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PGPEM students at IIMB host ‘The Relentless Entrepreneur’ to highlight the spirit and struggles of start-ups

Shark Tank India Season 1 participants share their journeys with students of management

25 September 2022: ‘The Relentless Entrepreneur’, a meet hosted by the students of the Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM) at IIM Bangalore, as part of their ‘Industry Connect’ series, saw an engaging exchange of ideas between participants of Season 1 of Shark Tank India and students of management.

The discussions were moderated by Shruti Reddy, Founder and Director of Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Limited. “Entrepreneurship is a journey against all odds. It is not a career, but a mindset and a way of life. If you surround yourself with people who share the same mindset, you will not need to have a billion-dollar business or be the next Elon Musk to experience this entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.

‘Burn, Churn & Stick’

Co-Moderator Avik Munshi posed questions to contestants Pratik Gadia, Founder and CEO of The Yarn Bazaar; Sandeep Acharya, Co-Founder and Director of AyuRythm; Sarit Prajna Sahu, Co-Founder of napEazy; Vidushi Vijayvergiya, Co-Founder of ISAK Fragrances; Kirty Datar, Co-Founder of Canebot, and Pankaj Khabiya, Founder and MD of Ethik, on what makes them ‘Burn, Churn and Stick’. The speakers were also asked if entrepreneurs are born or created, or if they are they just over-optimistic risk takers. 

“For every entrepreneur, the early days are fairly difficult. I took the plunge because I believed in my product completely,” responded Pankaj Khabiya. Sandeep Acharya, who said he traded a high-paying job to start-up on his own, remarked that it was passion that drove him to make the decision. Sarit Prajna Sahu said she thinks of herself as an “intrapreneur than an entrepreneur”. She said that though her product did not win public feedback when launched (“It was the pandemic and travel was banned”), she remained focused on the positives and stayed committed to her vision. 

Kirty Datar, who moved from IT to developing a perishable product like sugarcane juice in the FMCG sector, said: “The ‘Why’ of your decision is the first thing that you need to figure out”. She believes that having a clear purpose was her “north star” and listing all things important in relation to her core values helped her along her entrepreneurial journey. “I defined a purpose --which was to positively impact the health of my consumers, elevate the socio-economic condition of farmers and generate wealth for people with me on my journey,” she said. “Rome cannot be built in a day, even in this fast-paced 21st century! It is important to realize that the gestation period is utilized to build your foundation because the stronger the foundation, the taller the building,” she added. 

Pratik Gadia said, “Most people look at challenges with fear when, in truth, a challenge is an opportunity. It important for a start-up to have people who have fire in the belly, gratitude in the heart and curiosity in the mind.”

When Vidushi Vijayvergia, a second-generation entrepreneur was asked about her decision to pivot, she said her discovery on changing consumer tastes and discussions on what legacy she wanted to leave behind prompted her to pivot. “Entrepreneurship is all about learning from your mistakes, so failure is a part of your journey. You learn from failure, pivot your product and move on. I believe there are no failures; there are only lessons.”

The event’s co-host, Shruti Reddy, spoke about her ‘trigger point’. “People told me I was too early for the industry on funeral services, but why not be the early mover? Being a woman entrepreneur, in this segment, was also a challenge. People were skeptical when I handed out my visiting card. There was some superstition around discussions on death. But when I see the progress we have made since those early days, I am all fired up!”

The event did indeed call attention to the spirit and struggles of entrepreneurs in the country.