Beginning in April 2018, Sushmitha Surendra began pursuing her Master’s degree in International Business and Engineering (M.Eng) at SRH University Heidelberg. Parallel to her academics, she has worked to develop a start-up related to the solar electric stove – a hybrid stove, which can cook for a whole family using solar energy.
The idea to pursue the start-up came when the Prime Minister of India announced a ‘Make in India Innovative Solar Chula Challenge’ in November 2017. She worked in a team, with guidance from professors at BMS Engineering College in Bangalore, India. The professors guided Surendra and the team in depth with the stoves technics. Later, Nuetech Solar System, Pvt Ltd in Bengaluru, India assisted the team with their research and development of the prototype. In March 2018, the team submitted their work in the ‘Make in India Challenge’ and out of 1500 participants Surendra’s Team came in 2nd Place.
‘’It was unfortunate that I was in Germany during this award event. It was a great opportunity by Indian government that ONGC would invest and seek order of hundred thousand units soon.’’ – Surendra
Later she also participated in the Canada-India Acceleration Programme, where Indian and Canadian Prime Ministers recognized female entrepreneurs for excellence in innovation start-up exchange in AICTE, New Delhi in June 2018. There were 780 participants, who took part from all over India. Participants had to exhibit their innovative products and after in depth evaluation all exhibits, only 15 teams were selected to complete in the finals. Surendra’s dedication to her work and studies landed her a place in the top 15! Then she was required to pitch her ideas to representatives from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada for a chance at the coveted top 10 spots. The top 10 female entrepreneur finalists, including Surendra, were invited for 15 days acceleration programme in Canada in September 2018.
During this programme, Surendra and the other finalists met with Canadian and Indian dignitaries, such as Canadian Speaker of the House of Commons, Geoff Regan, and the Canadian Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Bardish Chagger. Later, she and the other finalists were certified by Mayor of Ottawa and High Commissioner of India stating to be transnational and being part of this program to gain more knowledge about North American market.
‘’It was a great experience being there. We received the best guidance and mentorship by great professors and industrial leaders, which also helped to build networks for us in the North American market. We were guests of parliament of Canada – it gave me the opportunity to meet the honourable ministers of Canada.’’ – Surendra (photo from left: Bardish Chagger, the Canadian Leader Government in the House of Commons and Sushmitha Surendra)
SRH University of Heidelberg is very happy to welcome such talented female entrepreneurs to our university and help guide them to realise their ambitions in life. We at the university are excited to see what her bright future will bring!
‘My goal is to go transnational and want every kitchen to be occupied by our product for smoke free and healthy environment. We are in the stage of approach towards German government and expand in Europe soon. ‘ -Surendra
“An investment in solar energy is an investment in your family’s environmental and financial future”.