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Learning Entrepreneurial lessons the IIM way . . .

Tuesday August 18, 2009 , 5 min Read

Independence day was celebrated in its true sense at the campus of IIM Bangalore this 15th August. It marked the beginning of Eximius 09, a two day event that aims to provide a much needed platform to the budding entrepreneurs from all over India in order to free them from any inhibitions they have

before taking that “Entrepreneurial plunge”. Eximius is a place where budding and serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business school graduates, industry veterans and academics in the field of entrepreneurship converge in order to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship.

This year, Eximius had unique events ranging from pitching to venture capitalists to identifying flaws in business plans, from learning through speaker series to Decoding the MBA entrepreneur by listening to MBAs who have been there and done that. The event saw a massive response. More than 150 colleges participated from all over India and each event saw huge audience at the venue. The reason was quite evident. Eximius had speakers, which no one could afford to miss at any cost. A definite crowd puller was the speech by keynote speaker Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw( CMD, Biocon). Her words not only inspired but moved everybody to set out on the journey of being an “Entrepreneur”.

Deepika Bhardwaj, shares the moments@ IIMB for all Yourstory readers:

Journey of the leader in her own words……

“I am glad to be present here. Glad to see a wave of entrepreneurship developing in India, a wave which has potential to change this world. When I meet young minds like you filled with lot of passion and energy to bring that change, I feel very happy.

If someone asks me, what is it that one should keep in mind before starting; I always say you should start in a bid to challenging the status quo. There should be a strong sense of purpose before you go ahead. You should feel very strongly about your idea. When I started, I had a purpose. I wanted to change many wrongs in this country. The main motivation was to do something in the field of research which was given least importance during those days. Scientists had very limited opportunities in India. The usual trend was to take a job overseas. Even I was about to make that mistake and go abroad, but I did not and it turned out to be the turning point of my life. I decided to stay here and make a difference. I wanted to pursue the business of science. It was time when science was not used in our everyday lives. I was quite surprised when I saw Indian talents going abroad, leading various innovations and developing things which India imported after paying heavy price. I wanted to change these wrongs. I wanted those innovations to happen in India. I wanted women, who at that time were seen only in homes to come out and become scientists and take on the challenge.

When I started, I had just a garage to operate from and a sum of 10,000 with me.

There was no concept of a VC funding. We had banks which would lend at very high rates of 16 percent, 18 percent. More than this, I was looked down by everyone, because of so many reasons. I was young, I was inexperienced, I was entering an unknown field and most of all I was a women. But I took on all these challenges because I had a sense of purpose and I believed in my idea. Entrepreneurs are not people who give up very soon. They have infectious capabilities and capacities. They know how to convince this world. Moreover if you are passionate, that interest is evinced from everything you do and that attracts people which share the same passion with you. I was also able to do the same and got support from many people who believed in me and my idea.

But something which I feel good about is the time when companies like Biocon, Infosys and others started. Those times were different. We had the luxury of doing it step by step. We could make mistakes and learn from them. But times have changed now and there is too much competition in every field. So you have to be on your feet all the time and make relentless efforts to succeed.

One thing which I tell everyone I meet is “Never give up”. There is nothing like impossible. You just have to look more, and you will find people who believe in your idea and are ready to support you. Challenges will always be a part of your entrepreneurial journey; you have to learn how to manage them. You have to learn how to manage risks.

Inflection point came in Biocon when we decided to move from Enzymes to biopharmaceuticals. This shift was hundred times tough than we could ever imagine. It was a highly regulated market and there were lot of gaps in the way we started operating. We filled those gaps by using our experience with enzymes. Thus I ask entrepreneurs to keep reinventing yourselves. You must keep challenging yourself to get into different spaces. The differentiator in our business has always been the way we have operated all these years. We have not looked at only the local opportunities. We have always targeted global opportunities as well. We have always tried to find local solutions for global problems. The world is becoming a prey to more and more environmental problems. Big players are looking at countries like India and China to find the solutions. These are the best times to get on the entrepreneurial baton. Opportunities are limitless, government support is boundless, and the only thing we need to have is a sense of purpose.

If I can do it, anyone can!!! Don’t hesitate. Just go and do it.

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