Two decades ago, entrepreneurship in India was largely related to family-owned businesses. Government jobs were the preference, and not many students dreamt of venturing into start-ups. However, with the recent Government policies encouraging start-ups, increasing number of students are opting for entrepreneurship. For two students of K J Somaiya College of Engineering, establishing ‘SnackBar’ in the college campus gave them a chance to become food entrepreneurs.

Sanket Agrawal and Prateek Naik are earning their livelihood from their canteen since its establishment in February 2015. Sanket Agrawal, the brain behind this initiative, skipped the campus interviews in his final year of engineering to invest efforts in his start-up. Sanket, along with Prateek, then planted their idea of running a canteen in the college campus to BloomBox, the E-cell at KJSCE. ”Entrepreneurship involves marketing, financing, customer service, etc., which cannot be taught in the class. We try to give proper exposure to the students so that they learn from their experiences,” said Prof. Hetal Doshi, under whose mentorship, BloomBox was established in 2012. The E-cell now has around fifteen start-ups associated with it.

 The journey for Sanket had started a year before his canteen came into existence. “In my third year of engineering, I started selling packets of Gujarati snacks to the hostellers. Their increasing demand motivated me to supply them daily groceries,” he said. After realising the earning potential in the hostel, Sanket and Prateek ventured into catering to the entire campus.

 The college authorities at KJSCE have not only provided us a place in the campus, but they also subsidised the canteen rent. “Being an engineer, I didn’t know the intricacies involved in entrepreneurship. BloomBox gave me a chance to interact with our alumni and other students from various streams. We are also planning to expand our business outside the campus,” said Sanket.

 After consulting experts from the food industry, Sanket and Prateek decided to serve variety of dishes which are not available in other canteens of the campus. “As the prices of the common dishes are same in all the canteens, we are competing with other canteens by bringing variety in taste. We also offer free brownies to the students on the occasion of their birthdays,” says Prateek, who is in his final year of engineering. The canteen is set to have a food delivery facility for the hostel students.

The college authorities and students were so impressed with ‘SnackBar’ that around 10 students of K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research underwent a 2-month internship programme at this start-up. It has set an example for the budding entrepreneurs at KJSCE and been the talk of the campus.

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