BRICS Chamber of Commerce & Industry in association with Start-Up India, a government of India initiative and Rising Bharat, a platform to encourage the Start up eco system in India through mentor ship and funding, organised the first BRICS CCI Startup series event. The event commenced on February 5, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency,New Delhi.
With an aim to support and encourage young entrepreneurs, the event gave an opportunity to 15 startups, to present their pitches to an esteemed jury. The brain child of the BRICS CCI Vice Chairman Mr. Sameep Shastri, the final start ups were selected from a pool of more than 250 start ups, who sent their pitches to the Chamber.
The panel of jury included Sameep Shastri (Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI), Avi Mittal, (CEO & MD, Golden Ace Ventures), Akshay Aggarwal, (Founder, Kafila Forge), Bibin Babu (Board Member, Innowork, BlocSpaze, Payiza,) Dhruv Khanna, (Co-Founder, Triton Foodworks), Pratham Mittal (Founder, Neta App), Dr. Vinay Agrawal (Chancellor, ISBM University), Ruhail Ranjan (MD, Chandrika Power) and Aditi Banerjee (Co-Founder & CEO, Magic Billion).
Dr Neha Prakash (IAS), Special Secretary, IT & Electronics, Govt. Of UP, Mr Sameep Shastri, BRICS CCI Vice Chairman, Dr BBL Madhukar, BRICS CCI DG, Mr Ashok Kumar Singh and Mr. Jitin Bhasin, CEO Savein, and Mr. Rana Sarkar joined as distinguished guests and esteemed speakers.
As part of the startup series, BRICS undertook a three-month process to identify budding startups, which had novel ideas and drive to lead a change, but required the investment, exposure and an added push for them to continue in their endeavour, lead innovations and pave the path towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Speaking about the vision of the program and how it gradually evolved, Sameep Shastri, Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI, told NewsX, “The initial thought-process since 2016, as our honourable prime minister has pushing towards startup, Atmanirbhar Bharat, is an ideology that we have been following. Being a young country, we have the mind; we have the jugaad, the innovating mind. It was just the right platform that was missing. What we are trying to do here is get the successfully settled young entrepreneurs who are in the top list of Forbes, they are all part of the chamber now and they are not just ready to put in the funds but mentor the upcoming innovations and startups. This is what the idea behind this is. We have tied up with one of my other initiatives, which is Rising Bharat, where we took it to tier 2 and tier 3 cities and funded more than 700 startups. I have continuously been associated with the startup community and what we have realised is mentoring is very important. Financial funding is something that everyone is able to acquire but right kind of mentorship with the right kind of team is missing. This was the gap that we identified and this is how the entire program evolved. In future, we would like to have at least four more rounds in 2021. As in, India is chairing BRICS this year so we are planning to make the best of it and give it the right platform, a global platform.”
Ms Neha Prakash, (IAS), Special Secretary, IT & Electronics, Govt. Of UP, who joined the panel as a distinguished guest, expressed, “First of all, I would like to congratulate BRICS CCI for providing us this platform to connect with the potential startups and entrepreneurs and to connect them with the potential investors. This is a very noble vision. India is very conducive to the growth of startups because of our demographic, open economic culture and the psyche of jugaad, i.e the impromptu innovation, which is deeply embedded in the Indian psyche. Because India provides this potential for the growth of startups, it is with this vision that BRICS CCI has organised this event to bring us all together and to further promote and nurture the budding entrepreneurs.”
When asked about his experience as one of the jury members, Ruhail Ranjan, MD, Chandrika Power, said, “With the vision of our honourable PM Shri Modi ji, the startups are really moving out. In 2014, the environment was not so conducive. Now, he has given us a few rules, which are very easy on startups. I am really looking forward to the next few years, which is going to a very good growth story for India. With these startups, we are really looking to handhold them and mentor them. They have good ideas but they need mentoring. When we started, we had no mentoring, nobody to go to, no knowledge about where to get money from, market was struggle. We really want them to focus on growth rather than struggle. We really want to incubate them and take them forward.”
Dr Vinay Aggarwal, Chancellor, ISBM University, further, shared, “Entrepreneurs like these are young minds. I always say that they are like damp clay. The way we shape it, the way we mentor them will help them to nurture themselves and their businesses. These people coming out of nowhere, having creative minds and beautiful ideas, can be nurtured and mentored in a way that it can grow up to a multi-billion dollar organisation. For that, we heard many pitches today and made many investment commitments. It was wonderful. The overall experience was superb. This is just the start and we will have many more events like these where young entrepreneurs can come and pitch their ideas.”
Mr. Jitin Bhasin, CEO Savein, emphasised on the need of proper mentorship to the budding entrepreneurs as equally important as fund raising. He also congratulated the Chamber for its initiative.