facility that will be dedicated to fostering and nurturing the latent entrepreneurial talents in the students, apart from helping them hone the skill sets required to fruition.

At a time when start-ups are the rage, with young minds taking the plunge to expand the horizons of possibility, the BESC Incubation Centre is slated to emerge as the launching pad of tomorrow’s enterprises, by providing mind warriors with the wherewithal required to convert latent dreams into thriving realities. And, coming from an institution which is known and respected for instilling the spirit of entrepreneurship in its students, the Centre is not only blessed by impeccable lineage, but will also be fortified with existing mentoring systems that are among the best in these parts of the Nation. Not to mention the whole-hearted support of a management that is known to walk the talk of student empowerment, of ensuring the all-round development of students as a rule, as opposed to being an exception.

“It is indeed a matter of great pride for us that some of the most revered entrepreneurs call the BESC as their alma mater. Our contribution, as an institution, in the field of entrepreneurial development too is well established, with most of the students passing out of these hallowed portals taking up some form of commercial activity or the other – imbibed as they have, the spirit of entrepreneurship, the spirit of BESC” said Miraj D. Shah, the Vice Chairman of the institution. As a matter of fact, it will not be an exaggeration to state that if the combined contribution to the state’s exchequer by the entities whose owners owe their allegiance to BESC were to be calculated, it would easily be a record sorts.

“We at BESC aim at empowering students to make them industry ready, as opposed to merely feeding them with academic information. Students are exposed to real life situations, on the shop floor, so that they can learn, hands-on, the acts they will be expected to perform as successful leaders” said Prof Dilip Shah, the Dean of Student Affairs of BESC. Towards this end, not only are students given a free run to organise college events – some of them billed as blockbusters by all those in the know – entirely on their own, but are also exposed to live sessions with an endless stream of professionals who are acknowledged experts in their respective domains. Such interactive sessions with industry experts, it is needless to say, go a long way in providing students with the insight into the working of commercial enterprises, helping them to muster the required knowledge base in the process, that too, in an innovative way, without being a drag on their young minds.

Commerce Plus, a course that is literally what it claims to be and takes students beyond the rigid framework of the syllabus, is one such initiative that is widely acclaimed in academic and industrial circles as a step towards the right direction. From industrial visits to opportunities to sharing the experience of the stalwarts, the programme which has been crafted, based specifically on the inputs provided by employers, has already elicited a spirited response from the industry, if campus recruitment drives are considered to be the indicator of success. “Commerce Plus has been very well received by the industry circles” acknowledged Prof Suman Mukherjee, the Director General of BESC adding “it is a vindication of our single-minded devotion and the effort put in by BESC to bridge the gap between the needs of the industry and what the academia has to offer. I will not be vainglorious and claim that we have already been successful in bridging the industry-academia gap, but will certainly say that in the two years that Commerce Plus has been in existence, it has not failed to throw up even one student who is not gainfully employed.” Prof Mukherjee is characteristically soft in his choice of words – industry sources, especially the ones that have BESC students on their rolls are extremely appreciative. “BESC students, as a rule, are much more than mere employees doing their job – they are more of co-creators, who slip into the designated jobs with élan. They are confident in their gait, follow things up to their logical conclusions and contribute immensely to the ultimate success of the enterprise” said an industrialist who is not only an ex-student of BESC but is also a satisfied employer.

“BESC is one institution that is ever ready to loosen the purse strings to provide students with every conceivable facility” said Nistha Sharma an alumnus who now runs his own successful enterprise. “the entire campus is wi-fi connected, the class rooms incorporate the latest intelligent information dissemination systems, the sports and recreation facilities are at par with the best and the faculties ever ready to support with any intellectual input that the students may need. However, what makes the real difference, makes BESC what it is, is its stoic refusal to stifle creativity by straightjacketing students to follow set rules”.

It may sound surprising to many but BESC does not make attending classes an end it itself. “Attendance is just a means” said Prof Shah, “the end being the acquisition of knowledge, of being empowered. We believe that the entire process has to be voluntary, as opposed to being compulsory, which is why the core of all our efforts is aimed at bringing the excitement of learning into the classrooms.” What is remarkable is the fact that BESC regularly organises Remedial Classes for students who cannot attend their regular classes, no questions asked, and yet flaunts the record of having the maximum number of students graduating with First Class citations from the Calcutta University. If that is not conventional logic standing on its heads, what is?

And it is in this fertile ground of innovative practicality that the seeds of incubation are now being planted.  Shantiniketan, incidentally, was also an idea that was built around a tree. Watch this space, for it won’t be long before the tree of knowledge, of achievement spreads its wings and begins to provide the seeker with sustenance.

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