AT MASHUP 2011, A Competition of Business Plans With A Difference…
“Today’s management education scenario must change by breaking the silos, thereby creating opportunities and communities that nurture a better future for people in all parts of the global economy. Having realized that, Welingkar began their journey on an untrodden path that not only Indian but universities and scholars internationally were slowly beginning think and talk about. Thus the path of ‘Design and Innovation’ was set to Redefining MBA education at WeSchool. WeSchool believes in training its students to become corporate thought leaders with global mindsets and at the same time motivates them to become daring entrepreneurs who will take on the challenges thrown up by accelerated globalization, fast changing technologies, demanding clients and unpredictable socio-economic-political situations that the future has in store. Getting that higher post or a bigger salary package cannot be the only career goals of a young management student ,he should be able to look at life that is beyond the horizon at the moment and visualize as to how he can become an employer instead of an employee. After all how many young managers will really be able to get that job offer with a salary package of one Crore?” expressed Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director –WeSchool at the inaugural function of Mashup 2011.
“Mashup 2011 is one of our initiatives to bring real entrepreneurs with an unique innovative product or service but do not know how to convert them into scalable businesses and students from business schools who have learnt all the business strategies in the book, together on one platform to create new business plans, new strategies, new dreams and visions. Mashup 2011 will create the ecosystem to strengthen their entrepreneurial spirit, enrich their business acumen and push them to the limits to kick start their businesses, and the learnings from this experience will also help us in our Rethinking of MBA process” added the management Guru.
Dr Salunkhe had a reason to smile as more than 100 entries had poured in from top business schools and innovators across the country and the campus jury had to handle this overwhelming response to shortlist the entries for the first round. The Welingkar campus was abuzz with enthusiasm, excitement and spirit of adventure with the arrival of the competing teams and a couple of ‘wild card’ entries. After the initial welcome and introductions, the ‘bidding’ began in all seriousness where each ‘Innovator’ had to bargain and outbid others to get the students’ team ‘Planners’, that he felt would do justice to his innovative idea. The mood and tone of the battle was set as the bidding progressed and culminated in the formation of teams of Planners, each lead by a young Innovator. For the teams that were left ‘Unsold’, there was a ‘Trading pit’ where aggressive bidding took place just like stock market and finally the 30 selected teams merged into 15 teams, each comprising of an Innovator & Planners.
The Brainstorm room really began to look like a corporate battleground as the teams spread out to action stations. Laptops were whipped out, discussions and arguments began, the expressions changed from quite to frowns, from excitement to despair, from confusions to relief and clarity. As things progressed, tables, flowcharts and presentations began to appear on screens that talked about innovations in creating helpline for info on public transportation system, social value through rural retail, 100% automation for irrigation for agriculture, craftsmen from nature creating sustainable solutions and such other wonderful concepts that were beginning to turn into real life business solutions and strategies. The excitement heightened with the arrival of the jury who were all successful entrepreneurs in their own rights. These included Vivek Bhargava, Founder, Communicate 2, Arvind Agrawal. CEO, Atherstone Investor Communications Limited, Revathi Roy, Founder Forshe Ladies Cab Services, Ashwin Bhadri , Head Business Relations, Equinox Lab, Sanjay Mehta, CEO of MAIA Intelligence, Sunita Singh, Director, NENonline and academies like Dr Sten Ekman, Director –Research, Malardalen University and Dr Annalil Ekman- Coach to Apoteket CEOs, Sweden .
The air was thick with creativity and innovation as the entrepreneurial spirits went soaring and culminated in the grand finale that saw the presentations of the business plans unrolling in front of the jury. Tarang Patel, a young Innovator supported by Planners Paras Kapadia, Sachin Jain and Pratik Yosar from VJTI walked away with a prize of Rs one lakh for their concept ‘Hariyali’, an innovative controller mechanism which automates the operation of an irrigation pump depending upon the availability of water as well as power. This automatic gadget avoids wastage of labor, time, water and energy and makes the life of a farmer easy in the era of resource crunches and load shedding. The detailing of the product on aspects like its retail price ,replacement warranty of 6 months, on site inspection within 2 days time in case of failure, low voltage detection, pump motor failure detection, high voltage surge protection were the indicators that drove the point home that this team meant business. And as their investment planning, marketing strategies with the study of competition were in top order; the judges had no hesitation in placing the crown of winners on their heads.
And the runner ups were Karan Vazirani of VAZ Lifestyles with Shubham Daseda, Rakshit Bapna and Manu Jain from SIBM (Bangalore), for their innovative concept of exclusive printed leather goods like wallets, Handbags, Chairs, Clutches, Key chains, Leather boots, leather Sandals, Wall hangings etc. The SWOT analysis, market research, forecast of revenue growth, marketing and promotion strategies and study of the competitors’ business models won the judges over and they bagged the prize money of Rs 50,000.The gung-ho attitude ,the grit and determination to succeed was evident in all the participating teams but what clinched the deal for the two top teams was the Die-Hard entrepreneurial spirit , passion for business (and business alone !), caring for people and planet that was exhibited by them during their presentations while discussing their strategy for long term sustainability .The judges were impressed by all but smitten by the spirit of the winning teams. The winners were felicitated at the hands of Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool who applauded their efforts.
“Statistics show that only 0.2 % of the Business Plans presented at the various B Plan competitions across the globe, see the light of the day. So we thought of making it realistic by bringing start-ups with innovative offerings together with students from various PG/ UG colleges & work on businesses of the start-ups to create scalable execution strategies” said Prof. Kaustubh. Dhargalkar- Head, Innowe – Centre for Innovation & Memetics, WeSchool & the brain behind Mashup