Entrepreneurship Forum of Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) organised a session on ‘Start-Ups Speak – Mantras for Success’ at VIA Hall recently.
The objective of organising the session was to motivate budding entrepreneurs of the region, as Nagpur has become a hub for start-ups, and many of them are struggling to scale up. Four innovators and entrepreneurs from the city shared their struggles and success stories with the aspiring entrepreneurs.
The speakers included Ritu Malhotra her team of ‘Ezy Spit’, who recently won the coveted CII Award for Entrepreneurship; Gaurav Sawalakhe, a serial Innovator and who has bagged several awards, including one from the Stat government, Dipak Singh of ‘Orange-n-Orange, promoting orange-based products and Leena Dixit of ‘Native Chef,’ a food portal promoting home based culinary.
Malhotra shared her story of inventing an ingenious spittoon ‘Ezy Spit’, a liquid that solidifies within ten seconds of spitting into it. Railways spends Rs 100 crore to scrub spit stains off trains. Not just the money, spitting in public is hazardous since diseases like TB can spread through it. “This concern motivated us to make this mobile
spittoon,” she said. Presently ‘Ezy Spit’ employs about 24 people. She said that success is possible only if you find a solution to real-world problems.
Sawalakhe, who has created several creative products like an anti-radiation chip for mobiles and a car that crawls on walls, said patience is a quality that in all aspiring entrepreneurs should have. Innovators must first identify their product as an innovation that answers an existing issue and as globally saleable. Your business will not thrive if there is no need for that innovation to exist. Budding start-ups should also modify their product every four-five years to keep it relevant. According to Sawalakhe, there are two types of innovation, one which is ‘saleable’ and the other which satisfies your passion. He said, he learnt it the hard way that only the saleable innovations sustained the market forces. He urged that no matter how many times you fail, you must keep trying in order to create a niche. For this, one must be patient and have belief in oneself.
Dipak Singh owns a venture ‘Orange-n-Orange’, a unique dessert outlet that sells all orange products. He said his venture has helped the farmers of Vidarbha as he focused on orange and other bi-products of oranges. According to him the mantra for success was to take calculated risks in addition to hard work. Patience is another virtue which according to him an entrepreneur must possess. He traced his journey in how he struggled in marketing his products with the Railways and how his persistence paid off and he could scale up slowly. Singh said that it is unfortunate that people of the region are not aware that there is a huge requirement of orange saplings in the citrus research institute.
Dixit, has created an online hub ‘Native Chefs’ that bring together home chefs around the city. Being a full-time working mother of two, she was constantly on-the-go. But cooking always kept her connected to her roots, with her family, and that is how the idea of connecting people with their native food struck her and she developed this platform. She believes that experience is the best teacher. She said the budding entrepreneurs must perform study the market thoroughly and accept criticism positively. Any kind of feedback will only strengthen your business and avoid loopholes. Leena through her venture has successfully managed to rope in many homemakers into her venture by providing them an avenue for self-employment. Native Chefs also aims at providing wholesome traditional food which is normally not available in the restaurants. However, one has to plan the meal in advance, unlike the restaurants where there is a quick service of food order and delivery.
Earlier, Prof Ashit Sinha, former vice-president of VIA welcomed Prashant Mohota, also a former vice-president of VIA and MD Gimatex Industries, for being honoured with ‘Outstanding Young Entrepreneur in the Textile Sector” in yarn and fabric category by Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, in presence of Smriti Irani, Union minister for textiles, at a function held in New Delhi recently.
Atul Pande, President, president VIA, welcomed Ritu Malhotra, Gaurav Sawalakhe and Dipak Singh. Akash Agrawal, chairman, VIA Entrepreneurship Forum welcomed Leena Dixit.
Pande informed about ‘Navin Project’ and said it will be beneficial for start-ups.
Agrawal in his welcome address said, India is poised to be the fastest economy in the coming years and getting jobs in any organization is getting more and more difficult. If qualified people think of starting their own enterprise, it will not only help to develop business activities but create jobs for others also.
Anita Rao, convener, VIA Entrepreneurship Forum conducted the programme and also introduced the speakers. Prof Sinha proposed a vote of thanks. Prominently present were Dr. Suhas Buddhe, and a number of industry representatives.