Entrepreneurship Summit 2021 - “Sustain to Attain” organised by Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Madras
Presented by Westbridge Capital, co-sponsored by StartupTN and powered by the IIT Madras Alumni Batch of 1990, E-Summit '21 marked the beginning of the next phase in a series of ISO 9001:2015 certified entrepreneurial fests, one of a kind in India.
Every year, the theme of the fest is chosen to reflect the spirit of an important point in a startup's lifetime. This year's theme is 'Sustain to Attain', stressing the necessity of resilience, preparation and calculated decision-making in order to sustain through the do-or-die pivoting moments in a startup's journey, and overcome them.
'The lockdown is just another phase in the E-Cell journey. It is an opportunity to flourish, to come back on our feet. Our experiences', Student Heads Akshit and Ayush write, 'reflect the resilience of India. And it is this India, that E-Summit 2021 gives voice to.'
Every year, E-Cell initiates a social campaign, broadening the scope of entrepreneurship in India. For 2020-21, the social campaign was Pankh - 'Opting Vertical Over Horizontal'. Pankh focuses on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), empowering them to build sustainable business models and is aimed at enabling the growth of Indian MSME ecosystem.
E-Summit attendees can participate in events such as 'StrategiZe,' a policy-making competition run in association with the National Institute of MSME, Hyderabad; and the 'MSME Showcase,' where unique MSMEs based around Rogan Art, Block Printing of Ajrakhpur, and Bidri Art have stalls.
E-Summit is characterised by its lineup of Inspirit lectures, where industry leaders from across sectors give talks highlighting their personal travails in grappling with the central theme of the summit. This year's lineup included the likes of Groww co-founder Lalit Keshre; Rana Daggubati & Anthill Ventures' Prasad Verma; Padma Shri Sanjeev Bikchandani; Deep Kalra from MakeMyTrip, and more.Keshre said that it was futile to worry about the competition over the customer. 'You don't need to beat everyone else - life is not about RG. First build your product, build your brand.' Keeping an ear to the ground, he explained, was essential.
Sanjeev Bikchandani, in his aptly named talk 'Building Things That Last', said that successful companies are built on deep consumer insight that dictates marketing strategy.
Deep Kalra, whose MakeMyTrip is India's largest travel booking company, emphasised resilience and judgment as the means to outlast a crisis. "Most calls are in shades of grey - you have no clue which one will end up better," Kalra said.
The travel and tourism industry was drastically affected by COVID, making prioritizing safety and hygiene standards paramount. Nevertheless, he was confident it would survive. He suggested that entrepreneurs keep a time-frame of minimum 4-5 years in India.
Having faced discrimination in college herself, Qualcomm MD Varsha Tagare welcomed the increase in the number of female enrollment into engineering and in technical jobs.
Tagare highlighted the difficulty of balancing being a parent with her profession. She recalled her mother's advice; if she managed to succeed here, everything else would be a breeze.
Dipali Goenka, CEO and Jt. MD for Welspun India noted the importance of ethics and sustainability for an organization. 'Businesses are not just businesses, but agencies of change'. She added that balance was important across the field - in identifying consumer requirements and meeting them with innovation. She said that pregnancy should not mean a death-knell for women. Stepping into the business world after a long stint as a homemaker, she also advised those returning to the corporate world to 'roll up your sleeves and be ready to learn.'
Srinath Ravichandran from Agnikul Cosmos said that although tech startups have benefited tremendously from college interns, and project ends, there are notable disadvantages. 'Exemplary talent still feels like going to MIT and Silicon Valley is a better option than staying and building hardware in India. We have to make Indian hardware look cool.'
Content creators with over 1.23 million subscribers, Abhi & Niyu, spoke about the evolution of content creation in a social-media driven world, and the significant impact it made during the COVID-19 lockdown.
'Don't believe in trends. Don't wait for trends or anything. Just adapt to what is happening. Just stay motivated to create content that you truly believe in.'
Adding to this, Viraj Sheth, CEO and Co-Founder of Monk Entertainment, noted, 'don't just ask for feedback when you have posted only one video. You have to be patient and put in hard work to create content and create content that you vibe with.'