Prominent platform for Entrepreneurship at IIM Kashipur

 “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

As per the above saying, anyone can become an entrepreneur who understands that entrepreneurship is a very long and arduous ordeal. MBA is also considered a gateway for achieving the entrepreneur dream. Every year, thousands of students take the CAT exam in the hopes of getting into a prestigious business school and taking the most sought-after course, the MBA. These students strive hard to gain admission to a prestigious institute such as IIM, with the hope of a better future and the drive to excel. Out of thousands of applicants, only a few hundred are admitted into an IIM. Some students hope to obtain a high-paying job after enrolling in an IIM, while others seek managerial training and an environment that will allow them to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. For those who want to start their own business and embark on an entrepreneurial adventure, IIM Kashipur is the place to be.

Among all the newer IIMs, IIM Kashipur is emerging as a hub for entrepreneurial growth. The most important aspect for becoming an entrepreneur is the requirement of a unique and novel idea that demands the necessity for innovative thinking. Understanding this requirement IIM Kashipur serves as a spoke in the DIC (Design Innovation Center) community which is involved in building the thought of entrepreneurship in the young inquisitive minds. Help-Himalayan education learning program, Hum- Himalayan upliftment movement, Hill- Himalayan innovation of land to the laboratory are the innovative outreach programs introduced to enhance the culture of innovation, design thinking, and creative problem solving among the community by disseminating the knowledge in every sphere of the society.

Further, IIM Kashipur is assisting future entrepreneurs by adopting an academic program to assist future start-ups, as well as launching projects such FIED by the Entrepreneurial cell of IIM Kashipur. The Foundation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (FIED) is a project aimed at developing and improving India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. FIED is expected to incubate India’s most promising start-ups in the areas of tourism and hospitality, agriculture, art and craft, and education with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, the Government of Uttarakhand, and other supporting partners. FIED operates with the intention of being the leading incubator by 2025, with the goal of establishing India as a hotspot for entrepreneurship research, growth, and training, as well as assisting start-ups with funding and comprehensive mentoring.

FIED has successfully incubated 150+ ventures, has engaged 500+ entrepreneurs, raised 50 crores of funding, and has established a network of 100+ investors setting a stage for the budding entrepreneurs to learn and establish their dreams. It has also started two new ventures RKVY – RAFTAAR, and Drishti to promote the start-up culture in the young minds of the student fraternity. With the immense success of the very first program it undertook, RKVY RAFTAAR, FIED had a very successful start-up year. More than 350 applicants from across the country applied for the program, of which only 37 start-ups were chosen at the IIM Kashipur Campus for the two-month training program. Ultimately, 22 start-ups, up to 25 lakhs, obtained final funding from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

  • RKVY – RAFTAAR: RKVY Raftaar – There are two programs offered to start-ups under RKVY Raftaar – Sahas and Saksham, which provide an opportunity to receive funding, mentoring & help for the launch and support of commercial products. 
  • SAHAS: Sahas is mainly an Agripreneurship orientation program for startups at the pre-seed stage. The start-ups which are in the ideation stage and have their focus areas concentrated in increasing the efficiency of agriculture can apply to this program. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive 5 lakhs grant-in-aid after the successful completion of this program. The trainees who are selected for this program receive a stipend of Rs 10,000 for a period of two months. The focus areas of this program include – Sustainable inputs, Animal husbandry, Innovative food technology, Supply chain technology, Smart agriculture, Agri Fintech, Agri Biotech, Soil, water & weather technology, Farm mechanization, post-harvest technology, Fisheries, Farm fresh retail, Urban/vertical farming, ICT/IOT in agriculture. 
  • SAKSHAM: Saksham is mainly an Agripreneurship incubation program for start-ups at the seed stage. The start-ups with at least a minimum viable product/ prototype based on innovative solutions in Agri and allied sectors. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive grant-in-aid up to Rs 25 lakh after the successful completion of the program. The start-ups would also receive additional help and mentoring for the successful commercial launch of the program. The program offerings and focus areas of the program are the same as that of Sahas initiative. 
  • DRISHTI: Drishti is a start-up and incubator program by FIED for start-ups working in Edutech, Foodtech, e-commerce, and food safety. The initiative is mainly to mentor and supports the start-ups in the successful launch of the commercial products. The start-ups would also get an opportunity to connect with various investors and partners where they would be guided by industry experts on various growth strategies. The start-ups can avail of seed funding as well as an IIM certificate after successful completion of the program. 

FIED of IIM Kashipur not only imparts the zest to achieve and follow up their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur in the minds of students but also helps the entire community to nurture and foster the start-up culture. With the DIC and FIED, IIM Kashipur never fails to astound us with its steps and ventures in sculpting an entrepreneur to serve the future community.

About the author:

Deshmaa R T who is a Biotechnology engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. She is a part of various student bodies like Media and Public relations committee, Quest – The Quiz club and Team Insite – Admissions Support Body. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Story of successfully hosting Uttishtha- The Annual Entrepreneurship Summit amidst the pandemic!

What we are going to read about will be sort of a story (Fairy Tale! Nothing short of that!) of ‘The Spring in the North’! – The Spring rejoiced by young entrepreneurs, startup owners, industry experts, faculties, college and school children from across the country. Yes, we are talking about Uttishtha – The Annual Entrepreneurship Summit of IIM Kashipur – The Spring of Entrepreneurship!

Here is the story by Team E-Cell about how they managed to pull off the event amidst difficulties posed by the pandemic!

Uttishtha is the much-awaited Entrepreneurship Summit which has an objective of revolutionizing how people view entrepreneurship and create an indelible impact in the entire startup ecosystem of the country and beyond!

The restrictions imposed on us due to COVID-19 and taking into consideration the safety of all the stakeholders of the event, we were forced to organize an event of such high magnitude on a virtual platform, which in turn meant restructuring of the entire Summit.

We, the entire E-Cell Team, decided to break the entire summit into small tasks and decided to go about the event in a phased manner. Subsequently we divided the entire summit into 3 phases, namely, the planning stage, the preparation stage and the summit!

So, we divided the team according to the preferences and expertise of the members and set off on our Voyage of “Making Entrepreneurship Bloom”!

The Planning Stage:

We all knew that Uttishtha’21 was going to be a completely new experience for all the stakeholders and we precisely knew that to create maximum value for everyone we had to restructure the entire summit upside down and planning or ‘Out of the Box’ sessions, we used to call them, were going to be the most important element of the entire summit!

The Importance of a Business Plan for MSMEs - AREAFENCING

In Uttishtha’21, as we were revamping almost everything, we decided to go beyond the mainstream in everything we were doing! While deciding the theme of the event, our thought process was to keep a theme that portrayed new beginnings, asked people to get rid of their winter blues (COVID blues!) and focus on embarking on the journey of 5R, namely, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Resurrection, Renewal and Regrowth! So, with a decision to keep the whole Summit light and bright, we decided to keep the Theme – “Spring”, or the “Spring of Entrepreneurship”, more holistically!

We believe, the first major challenge that came towards our way in the planning stage was in the form of event crafting and flow mapping! We knew, that events of last year needed a major revamp, if we were to create the Summit engaging and create value for the people involved! Last year Uttishtha, had events like Startup Exhibitions, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and Expo, which could not be conducted online given the nature of the events. So, we needed to come up with events which could fill the space of these events and so we started brainstorming on the needs and wants of all the stakeholders and subsequently came up with new events such as Not Clubhouse – focused panel discussion sessions, firechat conversation – a dialogue between experts from completely different areas, co-founder dating – a virtual internship fair for students across the country, among others! The molding of events according to the theme of the summit and requirements of the stakeholder involved, was a fun-filled experience!

We believe, ‘Uttishtha’ is an epitome of collaborative effort and it sees contribution and cooperation from each and every member of the IIM Kashipur community. After the planning of events and identifying the work areas, it was very important for us to gather support from the community and form an enthusiastic team comprising people who were motivated enough to work on the event diligently. Given the lack of physical interaction with the people involved, in a virtual setting, it was a bit difficult to find the real potential of the applicants. But after due process, we were lucky enough to have found a team, where members were on their toes to make the best out of the opportunity provided. Given the virtual nature of the event, the division of the functional teams had to be revamped where traditional functional teams such as arrangement teams, People management team and promotions team among others had to be dropped off the chart and made way for new teams such as virtual platform team, Audience engagement team and social media team among others.

The Preparation Stage:

Uttishtha’21 being virtual posed a lot of challenges in the execution of ideas, but along with the challenges involved, it also provided us with a lot of opportunities with respect to the extended reach of the event.

Challenges |

The main challenge that the team had to endure while executing the plans was the possibility of miscommunication at times due to lack of physical interaction leading to redundancy of work. Also, too much follow up on the tasks slowed down the process of execution of plans. Although these were challenges which were natural to come in a virtual setting, the dedicated and mindful work of different functional teams ensured smooth operations throughout.

The teams working on onboarding industry experts, dignitaries, speakers, startup founders, school administrators and students had a large pool of people to target given that there was no need to look after travel and lodging arrangements of the guests and with the click of a button experts could join the sessions. This not only allowed us to reach out to people beyond boundaries, but also opened wide range of opportunities for the teams to reach out to people of high stature. One approach that stand out during the whole process was the use of quirky tweet threads on twitter to reach out to people. The choice of this unconventional way led to us having onboarded a lot of good speakers and industry experts.

One of the tasks, that took substantial amount of our time was choosing an ideal virtual platform for the Summit. It proved to be an exhaustive process, given we had certain criteria such as neat user interface (UI), easy accessibility and usability, and comprehensiveness with respect to functions among others in our mind.  We tried out nearly 12 virtual event platforms before narrowing down on “Airmeet” for conducting the Summit, which we believe served our purpose well.

The digital media team had a humongous task in hand, given they were responsible for creating all the buzz around the event and getting the word across boundaries. They came up with innovative ideas to promote the event to the best of their abilities. With the support from Media and Public Relations Committee (MPRC), the team was able to forge meaningful partnerships with various media partners such as Amar Ujala, Campus Beat among others which helped the team in multi-channel promotions of the event. The digital marketing team came up with numerous creatives and took advantage of all social media opportunities (paid as well as unpaid) to promote the Summit.

The Summit (5th March – 7th March):

Team Uttishtha Meet! Date (4 March, 2021), Time: 10:00 PM! Each and every member from the entire team was there. We all had our cameras switched on! We all were from different functional teams, we all had completely different tasks assigned, but one thing common in all of us was the satisfaction we had with the level of preparedness for the summit that was going to commence next day morning. We all were pumped up and were fully motivated to make the summit a memorable one for everyone and enjoy the three-day summit to the best of our abilities.

Finally, the Spring of Entrepreneurship was here! The first day started off as a warm breeze with esteemed speakers showering their wisdom on the attendees. The first day saw the presence of dignitaries like Mr. Arun Pandey (Chairman and MD, Rhiti Sports), Subhadeep Sanyal (managing partner, Omnivore) among others. We expected that getting the speakers and attendees accustomed to a fairly new platform like ‘Airmeet’ and ensuring the smooth internet connectivity throughout the sessions were something which might play spoilsport during the events, but we are proud of our Techno-savvy team which kept technical issues at bay throughout the Summit.  

The Second and third day were going to be crucial days of the event given we had events lined up in those two days which overlapped too, the risk we had to take because of the limited time we had and plethora of events planned out! We had Clear Harvey workshop for school students, Udaan – a national level B-Plan competition, speaker sessions, panel discussions with school administrators planned out, which led to many of them overlapping. But unconsciously, the bond in the entire team and the culture passed on by our seniors helped us sail through roadblocks smoothly and conduct the events in a synchronous manner. It was great to see people taking ownership for their responsibilities and coming forward to take additional responsibilities! Last minute cancellations of few of the experts was something we always had in our mind, and we are happy that we had backups and plans to deal with those situations!

Overall, we can say that Uttishtha’21 was a roller coaster ride for each and every member of the team. Each turn had some challenge for us and we are proud and happy that we had our experienced seniors (our partners, supporters and mentors), who were not only there to show us the path but were there to handhold us through the trouble times. The support from the entire IIM Kashipur community helped us in making the event a national success!

Uttishtha’21 is indeed an epitome of collaborative effort!