Day 2: Maneeshi: Panel Discussion -1: Manipal as an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hotspot


A.S. Vasudeva Rao – Moderator

Mr. Vasudeva Rao initiated the panel discussion by focusing on the keywords of the panel discussion – Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He cited Manipal University itself as an entrepreneurial venture along with other ventures which have exploited the natural resources of the region in order to turn them into profitable businesses such as Tourism, Agriculture, etc.

Sarita Santosh, Founder, Sunshine Travels & Holidays

Ms. Sarita Santosh spoke about the requirements that are essential for Manipal to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation. She explained how educational institutes and its faculty can provide a platform for startups to thrive.

Prashanth Bhat, CTO, Manipal DOT Net Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Prashanth Bhat started off by saying that it is crucial for Manipal to take lessons from Silicon Valley, although replicating the same model is not advisable. After giving a brief introduction about his company, Mr. Bhat clarified the difference between a software-based startup and a non-software based startup. He described how Silicon Valley provides a vibrant ecosystem for students at Stanford University and The University of California, Berkeley.

Arun Shanbhag, Chief Innovation Officer, MU

Mr. Arun Shanbhag praised the incubation setup available for students in Manipal and expressed how it can encourage entrepreneurship. He advised students to think beyond servers and mobile applications. He said this is possible when students identify real-life problems and when they collaborate to form interdisciplinary working teams. He explained how improving the quality of life of people in slum could generate new businesses.

Gautham Pai, CEO, Manipal Group

Mr. Gautham Pai clarified why proximity to raw materials is crucial in case of a manufacturing startup. He stated that entrepreneurs are venturing more into niche areas because of deterrents in infrastructure. He also commented on the student-industry relationship and the ecosystem available in Manipal for entrepreneurs.

Ravi Ranjan, Deputy Manager, NASCOM 10K Startups Programme

Mr. Ravi Ranjan who possesses a technical background narrated an incident with an alumnus of MIT, Manipal who started his entrepreneurial venture by designing portable ICU Machines for providing healthcare in remote areas. He also expressed the importance of “Internet of Things”, which is the future of combining business and technology and how small and medium scale industries can be benefitted by using it.

Harish Raj, Proprietor, Vikram Fishing Company

Mr. Harish Raj gave an overview of the two major deciding factors for the existence of businesses in the earlier era – closeness to raw materials and closeness to the market. As the economy grew, he explored the vast variety of opportunities over the years. Although critical about the readiness of Indian students to become entrepreneurs, he urged the audience to increase their risk appetites and tap into potential business opportunities.

Raviraja NS, Centre Head, Director-Business Development, Stempeutics Research Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Raviraja NS expressed the importance of hard work and good mentorship in an entrepreneurial journey. He stated that an idea in the mind should turn into a dream and that young entrepreneurs should work consistently to achieve this dream. He also mentioned the importance of inter-disciplinary idea generation and human resources and the need for innovation.


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