Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2011
Riding on the huge success of GES 2010, this year the summit took upon the challenge that the country faces as it steps into the next decade. In the light of depleting resources, recession in the global markets and the need of social change along with corporate success, the summit with the theme “Empowering the next Billion” sought to find answers to problems hitherto unanswered and usher in a new era of grassroots innovation and empowerment of the masses.
In Mandarin, the words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are the same. And the true entrepreneur is he who sees opportunity in the distress of others. GES 2011 brought to the fore these “social entrepreneurs”, who could have made a great deal of money had they stuck to a normal venture, but instead sought to make a social impact through their actions, taking entrepreneurship where it is truly needed, in the heart of the masses. GES 2011 featured guest lectures, panel discussions and workshops with a special focus on making change at the bottom of the pyramid.
The keynote address at the inauguration ceremony was delivered by Mr. Irfan Alam, Founder, Sammaan Foundation and the contemporary face of Social Entrepreneurship in India, giving life to the theme of GES 2011. His organization has been working for the plight of the rikshaw-pullers in Patna by modifying the rikshaw design to have more space for commercially viable advertizing while sharing the profits with them, changing the lives of thousands of rikshaw pullers. Other imminent guest speakers present at the summit were Mr. Amit Raje, IIT Bombay alumnus and a second generation entrepreneur, currently the Managing Director of Aartech Solonics; Mr. Asok Dasgupta of India Energy Forum, who provided insights on Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Clean Technology and Mr. Narsimhan Santhanam of Energy Alternatives India (EAI).
We believe that a dispersion of ideas globally shall help refine each others' ecosystem, by learning from each others' experiences. Hence with the aim to provide a platform where promotion of entrepreneurship could be discussed with a global perspective, the second edition of the Global Conference on Entrepreneurship was held during GES 2011. Panelists included Prof. Erik Noyes from Babson College, Boston University and Prof. Shailendra Vyakarnam from the University of Cambridge. The conference served as a conclave for discussion of opportunities and programs aimed towards promoting entrepreneurship in various universities across the world. This was followed by the E-Cell conference which saw an active participation of student leaders from entrepreneurship cells from various institutes across the country. It provided a perfect symposium where ideas discussed could act as the catalyst to accelerate the entrepreneurial activities, at the university level, within the nation and beyond.
One of the key attractions during the GES was the Startup Camp, a daylong meet-up of path-breaking new ventures, students and venture capitalists. It provided startups an opportunity to raise seed capital or venture fund by pitching their ideas to the various VCs and angels present as well as hire interns from among the students. The students on the other hand, got an opportunity to pitch their skills before the startups and earn themselves an internship with a difference. Some of the startups present included Batoi, hover.in, Trusanga, ONergy, hungryzone.com, Chocojaadu, Mobme, Baziinga, mLurn, NextBit Computing and Capricorn Lifstyl. The best startups and finalists of our business plan competitions were given a special opportunity to pitch in front of our VC panel, in the popular format of the elevator pitch.
The impact of this initiative can be gauged by the fact that one of the startups, Capricorn LifStyl successfully raised seed funding of over 30 lakhs via one of our funding partners, Seeders present at the summit.
Interactive Workshops by Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Ahmadabad on ‘Social entrepreneurship’; Purple Talk and Fox and Mandal on ‘Intellectual Property Laws and Patents’ went beyond the traditional guest lectures to get into the micro-details of building an enterprise from scratch. Panel discussions on ‘Empowering the Next Billion’ and ‘Profit vs Social Responsibility’ saw ideas and viewpoints come to crossroads as opportunities for growth at the bottom of the pyramid came to the fore. A display of simple but disruptive innovations by innovators at the grassroots was put up on the second day of the summit as a part of the Rural Innovations Exhibition.
The final rounds of the five International Competitions: Concipio (B-Plan Competition), Envision (Product Design Competition), Eclairez (Social Entrepreneurship Challenge), Negocio (Web and Mobile Application based Competition) and Cleantech Challenge took place during the summit. Mr. Nalin Gupta, with the product of ‘Electrostatic Smoke Precipitator’ was the proud winner of both Concipio and Envision.
A week prior to the summit a freshers’ event Bizturkz was organized to give the freshers a general overview of the summit. The quiz contest saw a massive participation from the first year students where a large number of goodies were distributed. Four teams went on to compete in the final round in which they had to sell official GES merchandize. The team using innovative marketing skills to make the maximum sales won. During the summit on-spot events like TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) and Tag ‘em ol were organized. In TGIF, the participants had to submit a business idea from which 10 ideas were shortlisted and people invested virtual money in those ideas. Tag ‘em ol tested the branding skills of the participants as they connected just 3 tags to form a logo and tagline for a new company.
Finally, the curtains were drawn on this memorable summit by our very own IITKGP alumnus and IIMA graduate, Mr. Shankar Maruwada, Co-Founder of Marketics, one of India’s largest providers of Marketing Analytics services. He is currently on the board of the visionary UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), a project by the Indian government to give every Indian citizen a unique ID.
Team E-Cell feels proud to organize such a learning experience. But we cannot possibly take all the credit for it. We would like to thank all our enthusiastic participants who come from every corner of the country. Your participation keeps our spirits alive. We extend our gratitude our guests and sponsors without whom Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2011 would not have been possible.
Although these three days of inspiration, ideation and illumination seem too good to be true, the next edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit promises to be bigger, more diverse and if possible, even more memorable ! With “Innovation-The Creators of Tomorrow” as its theme, it epitomizes the power of innovation and disruptive growth. So if you think you are the next Steve Jobs in the making, come be a part of the revolution at www.ges.ecell-iitkgp.org!