Entrepreneurs share their insightful journeys with students as IIT Kanpur hosts E-Summit’22

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Kanpur : The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur hosted the 11th edition of the annual entrepreneurial event – E-SUMMIT’22 from 13-15 January, 2023, amidst an august gathering of leading entrepreneurs. The inaugural ceremony had Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur, highlighting the institute’s entrepreneurial journey and significance of organizing the event. It was followed by a keynote address by Chief Guest Padma Shri BVR Mohan Reddy, Founder Chairman & Board Member-Cyient and former Chairman, NASSCOM.

In his keynote address, Dr. Reddy talked about his initial phase as an entrepreneur and the challenges. He drew parallel to the entrepreneurial ecosystem back in the 90s and how it has evolved in great measure to reach to today’s level. Dr. Reddy’s address was followed by a panel discussion where Mr. Rajiv Batra, Founder Palo Alto Networks; and Mr. Sanjiv Rangrass, Independent Director Zetwerk & former Group Head, ITC joined him, along with Mr. Ravi Purohit, Vice President & India Head at ColorTokens as the chair for the session. The topic for the panel discussion was “The Decade of Avant-Garde Innovation”.

The panel discussion brought into context the innovations of the decade and the future of the entrepreneurial world. The discussion was primarily focused on the logistics of building a startup from the ground up. The panelists talked about the value of company culture and focus on specialization in key areas. Mr. Sanjiv Rangrass stressed upon the significance of agri-business in today’s time and how it is changing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The panelists also reminisced about their own entrepreneurial journeys and what challenges they had to face in their time as an entrepreneur trying to make it happen. The panelists, however, echoed in unison the idea that the 21st century will be “the Indian century”, as India’s demographic dividend and increase in manufacturing and sustainability solutions will lead to the nation’s exponential growth in the foreseeable future.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur, said, “We’re delighted to host the 11th edition of our E-Summit’22 with a host of dignitaries who have led the way with their inspiring entrepreneurial ventures. At IIT Kanpur, we already have a very strong ecosystem of incubation and innovation, with our incubator (SIIC) currently having over 150+ incubated startups. Our startups cater to diverse sectors and are growing significantly. With that in mind, I hope that the successful conduction of E-Summit’22 would help our students and the other participants inculcate an entrepreneurial spirit quintessential in today’s fast-changing world.”

On the second day, Ms. Shweta Bajpai, Vertical Head – Finserv, Media, Travel, Meta India, gave a keynote address on “Renaissance of Tech Rise of Metaverse”. The talk focused on how the metaverse is about to change the day-to-day life and make many things possible from the comfort of home, like experiencing a music concert virtually by sitting at home. The virtual gaming space will be one to watch out for as the technology evolves, allowing more and more immersion while gaming. The future of office workspaces also seems to lie in the virtual world as the number of corporates looking to move towards a hybrid cum work-from-home model spikes higher by the day.

A Startup Expo was organized as part of the event, where several startups from diverse areas showcased their next-gen products. The Expo was inaugurated by Mr. Rishabh Jain, Co-Founder & Director, Kataria Ecotech Pvt Ltd. The startup Boltly launched their novel e-bike on the Expo stage. IIT Kanpur-incubated startup E-Spin Nanotech showcased their nanotechnology-based innovations including a novel hand wash, while another incubated startup Likhotronics showcased their revolutionary writing kit for children. Several other startups from SIIC, IIT Kanpur ecosystem as well as from outside participated in the Expo.

The grand finale of the UpStart business model competition was held on the third day, where the selected startups showcased their innovative ideas. The results for the competition is yet to announce. Former Co-founder & MD of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover, was the Chief Guest for the Closing Ceremony, where he interacted with the students.

The Summit saw the brightest minds competing against each other to prove their mettle and learn ways to secure funding opportunities. Workshops, talk sessions, and Industrialists Conclave were hosted amidst great participation from students and aspiring entrepreneurs. Competitions such as ‘Be an Angel’, ‘Decrypt’, ‘Sell your Sole’, ‘Pitchers’, ‘Stock the Stock’, also gave the event an exciting momentum.