Updates from IIT Kharagpur GES 2010

The first day at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2010 kicked off in style. It was a very exciting day for everyone as workshops were held by Wipro and CII and there were a lot of exciting sessions by wonderful speakers. Here’s a round-up of the interesting things that unfolded at IIT Kharagpur for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Note: Last updated on Jan. 18

An atmosphere of positive anticipation filled the room as the video conference with National university of Singapore. The session consisted of two speakers Prof. Hari Krishna Garg, NUS and Mr. Aneace Haddad , founder CEO of Taggo.

Prof Hari Garg is a successful entrepreneur and professor of electrical and computer engg department at NUS with over 20 yrs of experience in research and teaching in India, US and Singapore. His gyan about entrepreneurship:

Entrepreneurship is like an ecosystem. All people i.e. entrepreneurs, capitalists and consumers depend on each other for fulfilling their needs.

The quality common in all entrepreneurs is the ability to single mindedly pursue excellence. According to him, the most difficult thing about entrepreneurship is how to spell and pronounce it!!

Mr. Aneace Haddad has founded many startups, the latest one being Taggo. His lecture focused on Innovation in Entrepreneurship.

According to him, “50% of startups fail in their first year and 80% within 4 years because they do not ask 3 fundamental questions about their products:
1. So What 2. Who Cares? 3. Why Me?”

He says ” Great ideas eliminate a significant source of pain for a large number of people”

His golden rule for entrepreneurs is to have an exit plan ready! According to him, VCs and Angel Investors see the following in that order in an entrepreneur – Team, Size of Market, Product.

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In another session, Prof. Gupta quoted “Minds on the margin aren’t marginal minds”. Prof. Anil Gupta is an IIM Ahmedabad faculty and is the Executive Vice Chairman of National Innovation Foundation set-up by Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.

Prof. Gupta began his lecture by demonstrating how society, collectively is so resistant to innovation and blind to the world of possibilities that abounds. “Every entrepreneur must be irreverent and should not be overawed by reputation.” were his words of wisdom. He introduced Techpedia, a platform which holds over 104,000 archived summaries of college projects that as a whole, forms a pool of technology ready to hatch into products and see the light of the day. “Every time you solve a real life problem, not only do you become a better engineer, but also a better human being” and “Big ideas don’t come from big institutions” were two of his quotes that resonated well with the audience.

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Updates of the global conference with Prof Andy Goldstein, Ludwig Maxmillian University (LMU), Germany and Mr. Grover from Mumbai Angels.

When asked about ‘Entrepreneurship is necessity or need in Germany’, Prof Andy replied saying ‘No, but in this crisis may somewhat force people to start out of need. Big difference between US and Germany is that people come out of university in Germany at a late age of around 27-28 yrs whereas in US, they come out at 21 yrs. so they do not have family responsibility. Mr. Grover feels that certain areas of entrepreneurship can be taught. According to him, a lot of awareness is present among the students in IIT’s and IIM’s. But a lot of effort from the government is needed to take the entrepreneurship in India to the next step.

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The workshop on ‘Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Green Buildings’ was presented by Mr. Hemant Nitturkar on behalf of CII-Sorabhji Godrej Green Business Centre. Mr. Nitturkar said that all the avenues of expansion, innovation and improvisation of the old techniques that were open a few years ago are now closed due either to saturation or over-utilization. Hence, there is a need for new strategy which can counter both these setbacks. The aforesaid strategy is what has been christened Green Business, i.e. business that strives to have minimum adverse impact on the environment, a US $ 3 billion industry, yet to be exploited to its full potential.

Mr. Nitturkar also spoke about New Ventures India, a joint venture between CII-Godrej and World Resource Institution (WRI), whose main goals are to Identify (innovative ideas, products), Mentor (the ideas), Connect (to capital and markets) and Support (the ventures). One can have  more information from the New Ventures India Website.

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The second guest lecture of the day by Mr. Richard Kemp was a highly entertaining and interactive session. The Co-director MBA Executive Experience at the Open University, UK and Management Guru spoke at length on the role of Indian Entrepreneurs in the years to come and gave tips on analyzing a person’s leadership traits and selecting the best candidates for a team. He started off by raising concerns over the issue of fewer female entrepreneurs in the world and discussed the impact of it on the success of a company.

He explained an interesting theory that the eldest children (not single children) make good leaders. They are always saddled with expectations and responsibility and are always trying to improve themselves and want other s to reach their level, which make them ideal leaders.

He finished the conversation by making teams of six with each member having a particular hobby – chess, scrabble, sudoku, card games, board games or reading books. He explained each trait and its value in a company. Chess players are usually strategic in thinking and strive for perfection in everything. Scrabble players have good language skills and link data in a system. They are open thinkers. Sudoku players are analytic and quick. They can see the big picture simultaneously paying attention to minor details. Card players are strategic and far-sighted but at the same time rely a bit in chance. Board game players are team players and are never afraid of losing. Finally, readers bring in their imagination and knowledge thus s completing the team.

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The first ever Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India played host to the WiCamp, inspired on the lines of Silicon Valley based barcamps. It also included a free lunch and a high tea sponsored by Wipro. The auditorium was filled with enthusiastic people eager to ideate along with Pavan Soni, Innovation Evangelist, Wipro. He began with the fact that there can be more than one correct answer. According to him innovation is the spirit of finding the next right answer.

After the opening, the camp was thrown open to all. This invited a lot of insightful guest speeches. The first one given by Deepanjan was on innovation. He pointed out the Top 3 Inventions of the world. No.3: Inclined plane simple machine. No.2: Fire. No.1: Language. There was a 0th slot too: Intellectual Pedagogy. The next speech was about e-wastage with emphasis on four factors: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Recover.

Next one was by Prof. K.D. Raju on Relation between Intellectual Property and Innovation. Some exciting points which were highlighted by him: Why ideas can’t be patented in India? Why out of 7 million patents filed with US PTO, 99.8% have never been commercialized? He also gave some important idea about innovation: From Idea – Concept – Product – Market, From Intellectual Property – Invention – Innovation, and Invention and Commercialization combine to form Innovation.

The campers were engaged in a Brainstorming Session, a 20 minute session on the topic INNOVATION FOR INDIA and a stagerring 114 ideas came out of this session. After this tremendous session of flow of ideas we had a speech by Mr. Subhasish Saha, Apeejay Surrendra Group on Perceptive of Innovation. According to him, Discipline and Creativity are the Yin and Yang of Innovation. There were speeches on Information Technology, Information & Physics, one on Visual Engineering by Kanav Hasija highlighting space crisis due to machines and the last one on Online Marketing.

Pavan Soni summed up the Camp in style saying, ‘There is always a better answer’ and ‘Business never runs on B-Plan but on a Plan-B‘.

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The event is a super success and kudos to the e-cell team and volunteers organising this. It is so very important to have such summit and we are sure this will be an insight to all students and so many others. Do keep watching out for more updates for this event.

Update 18 Jan 2010:

Startup camp: The hour long inauguration of the startup camp saw the participants taking to the stage and presenting their startups to the audience and the Venture Capitalists, seated among them. Following a welcome address by Samarth Sharma, the representatives from the startups successively ascended the podium in order to showcase their respective companies. Here are the participating startups:

  • Juice Station, represented by founder Ms. Arundhati Dutta. India’s first mobile health juice bar. The company has plans to increase its fleet of mobile kiosks, besides setting up of standalone kiosks in certain cities and high-footfall malls.
  • Sportskeeda.com, an online sports portal, covering A-Z of the sporting world. It comprises of a team of 60 bloggers and within three months of its inception has done interviews with many sports persons. They have plans to expand into an e-retail company by 2010 and to open a retail chain by 2012.
  • RangDe.org, Their model is simple: those who are in need of microfinancing upload their profile on the website, where it is available for Individual Social Investors and corporate Social Investors to view and consider.
  • Supramental foundation, is dedicated to help propagate education to the unreached sections of society through radio and television. Their clients include NGOs, government and private organizations. They aim to transform India into a radio-based community.
  • BookMyHealth, an online and on-mobile one stop health care solution, which helps get appointments with Doctors through mobile phones and internet, and helps in their follow-up.
  • Teach for India, a rural education initiative.
  • Oxylabs, a social gaming website.
  • Intelliant is an open source technology company, providing end-to-end IT solutions for SMEs.

Another aspect of the startup camp that requires mention is the Networking Lunch. The hour-and-a-half lunch held in STEP, it was aimed at bringing together the participating startups and Venture Capitalists, in order that they may, as the name suggests, network with each other, providing an opportunity for the startups to pitch their respective enterprises in front of the VCs.

Some of the questions which were addressed in the next session were very interesting. Here are some of the questions with their answers.

Q: Research and development (R&D) of all companies in India put together is less than that of Sony corporation’s alone! Isn’t that incredible. Elaborate on the role of R&D in entrepreneurship.

A: Prof. Raju: R&D is must if a company needs to innovate on their existing products and develop new products. Products must change as the needs of the market changes. thus R&D helps in increasing life of a product. In India, most of the R&D is done by the foreign companies, only Tata is the Indian company investing in R&D. But of late, there has been a sea change in govt policy on R&D and it is now actively being encouraged. Pharma industry in India is acquiring a global image thanks to its R&D.

TiE: Situation in Japan is quite complicated. R&D depends on the stability of the company and the market. Post recession, we have seen volatile changes in both. That being said, R&D in Japan needs to be complemented by market research that would avoid money loss due to developing a product not needed by the market.

Sanjukto: In India, we can go a long way in terms of R&D. I believe that clean tech is the road ahead. More and more companies are realizing the necessity of R&D.

Q: What is the role of small and medium scale enterprises in India’s and Japan’s development?

A: Prof. Guin: Since India is a developing country, most of the GDP comes from small and medium enterprises. Now, entrepreneurship is morphing into a popular option in India. Many entrepreneurs come from IITs and IIMs. They are now being known as technopreneurs as they use the knowledge gained at technical institutes to develop products for their entrepreneurs. They are gaining cult status! Indian Govt  has started taking steps to promote this new way of entrepreneurship with programmes like “TePP” (Technopreneur Promotion Program).

Prof. Raju: Although small entrepreneurs are the largest earners of GDP inIndia, they still have lot of barriers in getting funding and licenses. The govt should try to make business easier to do for them. Such reforms by the govt. will help more of these small companies to grow into global giants.

Prof. Shantanu: Organizations like TiE are tremendously helping entrepreneurs in India and Indian entrepreneurs abroad. They should start more chapters in different parts of the world. Social entrepreneurship is now starting to get attention in India.

Here ends the round of updates from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2010. Hope you enjoyed the coverage. Follow us @liveadda for interesting tweets and live coverage from premier events in the country.

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