In Gujarat, “entrepreneurship” is revered almost like a religion.
And, successful entrepreneurs are worshipped no less than gods. Literally. Just when Jasuben Pizza, whose success went viral as a star women entrepreneur after Chief Minister Narendra Modi applauded her entrepreneurial acumen in Delhi, thousands of women entrepreneurs back in the State were also patting themselves on their backs. This is the land where entrepreneurs have made their own fortunes with sheer hard work and dedication. The inherent spirit of adventure and the huge appetite for risk have led the Gujaratis to phenomenal success in their businesses. On 23rd September 2017, we had our 8th Khoj Event at Ahmedabad in GTU. The event was organized by Z Nation Lab, in association with Gujarat Technical University. We invited start-ups from Gujarat to apply for the one-day event and each participant got an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with mentors and investors from Z Nation Lab.
The conference hall at Gujarat Technical University in Ahmedabad, where the Gujarat leg of Khoj 2017 was to be held seemed filled with enthusiasm and hope in the eyes of young entrepreneurs as the event was set to begin. Bright, young and adept minds with colossal ambitions along with insatiate veterans who hoped to satisfy their hunger for innovation filled the room with the right kind of positive aura. Khoj 2017 Ahmedabad, in association with Gujarat Technical University, had indeed made Ahmedabad live up to the name of ‘The Manchester of India’.
The event consisted of as many as 20 panelists and 10 speakers who addressed the attendee’s participants and put forth arguments and discussions which would help accelerate growth in the business sector as well as help scale new businesses to convert startups into successful sustainable companies. Veterans from different industries came and shared their experiences and gave their pearls of wisdom to every budding entrepreneur in the room.
The event began with the lamp lighting & welcome address by Dr.Navin Sheth – Vice Chancellor GTU followed by the speech by Hiranmay Mahanta– Director GTU Innovation Council. The opening remark was given by Mr. Anup Mehta and myself.
The event progressed as our keynote speaker, Jagat Shah – Chief Mentor at Mentor on Road took the stand to give an extremely articulate speech on the Global startup scenario.
As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there were 2-panel discussions that took place in the course of the event. The discussion was on The ecosystem for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – What do Indian start-up’s need to Grow and Prosper? with Mihir Joshi – President GVFL Fund, Pushpmitra Das – Mentor & Advisor at Z Nation Lab, Prashant Halari– CEO at Synoverge Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Jaideep Singh Sisodia – Director, Neptune Associates., Sidharth Jain – Jito angel network Screening Committee member, Neha Jain – Co-founder Z Nation Lab as the Panel.
The 2nd discussion was in the second half of the event which was on -Rise of new business models and niche opportunities – building businesses on customer-centric unit economics with Mahendra Sharma – Co-Founder & CTO MatruBharti Technologies Pvt Ltd, Hemang Desai – HR Advisor & Success Coach, Hetang Shah – Director Suryam Energy Solutions, Nikhil Suthar – Co-Founder Pixel Perfect Technologies and Pravash Dey – VC Fund India.
In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than 85 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Rahul Bhutiani – AVP at Brand Capital, Pavan Bakeri – Owner at Bakeri Engineers & Industries Ltd., Dheeraj Bhojwani – Executive Director at TiE Ahmedabad, Sidharth Jain – Director Munoth Hedge Fund, Amitsingh Gohil – VP at NRI Startup India, Ravin Sanghavi – Head Coach, Venture Studio, Anup Mehta – CoFounder Z Nation Lab, Ankit Machhar – Regional Manager, Wadhwani Foundation in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible.
Agilo was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Ahmedabad thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, Gujarat Technical University, TIE Ahmedabad, News Barons, Startup India, Startup success stories, Bhartiya startups, Yes Bank, 100 Open startups, Brand India Magazine, The Hacker Street and VC fund India.
Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.
We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors. We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have to date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in the last one year.
If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at email@example.com.