Paying it forward through engineering


October 11, 2012

Several years ago, SDM Fellow Rajesh Nair returned to his native India and noticed that the television stations focused almost solely on Bollywood stars and overpaid athletes. It disturbed him, because, as he put it, “India is actually built by entrepreneurs and innovators. And we never give them the due that they deserve.” Nair, who is the founder and CTO of Degree Controls, Inc., a U.S.-based engineering firm that specializes in thermal management for electronics, took action when he founded TechTop, an engineering competition for India’s college students. The first competition was held in 2006, and it has now grown into an annual event that attracts over 200 entrepreneurial proposals. Participants invent product proposals and then judges (Indian scientists, engineers,  IT professionals, and Nair himself) whittle the list down to 50 semi-finalists, and then 20 finalists, and finally, three winners. Several have gone on to form successful companies with the prize money, which is about 100K rupees. “It’s like a mini [MIT] $100K competition,” said Nair. To continue reading the article, visit News@MITSloan.

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