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“Innovest” in Your Future—A Talk About Entrepreneurship and Finance

The Indian startup industry has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past few years, emerging as the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world after the USA and China. Startups pave the way towards incredible innovations and relevant job opportunities. On the 25th of July, 2021, AIESEC MAHE organised the event INNOVEST, which concentrated on counselling aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the country under the aegis of experts who have gained tremendous success with their startup ideas.

The first speaker for the evening was Mr Shashank Udupa, founder and COO of Avalon Meta and co-founder of Avalon Labs, a company directed towards promoting young entrepreneurship and equipping people with relevant skills required for building a thriving career. His segment was based on his personal experiences, focusing on the three biggest financial mistakes he committed during his early 20s, which was also the age range of his target audience. He repeatedly emphasised the importance of saving money from the very beginning of one’s career and educating oneself on the gravity of personal economic mismanagement. Moreover, he provided valuable advice about investing in the stock market, a topic about which many of the audience members were particularly curious. A question-answer session followed, with the eager students putting forth all their doubts about the financial world, that Shashank patiently and thoroughly answered.

Credits: AIESEC

Next on the panel of INNOVEST, the viewers were delighted with the presence of Richard Rekhy. He is the former CEO of KPMG India and a current board member of KPMG Dubai. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant and has over 38 years of experience in Consulting and Professional Services. 

As a major investor in startups, a significant focus of his talk was advice to those who wish to own ventures of their own. He emphasised the need for a “positive mental attitude and courage along with an unyielding spirit”.  He urged everyone to have extensive dreams and to picture success. Failures should never discourage a person as they are avenues of learning, and that extra 10% effort is mandatory. The companies that interest him have always been those that prioritise positive change over profit.  He also addressed the requirements in any business setup. He highlighted the importance of thinking like a consumer and catering to what the consumers want. Additionally, empathy, ethics, and values are paramount. In an establishment, one will have to deal with people of all ages and being kind is key. 

Credits: AIESEC

While talking about his experience at KPMG, he narrated how important the ideas of the youth had been to ensure the smooth functioning of the firm. He also recounted his professional journey. Having started at a small firm where he learnt all his basics, then moving on to KPMG as a partner and changing roles very frequently, and finally being nominated CEO, it had been a journey of steady advancement for him. In a concluding piece of advice, Mr Rekhy told everyone to network—“Build relationships and not transactions, you never know when you will need someone. Nobody is too big or small to help!”

Varun Mayya, the founder and CEO of Avalon Labs was the third speaker at the event. He is the writer of an Amazon bestseller Pyjama Profit and the founder of Jobspire—a startup that he launched at the age of 19. Varun talked about his interesting experiences on how to be up and going when it comes to being your own boss. Varun is an alumnus of MIT, Manipal, and worked in the same club organising the event, making his talk even more relatable for the students.

Credits: AIESEC

The latter part of his talk emphasised innovating new concepts. Varun held a discussion with the audience through the chatbox, trying to chalk out if “Innovation is important in India“. He later went on to share his tryst with innovation and the little peccadilloes he should have avoided while setting up his company, Jobspire.  He also stressed on the lack of opportunities and resources for budding innovators which drown groundbreaking ideas. He was one of the youngest Venture Capitalists in India in 2016. The talk progressed with Varun addressing the acceptance of an innovative product in the market. He focused on how a lot of products are introduced every day but not every venture is successful. The talk concluded with an interactive session. The audience threw several questions at the speaker on finance, his experiences, and his strategies.

At the end of the event, a panel was set up with Varun Mayya and Shashank Udupa. They talked about their college days and engaged the audience in an interactive and fun session. The event concluded with the club members thanking their sponsor, Yocket.

Credits: AIESEC

“From deciding posters and sub-titles and logo for the event to bringing our sponsors on board—everyone did their jobs and sometimes outside the job description. I am happy with the turnout!”, said Nishtha Gahlot, one of the event organizers, on being asked about her experience as an organizer.  The event was a huge success and left the audience inquisitive, insightful, and informed.

Features Image Credits: AIESEC MAHE

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