Future entrepreneurs draw lasting inspiration

The Hindu, 27/9/10



TEDxTrichy conducted by the Entrepreneurship Cell of NIT-Trichy, truly turned out to be a melting pot of ideas and innovation.

Conduct of TEDx Trichy (x signifying independently organised event) was a milestone for the Entrepreneurship cell of National Institute of Technology – Trichy (NIT-T), recently.

Twelve talks by eminent personalities for an entire day laid the right foundation for future entrepreneurs comprising students of various colleges from Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Bangalore to invest confidence and determination as well to emerge successful in their future ventures.

TEDxTrichy, operated under a licence from TED (an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design), founded by the Saplings Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to the motto: Ideas Worth Spreading, had the theme: ‘Road not taken’, the poem of Robert Frost that immortalised the man who took the road less travelled. And the programme did re-create the unique experience found at TED, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers congregate to passionately share ideas.

For the participants, it was an occasion for intellectual and emotional fulfilment what with the roster of TED presenters including scientists, politicians, activists, and the unknown real stars. The eminent personalities who graced TEDxTrichy with their talks included Anshu Gupta, the founder director of the voluntary organisation Goonj and winner of Ashoka Fellowship award; Subramanium Vincent, co-founder of India Together and Oorvani; J Balamurugan, managing director of Next Gen Communications; John Lewis, often known as the memory wizard for holding several national records on memory challenge games; R.M.P Jawahar, executive director of TREC-STEP and former president of ISBA (Indian STEPS & Business Incubators Association); Nitin Gupta, founder and CEO of Entertainment India; Vivek Karwa, Financial Planner and CEO of Vridhi; Balaji Sampath, a professional revolutionising the current educational system; Karthik Kumar and Sunil, Director of Evam Entertainment Limited; Saravanan, the founder and CEO of Qwkmap; Mani Chinnaswamy, managing director of Appachi Cotton Company.

So why did the Entrepreneurship Cell of NIT-Trichy decide to hold a TEDx? Neileshwar Nair, vice-president of the E-Cell says: “Looking to create and spread a general awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship, and eager to take Genesis (an Innovation Entrepreneurship Meet) to a higher rung, we found a one-in-all solution, and that was TEDxTrichy.”

Divided into three sessions, TEDxTrichy followed the general guidelines of the acclaimed TEDtalks, where each talk is no more than 18 minutes, short enough to be of interest to the viewer, and long enough for the exchange of ideas. The first session was started by Subramanium Vincent who explained the importance of voicing public opinion on day-to-day matters. He highlighted the impact in-depth journalism can have in moulding our everyday life, and what we, as citizens, could do to overcome the problems in our city. RMP Jawahar, the winner of the International Champion of Business Incubation Award 2006 by UK Business Incubation Association, gave valuable tips on entrepreneurship and start-ups.

The crowd was fascinated by the Grand Master of Memory, John Louis who demonstrated his memory skills by memorising a pack of 52 cards in less than a minute, and by recalling a 100-digit number that was read out to him. He is also astoundingly accurate as a human calendar and a mental calculator.

The last speaker of the session, Anshu Gupta’s talk was about his start-up, Goonj, which targets at enhancing the plight of women in rural India. A brave and sympathetic speaker, Mr. Gupta highlighted how these women could be helped.

The event turned into an energetic one in the second session, under Karthik and Sunil who entertained the crowd with their vigour and enthusiasm. They were an inspiring duo, both young and vibrant, ready to take on any challenge that traversed the path of their dream venture, Evam Entertainment. Further, Karthik Kumar who has also made a mark in the celluloid world through his roles in numerous Tamil films was a huge hit among the audience.

The next speaker, Vivek Karwa gave ace tips about stock markets, and showed the participants that stock markets could be fun too. Balaji Sampath spoke on how his venture Eureka Kidz, a primary education programme, transformed the lives of thousands of young minds all over the country. His inspiring speech on mentoring kids drew enormous applause from the audience.

The third Session was opened by Saravanan, who although a civil engineer by education, takes profound interest in neuroscience. His talk was illuminating explaining the complexities of the human brain. J Balamurugan, director of Spitfire Motorsprots, spoke on motorsports and rallies organised in different parts of the country by his company. Mani Chinaswamy spoke about the hardship he faced in starting up his venture and the help Appachi CARE foundation renders to farmers in acquiring loans.

Several informational TEDtalk videos such as those of Simon Sinek, David Gallo, Johnny Lee and Arthur Benjamin were screened. The day ended on a light note with Nitin Gupta’s satirical talk on the life of engineering students. Hilarious, witty and faintly satirical, he won over the audience and had them in splits.

E-Cell will soon be organising its flagship annual event, Ventura, an international business plan contest. Ventura is set to be the biggest B-plan contest in Asia, with prize money over Rs. 7 lakh, and incubation funding worth Rs. 1.5 crore. Its main sponsors are the Department of Science n Technology, Government of India and TREC STEP.

Interested students can visit the site http://www.ecell-nitt.org.

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