Challenges and Opportunities for young Indian entrepreneurs feature in three-day summit at IIMB

>>Speakers at Eximius’19 focus on tech and innovation as drivers of transformation & growth

Dr. Montek S. Ahluwalia, Former Dy. Chair, Planning Commission, inaugurates Eximius 2019, the three-day entrepreneurship summit, from August 09-11, at IIMB.

From skills required to work in an environment of EPIC (Exponential, Pervasive, Intelligent, Continuous) disruption to building a resume of deviations, young people who dream of becoming entrepreneurs got valuable insights from India’s top entrepreneurs at Eximius 2019, the entrepreneurship summit hosted by the students of IIM Bangalore from August 09-11.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures and Co-Founder of Infosys, reflected on his own journey as an entrepreneur and said, “Entrepreneurship is the activity of setting business or businesses taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. The biggest drivers of transformation are technology and innovation.” He encouraged students to find a purpose in life and follow the principles of ‘Ikigai’ – the Japanese secret to a long and happy life that has transformed their outlook on life and business.

Avnish Sabharwal, MD, Accenture Ventures, shared insights on ‘B2B Deep Tech Start-up’ and explained: “This is the era of EPIC (Exponential, Pervasive, Intelligent, Continuous) disruption and Innovation is the only way to survive it. Start-ups are the harbingers of innovation in India. India has emerged a thriving innovation ecosystem powered by start-ups and enablers. B2B tech start-ups are expected to be the next big thing in India, riding on funding and growing innovation interests.”

Eximius, hosted by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cell of IIM Bangalore and NSRCEL, IIMB’s start-up hub, is amongst the most significant national entrepreneurship summits in India. This year’s theme was ‘Transcend the Ordinary’. The three-day national summit comprised events, workshops and speaker sessions. It also featured case competitions and workshops in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, healthcare, analytics, and more.

On August 09 (Friday), Eximius’19 was inaugurated by Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Former Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission (2004-14), Sahil Barua, IIMB Alumnus and Co-Founder at Delhivery, Bala Malladi, CEO at ACT Fibernet, Prof. Padmini Srinivasan, PGP Chair at IIMB, and Prof. K Kumar, Dean –  Alumni Relations & Development, IIMB.

Addressing students, Dr Ahluwalia said: “We need plenty of ecosystems for entrepreneurship and start-ups to flourish. The finance ecosystem, like funds and venture capitals, must support it. The government should provide an ecosystem that is supportive of disruption for it will be a huge sign of success when a small organization disrupts a large organization.”

Sahil Barua, Co-Founder of Delhivery and an alumnus of IIMB, shared the story of how Delhivery, a B2B & C2C logistics service provider company, was born. “The world has changed largely because of the technology around us. Expose yourself to technology. Entrepreneurs should choose problems that are large and meaningful. You must have the ability to take responsibility for the entities that you create. Choose big problems and stick to them. Work with people who care and encourage you to do what you do,” he said.

Vaishnavi Reddy of Brandstory, Ankit Chowdhary of Servify and Manan Chandan of Healthify spoke about the traps that start-ups fall into during their initial years. They emphasized the need for user-centric design and talked about how teams should learn to design as per today’s business scenarios. They suggested the use of data and behavioral patterns to design products and services.

Prof. B Mahadevan, faculty from the Production and Operations Management area at IIMB,  spoke on inspirational leadership. “The Bhagavad Gita is helpful for budding entrepreneurs,” he observed, adding that entrepreneurship was about charting the uncharted path. “The passion to make a difference to the world and the joy of solving unaddressed problems is what should drive entrepreneurs,” he said.

Ankit Aggarwal, founder of Dare2Compete, discussed the importance of failures and said everyone should have a resume of deviations. “Analyzing things around oneself, establishing oneself as a brand and networking well with people are key points that startup professionals must keep in mind,” he added.

The panel discussion on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ revolved around the norms and exemptions in place to help startups. It was discussed that in the VC world, the sooner one starts up, the better their standing.

Workshops, Expo and Contests

In a session on brand building using content platforms, Savi and Vid from Bruised Passport gave tips to the participants on how to produce high-quality content.

Eximius’19 also provided  an opportunity for start-ups to showcase their offerings to a diverse crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and customers.

BzzWings, the B-plan competition organized in association with NSRCEL, the innovation hub of IIM Bangalore, had teams present their ideas to a panel comprising Suman Sasmal and Prapulla Sandeep, mentors from NSRCEL, and Mohan Sundaram, a serial entrepreneur. Ideas ranged from automated self-sanitizing toilet seats to a platform to revive the culture of sending letters and postcards. The panel provided insights on differentiating the idea/project, viable expansion, and costing. Canfem, a social enterprise working for women’s breast health, and Sharepal who offer Travel Gear as a Service (TGaaS) emerged winners of BzzWings’19.

Pitcher Perfect, where start-ups pitched their ideas to investors/VCs, saw a fair number of budding entrepreneurs present their ideas. Healthonomics ensured that partiicpants got an opportunity to work on solutions for live projects. Changemakers, a competition organized by the Public Policy Club in association with ENI, had participants explore, debate and put forth their views on feasible public policy keeping in mind the unique challenges of an entrepreneur in India. A case competition on Akshay Patra’s Zero Waste Challenge called ‘Ace The Waste’ and a contest to design a marketing strategy for ACT Fibernet, were the other highlights of the summit.

All the three days of Eximius closed with performances from ‘Taal’ and ‘Dhwani’, the dance and music clubs of IIMB.

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