ED Conclave Report

The Entrepreneurship Club “Antha Prerna” of Vivekananda School of Business Studies (VSBS) organized an Entrepreneurship Conclave on 4th September, 2019 for the current batch of students across courses & semesters. The theme of the conclave is “Give flight to your dreams”, inspired from a quote by Walt Disney’s i.e All Dreams Come True If You Have the Courage to Pursue Them.

The objective of the conclave is to familiarize young management students about the endless possibilities of entrepreneurship through stories of successful ventures who made it despite impossible odds stacked against them. The six of the most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs were invited to share their experiences, stories and insights with the students. The hosts of the event Ms. Ashu Aggarwal invited the dignitaries to occupy the dais. Dr. Indira Bhardwaj (Dean, VSBS) and Prof. Meenakshi Gandhi welcomed all the dignitaries by felicitating them with bouquets and souvenirs.

The event further proceeded by inviting the first speaker for the day, Mr. Advait Kumar, Co-founder, Swajal. He developed India’s first “Water ATM”where you put in a coin and the machine dispenses water. He holds the trademark for its design. The idea behind the creation is decentralization of availability of clean drinking water and rein in on the rising commercialization of the most precious commodity through packaged water industry. In many ways his venture serves the “Botton of the pyramid”and has vast social impact. But he can’t be labeled as a “Social entrepreneur” as he also started “Water Cube” which caters to big corporates such as PWC, KPMG etc.

He graduated from PENN Grad school and worked as an Investment banker in JP Morgan. But the entrepreneurship bug caught up with him. The journey of Entrepreneurship has not been easy for him as he started three start-ups namely Mindkart, Nirbhaya Urja and PayClap but everytime he failed. Despite massive setbacks, he did’nt give in and kept trying. He got through an MBA programme at prestigious Chicago Booth School of Business but dropped out in just 1 day as the cost of education in US is extremely high.

He defined an “Entrepreneur” as someone who takes a financial risk in the hope of earning profit. He believes you don’t become your own boss as an Entrepreneur, instead, everyone is your boss. He further gave a very interesting analogy to tell audience who an entrepreneur really is – according to him, he is someone who is flying in a plane, pushed out and now he has to create a parachute before hitting the ground. He said entrepreneurs are crazies, rebels and misfits who pushed the industry towards change and force nations to take a great leap forward. He emphasized that India’s MSME’s are the real backbone of the economy. Lastly, he said, his only regret in life is he did’nt quit sooner.

The next speaker who came onto the podium to share his experiences was Mr. Pushpinder Singh, Founder, Travel Khana. He identified the problem of poor quality food in Indian trains and decided to address it through his venture. He cited statistics to offer perspective to the audience about the size of the target market, according to him, there are 8.5 Billion train rides in an year, which means the entire Australia’s population is travelling from one place to another per week.

After problem identification, he did pilot studies to decide which specific cities or routes to target in the initial phase of the business. He shortlisted 12 cities and picked Jaipur as the first station to supply good quality food to passengers. It was very difficult to convince restaurants to agree to supply to Indian railways, but with great efforts, he managed to convince a few of them. He talked about how he took out pamphlets and distributed in AC class and few in sleeper class as well. A small call centre of 3 guys was set up to attend calls, but the response was so overwhelming that he was able to scale up the operations and assisted Govt. of India in regulating the sector.

The next speaker was Mr. Saurabh Jain who is one of a kind personality as he is a chartered accountant and an expert in computer programming. Currently, he is the Vice President of Paytm. He shared his childhood dream of creating a game not just playing it. He was fascinated by programming languages but had to settle for opting commerce due to life’s circumstances. But he continued to pursue his passion as he applied real-time concepts of Geometry, Trigonometry etc. and ended up writing the first book on mobile applications programming. He created an accounting software ‘Tally’ in Beta form in 2002.

He stressed on glaring gaps that exists between the kind of education imparted in schools and colleges and what the industry expects, according to him, the line between Engineering and Management gets blurred when it comes to practicing entrepreneurship. He shared his story of earning $15 through Google affiliate marketing program in 1998, explained how difficult it was to make people use Google, but today it’s a tech giant.

He further elucidated 8 types of intelligence that must be present in an entrepreneur – Logical (sharp analytical mind), Linguistic (good language skills), intra-personal (knowing why you are pursuing the given path), inter-personal (networking), naturalistic (instinctive), spatial, kinesthetic and creative. According to him, the Paytm founder Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma possess all 8 types of intelligence and is a great role model for the youth. He said the Paytm has been able to reduce barriers and provide world-class user experience to customers. According to him, technology not legislation is the answer to curb corruption in India and Paytm has contributed immensely in addressing this problem. Finally, he urged everyone to pick one problem of India and come out with creative solutions as the country needs us.

The next speaker was Mr. Sivesh Kumar who is the founder of Start-up Monk. He pursued his graduation from Delhi University in the field of statistics, but he knew that this is not something he wants to do in his life. He worked in a garments export house for 3 months as an intern and then worked for free only to learn the tricks of the trade. He then moved on and tried his hand in Entrepreneurship, he started two ventures and both failed in a short period of time.