30th Edition: Atharva

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Atharva– the 30th installment took off on the 13th of Januray in T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal. It provides a platform for young budding managers to showcase their talents. This business school fest not only includes some rigorous competitions to test the mettle of the competitors, it also saw various industry stalwarts interacting with the students. Mr Gururaj Kidiyoor, Director, T A Pai Management Institute, and our honourable chief guest, Mr Denny Joseph, Director, KPMG Global Services, graced the inaugural ceremony with their presence.

The first day saw the qualifying rounds for Sankalp (the business plan competition), sHRishti (showcasing talents in hiring, training and retaining employees), Infinity (showcasing knowledge and talent in the analysis of Mergers and Acquisitions) and Make Your Mark (exhibiting competence in the field of marketing). The day concluded with Vibes, the inter-collegiate dance competition where TAPMI emerged as the winner. It was followed by the talent show competition Blaze where awards were given to Mr and Ms Blaze.

The next day was no respite for the students. As competitors from TAPMI, IMI New Delhi, IFMR, KJ SIMR and SIBM fought for the top spots, the events got even more brutal. The students had the opportunity to interact with Mr Bharat Dave, Manager, BSE who took a session on “Overview of Security Markets”. He explained position monitoring, circuit filters and surveillance system present in BSE to protect market participants. He concluded by saying you can become a millionaire and billionaire if you follow the rules and be a disciplined investor. The day continued with Run for a Cause, a marathon organised to raise funds for the underprivileged students of Academy School. Students from various colleges around Manipal and from T A Pai Management Institute participated in this generous cause. TAPMI’s in-house band, YTBN (Yet to be Named) brought this hectic day to a conclusion. They performed to various melodies across genres. It kept the students engaged and recreated the lively environment in the college.

The event reached a crescendo with the third day. The competitions witnessing an intense final with teams going head to head for the top spot. Xpressions was the in-house competitions for the students of TAPMI. They included Khoj (treasure hunt) and Point and Shoot (Counter Strike Competition), for the students to have some fun contention. In the valedictory ceremony, all the top teams were given their rewards after 3 intense days of battling it out. Evening saw the event Libaaz, the fashion show competition. The glamorous event was the perfect ending to the 30th installment of Atharva.

Day 3: Maneeshi: Panel Discussion on “Entrepreneurship as a driver for strategic Human Capital”

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Mr. T V Ganesh – CEO, Indiaproperty.com

T V Ganesh began by explaining the demand & supply side of the business ie about their customers & suppliers. He explained how for a common man purchasing a house involves investing their savings & hence, becomes a critical decision. Having a house is often considered the best performing asset class. The digital technology that Indiaproperty.com provides gives a better analysis of various alternatives & also provides legal assistance. He further mentioned how without the digital interface, a buyer would require 8-10 weeks of search for a house but with the interface would need 2-3 hours only including legal assistance. He also elaborated on the implications of demonetisation on the business & how the challenges they faced helped them to further build their brand.

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee – Professor, Calcutta University 

Talking about the role of Academics in innovation and development of new products and entrepreneurship, Dr Kanika Chatterjee said that synergy between academicians and entrepreneurs are of utmost importance. These entities working separately as isolated bodies will not be socially beneficial. She emphasized on the fact that research for the sake of research should take a backseat. Instead, research should focus on contributing to Human Development. Similarly, Entrepreneurship should focus on sustainability and a flourishing society. Talking about leakages in the education system of developing countries, Dr. Kanika Chatterjee said that to propel entrepreneurship a university should pursue to develop a students’ individuality instead of standardizing the education system.

Mr. Vikram Anand – CEO, Founder, FarmGuru 

Mr. Vikram Anand was asked to address the panel about the role of entrepreneurship in tackling grave issues plaguing the Indian agriculture sector, especially farmer suicide. Mr. Vikram Anand started by saying that the major part of India lives in villages which thrives completely on agriculture, but sadly very little has been done to tackle the problem of farmer suicide. One of the GDP impacting projects of Indian government is NAM which will lead to the collapse of the intermediaries. On the other side, access to farm inputs is a major hurdle for a farmer where he has to face four levels. Access to capital is one of the main factors which have led to farmer suicides. Talking about his company, Mr. Anand said that Farmguru helps a small farmer get farm inputs at the same price as any larger farmer. Achieving price democracy while maintaining good quality is the main objective of Farmguru.

Mr. Mohammed Safirulla – Collector, Ernakulam District

Mr. Mohammed shared his views on entrepreneurship. He said that an entrepreneur should be very clear about his product since technology is only an enabler & not a solution. He even stated that we need to be aware of the problems caused by creative disruption since it affects the people in the traditional system. He further discussed that Kerala was the first state to adopt the start-up policy even before the government announced it. Kerala has taken many initiatives to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the state. The investment models of LDF and UDF in Kerala are mostly government driven. He stated that people entrepreneurship is highly active in Kerala and that investors are able to create tremendous value addition.

Mr. Anand Ramachandran – Co-founder, Fantain Sports

Mr. Anand Ramachandran threw light on the importance of fans in any sportsperson’s life. India is a content starved country when it comes to sports. According to him, sports is an activity performed for people to enjoy and fans are the central entity for sports. In this era, fan relationship management and analytics for sports teams and leagues are very important. According to him, entrepreneurship is about being enterprising; its about thought and action. He concluded the discussion by saying that companies want to hire entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship is about decision making.

Mr. Sudeep Bandopadhyay – CEO, Founder, Inditrade

Mr. Sudeep started off by saying that be it an academic discussion or entrepreneurial ventures, there are three factors that any entrepreneur should look into, ie finding out a delta with an idea which can make a difference. With an illustration of IRCTC, he explained that it is important to be extremely careful during group-thinking and not to rush in, and that the basic assumption that all think rationally is incorrect and decision making is not driven by optimum results. He ended by quoting that “Opportunity is huge. You are at the right time at the right place.”

Mr. Srinivas Katta [CEO, Founder, IndusLaw]

Mr. Srinivas entered the discussion by stating that entrepreneurs try to impose personality to a large extent and do not think about the governance structure as important for it to work. He believes that the law creates the structure and that lawyers subvert the structure. He also mentioned about down drown leading to asking consent from many people. He added that companies collapse, shut down and also move on simply based on structure. He further quoted that “The key is to create a structure where you can trust people”. He concluded that entrepreneurship shouldn’t be measured in dollars like in the current system as it is bound to collapse.

Prof. Owen Skae – Director, Rhodes Business School

Prof. Skae spoke about how academic qualifications should help in developing a business model which should be a viable proposition as well. He also explained how academic institutions should partner with corporates which would in turn inspire young people to start their own businesses with an underlying sustainability theme. Universities must also collaborate to develop human capital & be driven by sustainable value creation. This would give an opportunity to improve lives. He concluded by saying that knowledge production must not be compromised.

Maneeshi 2017: Day 2: Panel Discussion- “Corporate Entrepreneurship”

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The 8 Panelists along with the Moderator, Prof. Ishwar Haritas, shared their thoughts on the topic “Corporate Entrepreneurship”.

Prof. Sushil, Chair Strategic Management Group, DOMS, IIT Delhi

Prof. Sushil said that Corporate Entrepreneurship is an ambiguous area. He took the analogy of Alice in Wonderland and students going to industrial wonderland. He believes that to be an individual entrepreneur or be it in corporate entrepreneurship, most important aspect is to have a vision as to where to reach. He further stated that corporate entrepreneurship contributes only to certain areas for competitiveness and took Indian illustrations such as HCL, Kinetic, and ITC. He concluded with the mantra “To give a LIFE (Learning, Innovation, Flexibility, and Entrepreneurship) to your organization

Mr. T V Ganesh, CEO, Indiaproperty.com

Mr. Ganesh stated that the fundamental problem running a company or encouraging innovation is-How to let people think within a frame of mind with nothing to lose. He continued that there is an absence of structured framework where employees would be allowed to make mistakes, helping encourage a culture of risk-taking and innovation. He quoted that “Challenge today is to set up an environment to encourage such risk-taking.”

Mr. Srinivas Prasad, Head, Gravitas Advisory

Mr. Srinivas Prasad stated that not all entrepreneurship comes internally, but might also come externally like in the case of CISCO, Intel and Google capital. He added that large companies are looking at accelerators to come up with new ideas for business which help them to stay in touch with disruptions.

Mr. Rohit Rao, Director, Grant Thorton

Mr. Rohit Rao started off by stating that corporate entrepreneurship depends on the kind of organization you are from and the onus is on the company to constantly innovate. He defined the values to be CLEAR- Collaboration, Leadership, Egility, Ability, and Respect. He also commented that the bigger a company gets, more the probability of lethargy to creep in. He believes it is important to foster right talent in terms of encouraging entrepreneurship.

Mr. Vaitheeswaran, Speaker, Angel Investor, Mentor

Mr. Vaitheeswaran said that Corporate entrepreneurship is the fashion in the fag, it will follow a similar trajectory like the start-ups. There is a need to corporates to venture into entrepreneurship to keep up with the competitiveness. He even mentioned that the biggest challenge is the unwillingness of corporates to invest their funds in innovative ideas due to the risks. He believes that the culture of an organization makes a difference in the success of corporate entrepreneurship.

 Mr. Darshan Doshi, Head Program Reliance Jio GenNext Hub

Mr. Darshan Doshi believes that the technology front and talent pool play the main role in corporate entrepreneurship. One should be willing to take ownership and adapt new technologies to grow in the market. The purpose of every entrepreneur within and outside an organization is to find the market need. He said that we need to identify and solve the problem. He concluded by saying that an organization’s returns should be exponential after executing an action plan.

Mr. Manish Harodia, Co-founder, and Head of Marketing & Sales, DreamWallets

Mr. Manish started the discussion by stating that the learning in one month of entrepreneurship is equal to the two years spent in a B- School case study methodology. According to him, entrepreneurship is a multiplier of an idea, product, team, and execution. The success of any business depends on the timing of the market. It is the deciding factor for the success of any idea. He shared his thoughts on how demonetization gave rise to many whacky ideas. Individuals with such ideas are influencing big enterprises to change the way organizations are working. He emphasized on idea generation and implementation.

Mr. Saumyajit Guha, Co-Principal, Jaarvis Accelerator

Mr. Saumyajit Guha started the discussion by citing examples in solving problems innovatively in the corporate world. According to him, the manner in which a problem is solved leads to corporate innovation. He said that an entrepreneur is comparatively more free to take risks and launch a new product or service unlike the corporate. This is because of the accountability and ownership factor which is lacking in the corporate. The challenge in the corporate is the job mentalities of the employees, which plays a major role in the execution of successful operations.

Day 2: Maneeshi: Panel Discussion on “The role of policy and institutions in fostering businesses”

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Arup Choudhuri, CEO, Founder, Acasia Global Consulting 

Mr. Arup Choudhari began by introducing the concept of Gen-X in reference to the youth moving towards liberalization and globalization. Moving ahead, he mentioned that we have come a long way since the controlled regime of dependent India and the period of great depression. Major reforms like FEMA , MRTP Act, taxation rules, New payment banking, competition policies etc. have redefined the global scenario. However, certain domains including women’s development, income and expenditure taxes, banking policies require increased focus and reformation. According to him, next 15 years will be crucial towards development in the wholesome perspective.

Purnima Venkat, Independent Consultant, Social Development

Ms. Purnima Venkat spoke majorly about micro-entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. In her opinion, parts of rural India suffer tremendously due to a simple lack of infrastructure and support. This sector does not have much of a say in policy making. They are hugely dependent on informal forms of finance, which leads to a cycle of poverty. Further, she added that it is important to not just criticize but also give solutions. India has seen improvements in terms of increased financial inclusion, however, there is much more that needs to be done. Innovation and entrepreneurship know no bounds. We need to tap the hidden grounds and create mechanisms for diversification of all sectors. Understanding the need is the backbone of business, therefore the importance of social enterprise. Building assets, looking at doorstep services, increasing literacy, simplifying policies, increasing equality between men and women, creating an enabling environment, distribution of income are some basic steps to consider in this aspect. Also, she opined that we have policies and frameworks, all we need is an effective utilization.

Andrew Murray, CEO and Principal Economic Advisor, Govt. of South Africa

Mr. Andrews Murray moved the discussion ahead by bringing in insights into the South African business ecosystem. He began by saying that South Africa inherited a highly concentrated economy. Unequal distribution of income, political resistance to liberalization, low growth rate are some of the factors acting as a deterrent to entrepreneurship. Unlike India, south Africa does not have a strong business leadership to support globalization. The extent of the problem is emphasized by the aggregate growth of 2% in the last 20 years. However, certain policy measures are being introduced to unleash growth. Commodity market, which is the main source of exports, is being laid emphasis on. Revenues collected through taxes are provided to the poor to support equal distribution of income. Increased focus on human capability and skills, innovation and access to technology is being emphasized upon. Initiatives are being taken towards resource mobilization and reducing the burden of bureaucracy that undermines entrepreneurial aspects.

Mr. Ravi Ranjan, Head NASSCOM

Mr. Ravi Ranjan started off by mentioning how far the Indian IT services has come. As of 2016, India’s IT services account for 57% of the services to the world. He emphasized on the initiatives that the Government of India is taking to support Startups. The major challenge that they face now is in identifying which Startup can be classified as an innovative Startup. He further added that entrepreneurs should identify the problem and solve it rather than waiting for Government approvals or funds. He mentioned how the market opportunity in India is huge but the challenge is that there aren’t enough investments in research to support the same. The environment in India is such that failing at something is seen as a taboo. They fail to realize that failing fast is the key to success.

Mr. Vikram Anand, CEO, Founder, FarmGuru

Mr. Vikram Anand started his discussion by saying that you need persistence to be an entrepreneur. He emphasized on the huge potential that India has to offer and that entrepreneurs will have to make a determined push to make an impact. He shared his experience and elaborated how it was difficult to sell a service back in 2002 as India did not have the access to information and capital that is prevalent now. The magic of technology is the access to information that they provide to people. The ecosystem now is such that customers are willing to trust and accept business ideas now. He further added that a change like demonetization helped change the mindset of people.

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee, Professor, Calcutta University (CU)

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee discussed how shaping minds and mindsets are important. One will have to take up challenges to become an entrepreneur. She elaborated on the need for a regenerative capitalist economy and how sustainability is the need of the hour. She said that an integration of sustainabilities is crucial. The integration of ecological, social and economic sustainabilities should be kept in mind. She also mentioned the cradle to cradle design and how it follows a sustainably innovative model. She spoke about how even though Institutions have the resources, they lack a certain will to make an impact.

 

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

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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.

Day 2: Maneeshi: Panel discussion on “Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses as growth engines”

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Ms. Huda Jaffer –  ‎Lead Designer at SELCO Foundation

Ms. Huda Jaffer mentioned that the luxury to choose between family business and a corporate firm is diminishing significantly. The de-centralized businesses play their part in training individuals in a different perspective compared to a large corporate which has established processes. She concluded by saying aspirations of individuals are shifting dramatically and may not show interest in running a business.

Mrs. Renu Jayaram – Managing Partner, Jaydev Motors, Founder, POWER, Manipal

Ms. Renu Jayaram asked students to think beyond families in relation to ownership. She highlighted the fact that you can always groom your children but in the end, you should let them find their passion and choose what they want to pursue. She concluded by saying if you are joining a firm, you must consider who the founders are and account for their leadership style.

Mr. Arun George – CEO, Founder, Avantgarde Innovations

Mr. Arun George shared his interest in developing a network of global entrepreneurs who can address the challenges and opportunities in India. He advised the students, to be honest with yourself and take the plunge because what matters is what we want to do and the impact we want to generate. He concluded by saying the scope of disruption in family businesses is minimal and must look into the path that you desire.

Mr. Anand Ramachandran – Co-Founder, Fantain Sports

Mr. Anand Ramachandran said that succession of a business considers ownership and control, where usually families retain ownership or at least a part of it and control of the business is given based on meritocracy. He discussed how family run businesses is used as a euphemism for unprofessionalism, which on the contrary may not always be true. He also cautioned that as a professional there will be a limit to grow in a business if it has been run by the family for generations. He concluded by advising students who have family businesses, to contemplate on whether they can grow in the business or as a professional, keeping in mind your own passion.

Mr. Skandan – MD, Eximo Tek India Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Skandan stated that ownership of a business can be given to some professionals, which can be run by them if the family members are not interested. He said that an individual’s passion is more important which has to be channelized in the right direction. It is crucial to identify a person with the right passion for leading an institution to grow. He concluded by advising students to look out for opportunities and not be concerned about joining startups.

Mr. Murli N – Regional Leader-South Asia, Hydratight

Mr. Murali N began by saying that the legacy you leave behind is important which can be done using ideas to create and deliver in a business or a corporate firm. He said that as a business owner you need to make your children demonstrate their passion before inducting them into the business or else they may not perform and grow in the environment where people you work with are not aligned with the same passion. He concluded by saying that working in a start-up would give you a rich learning experience and more opportunities to grow.

Mr. Abhishek Ranjan – CSO, BRILLIO

Mr. Abhishek Ranjan said that choosing between family business and a corporate job is a hard decision to make but can be done. He discussed how a business can be run by a combination of family members and professionals. He said that any institution must keep pace with disruption to remain relevant in the industry and that companies have separate cells to determine policies and hierarchy of the company. He concluded by saying that you must follow your dreams in your company and not let your ideas die.

 

Maneeshi: Inauguration Ceremony

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Maneeshi the first installment held in T. A. Pai Institute of Management was inaugurated on the 28th of January. This initiative is launched by Omega, the consultancy wing and SEG, the social endeavour group of TAPMI. The theme of the event is “Entrepreneurship as Competitiveness”. This captures the true spirit of the entrepreneur scene currently prevalent in the country. The ceremony started with the invocation song and lighting of the lamp.

Professor Gururaj Kidyoor, the Director at TAPMI opened the inauguration by introducing the theme to the present guests, faculty and students. He feels that when we think of a start-up or a new entrepreneurship initiative we only think of e-commerce. The other sectors are not given the due weightage or importance because of the lack of knowledge or awareness. He concluded by saying the events like Maneeshi explore other avenues which emphasize on social transformation and not just to feed in consumerism.

Prof Kidyoor welcomed the chief guest of the event Mr Gautam Pai, Managing Director of Manipal Technologies, onto the stage to give his views. He explained that a country like India had a huge potential given the vast talent pool and the major social issues awaiting a simple solution. But he feels the major problem lies in the fact that there is taboo for a business failing. This mentality forms a major block because for higher risk one needs to take higher returns. He went on to explain the various reasons that India is an open playing field for start-ups because of the various problems awaiting a simple solution.

The inauguration ceremony came to an end with exciting events lined up. The panelists and participants for these events geared up for the three day event. The first of its kind, Maneeshi holds a promising and eventful journey for all the guests, faculty and students.