i5 Summit 2017 – Day 1

I5 Summit, Central India’s largest entrepreneurship summit organised by IIM Indore and IIT Indore, sponsored by SIDBI and Calipso, commenced today with a keynote address by Mr. Venktesh Shukla. Mr. Shukla, ex-chairman of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and currently General Partner at Monta Vista Capital and President of Foundation for Excellence, graced the opening ceremony and talked about entrepreneurship as the way forward in India. He began with a quote by Vinod Khosla, acclaimed billionaire businessman, who is also a TiE member – “An entrepreneur is someone who dares to dream and is foolish enough to try and make those dreams come true”.

Mr. Shukla went on to talk about how the time is ripe to be an entrepreneur in India, due to availability of capital and government push to entrepreneurship. He said that there no real problems left to be solved in Silicon Valley, whereas India is bubbling with ideas and solutions to very real problems. He also appreciated the fact that tier 2 cities in India are taking up the entrepreneurship mantle. For entrepreneurs, he stressed upon finding out the one thing their company is best at, which people will ultimately pay for, and go all guns blazing with it. He ended his talk by saying that start-ups are inherently risky but at the same time, if entrepreneurs get that one ‘big idea’, they should not focus on granular B-plans and spreadsheets, but instead stick with it to bring it to fruition. To help with that, a mentor or coach is essential, especially during the early stages of the start-up. Lastly, his piece of advice to entrepreneurs was  to ‘know your customer’ by interacting with them, understanding their problems, finding out their willingness to pay for its solution and then solving their problems through the products or services on offer. ‘Think Big’ was the mantra he asked budding entrepreneurs to imbibe, and good things will follow.

Social Entrepreneur

The next event to be held was Social Entrepreneur, the flagship event which witnessed social start-ups attempting to bring about a positive change in the society presenting their pitches to Anand Govind Alluri, Founder of Govind Capital, and Professor Subin Sudhir.

The event began with Food Bank ATM (Any Time Meal), an innovative idea to bridge the gap between wastage and hunger and was followed by ‘Janta Choupal’, a ‘Smart App’ for a ‘Smart City’, essentially a political social media platform in order to create effective governance in the city of Indore. This was followed by Team Udaan, an initiative to provide low-cost sanitary napkins and further create a self-sustaining business model for rural women in the Kharsod Village of Madhya Pradesh. Impressed by their pitch, Mr. Alluri decided to give them an on-the-spot offer of Rs. 5 Lakhs. The team following this was Scrap Buzz, which presented an alternative opportunity to recycle scrap automotives in order to create utility products. The final team to present was ‘Gaonmart’, a social venture based in the small district of Jhabura, aiming to create a profitable venture out of the organic produce and bamboo baskets that the residents had to offer. Mr. Alluri expressed his desire to collaborate with them in order to build an app for their marketplace and offered them funding of Rs. 1.5 lakhs.

Workshop on Effectiveness in Creativity

The workshop on Effectiveness in Creativity held by S Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer and Vikas Mehta, CMO, Mullenlowe Lintas Group helped the audience answer a question: How to build brands that engage many and reap long term dividends of having a powerful central idea for the brand. Citing examples of iconic brands such as Surf Excel, Bajaj Avenger, Airbnb and Tata Tea, they showed how you can go from “Proposition to Point of View, to Purpose,” and move from an environment of “reactivism” to “preactivism,” i.e. using brands to create a positive social impact. This social impact ranges from celebrating the spirit of Ramzan, to celebrating brotherhood, and inspiring social awakening.

Speaker Series, Panel Discussion, Chai Pe Charcha

The speaker series featured Rajiv Srivatsa, Founder, Urban Ladder, Varun Raina, Marketing Head, Airbnb and Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett speaking on various topics such as “Employee to Entrepreneur: Hurdles and Mindsets Needed for the Shift” and “How not to go wrong with an Indian Consumer.” The panel discussion, which featured Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, HubHopper, Tushar Chhabra, Founder, CRON Systems, Sandesh C, COO, Chai Point and Vaibhav Agarwal, Founder and CEO Inc42 addressed the question “What does the next decade hold for Indian startups?” This was followed by an informal networking session Chai Pe Charcha, where students get to interact with industry stalwarts over tea and snacks.

This year’s edition of i5 Summit has witnessed tremendous success with a footfall of 1800 on the first day itself, and attendees eagerly await next day’s sessions and events, particularly the flagship event Get Funded, which last year saw funding of INR 23 Million.

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