The Inaugural Program of the 2nd Cohort of the Startup School @ AIC-SMUTBI supported by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI AAYOG, Government of India and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was held virtually on 23rd June 2021. The Startup School @AIC-SMUTBI comprises 20 Startups from North East India. The key objective of the program is to help Startups understand and identify key risks in their venture and guide them to create sustainable businesses.
The welcome note was delivered by Dr Tej Chingtham, CEO of AIC-SMUTBI. He shared statistics of the three-year-old Incubation Centre and to date, AIC-SMUTBI has incubated 40+ Start-Ups, generated a revenue of more than 15 Crore in INR and has created nearly 117 job opportunities.
The first keynote speaker was Mr Amit Choudhury, Co-Founder of Lenskart, he launched the first Newsletter of AIC-SMUTBI titled ‘Calm in Chaos’. He commended AIC-SMUTBI’s contribution of entrepreneurial support to the youth of the region and emphasized why the youth should choose to solve the problems they see around themselves and dive deep to find solutions that impact a larger section of the society.
Mr Arunachalam Muruganatham, Social Entrepreneur who is also known as the Original Pad Man addressed the audience with the narration of his journey of making sanitary napkins. He mentioned the criticisms he faced from his peers, the time taken by his society to realise and accept his initiative as a necessity, and the revolution that followed. Mr Muruganatham highlighted the most crucial factor for an entrepreneur is to have a mindset to serve society and make a social impact.
Mr Anjani Bansal, Director and Private Sector Partnerships Lead, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conveyed the importance of productivity and scale, he threw light on how Startup founders should keep learning from the feedback they receive. He also mentioned the various trajectories a founder experience during his/ her entrepreneurial journey and having the courage to think out of the box.
Likewise, Mr Anish Somani, Innovation Lead, AIM, NITI Aayog, emphasized receiving feedbacks and why it should be given the topmost priority in any Startup. He also iterated the solutions being developed in the North East, having a worldwide demand. Furthermore, Ms Ishita Agrawal, Program Director at AIM, NITI AAYOG commended and congratulated the Startups and extended support from AIM, NITI AAYOG.
Lastly, Mr Naved Ahmed from Wadhwani Foundation expressed how a Startup is based upon 1% Idea and 99% Execution and the importance of persistence. The event concluded with a Vote of Thanks from the Incubation Manager, Ms Abigail George Lama.