The Lifestyle Portal has just come back from a fantastic start-up summit conducted by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in Pune.
It was a matter of honour and pride to be a part of this start-up summit in its Pune chapter. The venue was set at the Westin Hotel, in Koregaon Park and the turn out of start-up entrepreneurs was pleasantly overwhelming.
As the founder of The Lifestyle Portal I firmly believe that we have to build a strong eco-system for one another and that’s why I have spent over five years in writing about, featuring and listing entrepreneurs on our website.
When asked about my e-publishing house, I explained my belief that every company – big, medium or small needs a human connect. It is imperative to put a face to the brand and to the customer to form a long-term and a sustainable business relationship because at the end of the day, we all need each other.
I had been invited by the IAMAI to talk about “Women Entrepreneurs: Breaking the prejudice of Traditional Businesses” where I shared the podium with Vishakha Singh Founder, RedPolka.com, Ankita Jp Shroff CEO and Director, SAV Chemicals Pvt Ltd & Associate Director Shroff Group and Anjusha Chaughule, a Social Activist, Producer, Actor and Writer.
The entire summit was conducted by the very talented Kiruba Shankar, CEO, Business Blogging & Founder Director, F5ive Technologies.
There was an impressive lineup of speakers at the event; starting with Vineeta Dixit (Public Policy and Government Relation, Google India) who talked about the GST Law, how it impacts us, and the businesses in the country. She mentioned how the network of start-ups need support from other start ups through open platforms and how Google Developer Network can come into play.
She also talked about the Google Developer Group (GDG) which is a fantastic support group to help start-ups and co-sharing spaces and mentioned how Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Pune have joined the list of upcoming start-up hubs in the country, with Pune boasting of one of the best co-sharing spaces after Bangalore.
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Aseem Srivastav, (Member, Pune Angels) – he said, “Your destiny depends on your perception and beliefs. You create your thoughts, which in turn create your destiny.” He said if you believe in survival of the fittest, or in the ‘what and how’ approach, they’re all narrow ways of looking into things. He urged us to go deeper by into the ‘why’, because if the purpose is not deep enough we cannot create something new.
He also added, “Find a right purpose, a passion and look into a business to make it profitable. So put your heart and soul into the task and not look for valuation.” He stressed on the aspects of the Right Purpose – with the Right Attitude and the Right Mindset is imperative to form a happy an a joyous workplace.
Assem further stressed the fact that we should be sincere in creating a business for profit rather than for funding. Don’t have a shallow mindset he cautioned the young entrepreneurs.
Get your first 100 customers and then begin from there added Vineeta.
The opening session was then followed by a talk by M S Ananth (Head – Regulatory, Nishith Desai Associates) on Awareness Session on “GST and its impact on Startup Businesses” – this was a fantastic eye opener for all new entrepreneurs and start ups as to how the GST taxation will impact us. He drew a parallel with the famous Hollywood film Star Wars Phantom Menace which was based on taxation and how both the Indian and American independence was related to the taxes imposed.
He explained to us in detail what GST is – he said there are two kinds of taxes – central government tax levied on sale of goods and services and a state tax.
The GST he explained proposes to do away with multiplicity and duplicity of taxes. He even mentioned that as an individual or an industry we can always reach out to the Ministry of Finance to share our views as to how the GST can affect your business. Ananth further added, “Any representation can be made before next year so that the government will have the necessary infrastructure in place.”
Taxes he explained affect both the rich and poor. The high cost ultimately affects the consumer and the GST will take away the load and will also take into considering of the input credit.
He also mentioned, “E-commerce is a 10-15 year old concept and GST on e-commerce has never been done before. This revolutionary taxation mechanism and businesses needs to be aware on how it gets affected.”
Another discussion that I thoroughly enjoyed was on “TechStartups : Challenges and the Future”, led by Anurav Rane, Founder and CEO, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com and Abhimanyu Bhosale Co Founder & CEO, Livehealth. They shared their journeys of how they launched their respective companies and also tips on launching a successful start-up.
While Anurav added, “Have a good team who are equally passionate about your goals and make sure you prioritise and develop processes asap”, Abhimanyu stressed on how, “It is important to understand what business plan you want to follow and the importance of having a sustainable way to make a living. Also learn to compartmentalise your day.”
We also had an enjoyable session with Vivek Bhargava, CEO, iProspect who said, “You can always bounce back. Work hard to get better in life. Just talent is not enough. Lead a balanced life for yourself first rather than anyone else.”
Our session on Women Empowerment was truly enlightening one. The women founders stressed on the need for policies and awareness of women professionals in the workforce. I stressed on the need for crèche and other support system for a woman employee at her professional space so that she too can deliver her 100% if she’s taken care of by her employer. I’m hopeful that the start-ups of today who are going to be the future generation of companies of tomorrow will include such facilities as a part of their policies.
Over the past five years, The Lifestyle Portal is proud to have featured over a 120 entrepreneurs across various fields out of which 87 are women. And what I liked most of these women are how they’ve found their calling in the midst of domesticity and family life irrespective of where they lived, how old they were and how much money they had in their pocket.
Other interesting sessions that we had during the day was on Expert Talk on UI/UX : “Strategic importance of design for startups and how to build design-centric startup” by Shrikant Ekbote, Design Principal, Barclays Technology Centre India.
He couldn’t stress enough why designs are so important for start-ups. For design you have an idea, the customer experiences your design. Your designs can reflect on websites and social media which is your first touch point.
Shrikant spoke about Applied Design Thinking and how people are designing services and the boundaries are expanding. More than delivering a product, it is a service and the value of the service and how you can deliver an experience – just like Uber and Starbucks he explained.
He also spoke about Innovation Technique – as to how to systemise the process of innovation and design. The formula is simple – Think – Make – Check – and it is a continuous ongoing process.
Design Thinking is important as it helps you empathise with the users, prototyping and taking a feedback. This is a mindset approach, a human centred innovation and at times people miss out on the human element in a business.
We also had interesting session in a Fireside Chat on “Media, Entertainment & Gaming : What future holds for Startups?” with Nishith Takia, Co-founder, Bioscopewala Pictures, LLP and Prasad Kajarekar Co-founder, GameEon (the youngest CEO in the summit, age 23!)
While Nishith gave a brilliant tip that one should tie-up with someone who knows the business and having a good team and financial stability is a must for any start-up. When someone asked him on how to keep a team loyal, “Trust is a major factor,” replied Nishith. He further added, “Stand by your team and work towards a common goal is vital.”
Nishith believes in empowering people and stressed on making as many mistakes as you can as you cannot predict the future, but follow your heart. “To enter the animation industry it is not easy, payments are an issue, so passion is important. If your vision is clear why you’re here then you’ll never complain,” adds Nishith.
He further advises that you must have the money to sustain delays in payments and salaries. You need passion, belief and also very important to know ‘what you DON’T’ know.
One of the most important lessons he says is failure – luck may wear out, but your business acumen can pull you through and you should work for other people before you can start on your own.
The #iamaistartup summit in Pune was a brilliant learning experience for all of us – we exchanged new ideas, themes and concepts and made new connections. The Lifestyle Portal is keen to look forward to more such learning – networking summits.
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