How Can Students Make Money?

FirstDot  powered by NEN, is India’s national mentoring and recognition platform for student startups. I was at FirstDot along with Kiruba, Pravin Sekhar, Narayanan, Soundarya, Karthikeyan Vijaykumar to do un-conference style sessions. Some notes from my session on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

We started with – What, Why and How of Innovation. We discussed Ideas and Innovation. We covered a variety of topics on why students should do startups, how to do innovation in colleges, how students can make money and a few other orthogonal topics.

What is innovation?

Implementation of an idea and creating value.

How do you start innovation?

Starting with some ideas and building upon them.

Whare are good Ideas?

There are no good or bad ideas. All ideas are good starting points.

Why Innovate?

The urge to improve, to solve problems, and for self-development

Where do ideas come from?

Fulfilling needs, meeting challenges, solving problems, incrementally improvements

Why should students try a  startup?

To understand entrepreneurship by practicing it, for independence, for fun.

We finally ended up with the topic on how students can make money. Here are some ideas from students themselves:

  1.  Teaching other (younger, high school students)
  2. Doing projects for seniors (this was something I did not expect at all)
  3. Creating niche online magazines (example given was a car magazine)
  4. Selling customized T-shirts
  5. Managing Events
  6. Online data entry
  7. Writing documentation
  8. Note taking (for students by students)
  9. Blogging
  10. Helping companies work on promotional activities (marketing help)
  11. Amazon Mechanical Turk (my addition)
Some points from the previous year’s session on how students can make money (from memory)
  1. Create YouTube videos
  2. Create websites using WordPress
  3. Design screen casts
  4. Design services (logo, website templates and stuff)
  5. Write marketing content
I talked a bit about the Value Pyramid where at the base are low skill, low-income jobs moving up to higher income and requiring higher skills. We also talked a bit about Microproducts and Micropreneurship.
I think different moderators used different formats for the unconference sessions and had different levels of interactivity.
One disturbing comment was that many colleges have innovation cells (or equivalents) but they are dormant with literally no activity. Need to find out why.
I enjoyed the session. One thing I would change next time around is to have the students pick themes instead of pre-defining them in the true spirit of unconference.