Why not entrepreneurship?  

Passion, People, Perseverance, Positivity – these are the 4 P’s one must have to be a social entrepreneur according to Ankit Kumar. One might have several doubts and questions in mind about starting one’s own venture. Ankit Kumar tried to address some of these worries through the story of his entrepreneurial venture, when he delivered a session on campus recently. Here is his story and some of the tips he shared with us.

Story

Ankit Kumar had a passion for bringing change in the lives of underprivileged by being a part of the system through a for profit model. Free time during his college days gave him the opportunity to get himself acquainted with several policies and schemes of the government in agriculture, public policy and rural development. The National Biofuel Policy of 2008 got his attention and he wanted to do something by utilise the policy to pursue his dream. When the government announced the introduction of MGNREGA scheme, Ankit got the idea of having plantations of Pongamia, a biofuel plant, through the labour force of MGNREGA and build a business model by bringing it under the biofuel policy. Through his journey of the establishing his venture by working with the government, Ankit shared his experiences of difficulties he faced – a missing coma in a policy, the red-tapism of bureaucracy and the policy gaps like politicians and bureaucracy being unaware of policies, no revision of price of biofuels, inhibition of direct engagement for dealership with The Railways.

Tips

  1. Start your venture as early as possible – you will have lesser problems when you are young
  2. Use your MBA knowledge to become an entrepreneur – analyse your idea for your course projects
  3. Build Network Quotient – nothing helps in forming your venture better than a good network
  4. Burn the Bridges – take risk and make that big leap forward and start it

Agribusiness Opportunities

  • Social Forestry
  • Integrated livelihood: Social fishery, poultry & plantation
  • Identify the needs of people: Government, CSR, Community
  • Community Resource Centres
  • 2nd generation biofuels: Cellulosic ethanol and Bio-Oil
The event was organized by the Agri-Business Club of IIMA. (http://stdwww.iimahd.ernet.in/abc/)
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Startup Weekend kicks off at IIM Ahmedabad

Startup Weekend along with ENTRE club, IIMA, conducted the first chapter of Startup Weekend, the global entrepreneurship event, in Ahmedabad from March 1- 3. True to its motto, the event was “No Talk. All Action” throughout the 54 hours. The Ahmedabad chapter turned out to be the biggest one in India till date, with participation in excess of 120, with 25 enthusiastic female entrepreneurs also in the midst. It saw a balanced mix of working professionals, freelancers and students from various backgrounds.

Startup Weekend_1Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. It is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, product managers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.
The event kicked off with each participant given a single minute duration to pitch their ideas to the audience. Around 40 teams came up with innovative ideas. While many of them were tech-related, there were a few related to social causes as well. After the participants poured in their ideas, the participants voted their preferred ideas in order to select the top ideas which would be further improvised upon. After the voting, an overall of 17 teams were formed which had unique and innovative ideas. In response to each selected idea, a team comprising of developers, marketers and designers were formed.Startup Weekend_2

The next day saw the 17 teams work from dawn till dusk, working upon their ideas, improvising them, making them implementable. Each team was also provided a mentor to guide them through the whole process and help them understand the dynamics of forming a startup.

The final day required the teams to make a 7-minute presentation in front of the judges, comprising of industry stalwarts like Infibeam founder Vishal Mehta, Founding Curator of World Economic Forum, Sunil Parekh, Founding member of India Internet Group, Anirudh Suri, DEV ITPL founder Jaimin Shah and MICA Incubator Head, UT Rao. After the round of final presentations, 7 out of the 17 teams were given awards, ranging from the best idea to the most researched idea. “Areysun.com”, a social gossiping platform, won the best Startup Weekend_3idea award while “Nationroots”, a social initiative to track the progress of political promises, won the prize for the best idea for a social cause. An event management idea also managed to get on the spot seed funding too. All the winners availed themselves of free domain hosting for a year to help them launch their startup.

At the end of the first chapter of the Ahmedabad Startup Weekend, Harshad Shrikhande, the ENTRE club coordinator focused on the need to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem in IIM Ahmedabad to give the students the best platform to make their ideas come true.

The Dream Chasers’ Speaker Series kicks off!

At the launch of the speaker series, ‘Dream Chasers’, organized by the ENTRE CLUB, the Entrepreneurship cell of IIMA, “Mr. Manu Midha”, Vice president, Strategy and Planning, INFIBEAM came down to campus to deliver an insightful talk on his journey from being a banker to a vice president in a start up as well as about the e- commerce industry and its prospects.

Mr Manu Midha was working as a Sr. Analyst, IBD, JP Morgan India (Apr’10 – Nov’10) and is an alum of IIM A (2010 batch) with a background in engineering from IIT Kharagpur.

During the course of the talk he spoke about his motivation to be in a job that is closer to customers. He wanted an opportunity to observe consumer behavior and translate that to making profits. He wanted to do something that he “could do best” and for the same, he quit his job as a banker and turned to pursue his dream job. He spoke about his struggle at the beginning wherein he would not have a single customer or an employee for months and how he brought it to a point wherein he has about 14,000 clients lined up within a span of a year.

He then moved on to develop the students’ understanding of the e-commerce ecosystem, its major challenges and ways of dealing with them. He pointed out the biggest challenge of online retail that is inventory management. He said, “Knowledge of inventory is as good as having inventory itself” and this is the principle behind which online retail works. He also provided valuable insights into scaling up of e-commerce ventures, consumer behavior online, and the challenges present in Indian context.

He gave an opinion about the online consumer behavior in India and the challenges that it throws. High customer acquisition costs, a low click through rate, low conversion and a dearth of loyalty where some of the challenges looked into.

On the whole it was an extremely engaging experience for all those interested in the sector and gave a number of useful pointers to those thinking of starting their own ventures in this sector. It was also extremely motivational for those who think beyond the conventional placement process and would like to struggle to follow their dreams akin to the tagline of Dreamchasers –

“Dream… Believe… Achieve!”