SproutIT : “The Innovation Oasis” – Ambarish Deb and Ashish Shende


The 9th of September in the year 2023 started just like any other day in the history of the world save for one little difference, most prominently visible at a Business School of repute situated on the outskirts of Pune going by the name of Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology, where daybreak brought about the hustle and bustle of activity seen only once per year – for SproutIT, the flagship event of ITELF was scheduled on that day. As early as 9 AM, volunteers and members of ITELF alike were on the ground, ready to ensure a smooth execution of the event.

As the clock struck 9:40, the gates to the auditorium were opened, and students eagerly filled the seats, ready to absorb the words of knowledge about to be shared in the first and arguably most important event of the day, i.e., the panel discussion.

Post a quick introductory video, the honorable Director Dr. Dhanya Pramod, Deputy Director Dr. Kanchan Patil, and the panelists lit the ceremonial lamp amidst Sanskrit chants to invoke the blessings of the goddess of knowledge, marking an auspicious start to the event.

The hosts acknowledged the presence of the panelists, Mr.Chirag Panchal(CEO & Founder, Enerlyf), Mr. Ajit Hatti(CEO& Inventor, PUREID), Mr. Jignesh Patel (CEO & Founder, Jivika Healthcare) Ms. Payal Jain(Founder, FunnGrow) and moderator of the event Mr. Vikrant Vartak (MD, The Senate) with a welcome speech containing the highlights of their illustrious careers, post which the floor was handed over to them.

The discussion began with the question of passion and what role it can play in entrepreneurship.

Ms. Payal: Her belief was that passion is key to everything and is needed to visualize ideas & implement them. According to her, founders need to be passionate as people will feed on that passion, enabling them to move forward. Her passion – which was to help kids in the age bracket of 10-15 years to upskill themselves, enabled her to start her company.

Mr. Chirag: He defines passion as when a person defies the odds and moves against them and is still able to thrive. He recollected an event two years after his graduation when he pitched an idea to investors but faced rejection by them. Despite those odds, he went forward and incorporated his ideas into a working business model and incorporated a company.

Mr Vikrant: He resonated with both ideas and added that people are generally unaware of the need to foray into entrepreneurship. As a result, they can be unsupportive of those who do. In such cases, passion plays a role in keeping them afloat.

Mr. Ajit: For him, passion defines a person and their working life. He described his passion for the field of information security and how it motivated him to become an entrepreneur. However, he also enunciated the importance of empathy and passion towards fellow co-workers.

Mr. Jignesh: He posed the same question to the audience to make the discussion more interactive and gather more inputs from the audience. After hearing what the students had to say, he recollected his days as an MBA student when he had become passionate about product-based sales – a profile offered very rarely for placements. He was passionate to such an extent that he refused to sit for any company that did not offer this role. Eventually, he interviewed for a product-based sales role at Maruti Suzuki and passed it with flying colors.

Much discussion took place on “traditional vs. modern entrepreneurship” and choosing the right approach, which saw some differences of opinion between the panelists. While most panelists advocated for the need for a mixed approach towards entrepreneurship, Mr. Ajit had a different approach in mind, which was not to be an entrepreneur but to be an employee of an organization first. Being an employee, one can find problems that can be converted into a business. After that, the approaches can be decided accordingly. This prompted a lot of discussion among the panelists.

Moving further, the panelists discussed many topics, such as the importance of strategy, choosing the right co-founder(s) for your venture, and the question of pivoting. Some important points raised were about the indispensable nature of strategy for success and how it evolves as time passes, how adaptability should be prioritized over pivoting, and the need for data-driven decision-making. With this, the floor was opened for a Q&A session.

Question- Is there any scope for data-driven decision-making in choosing the right domain to start up a business?

Mr. Ajit Hatti- Starting up itself doesn’t require data-driven decision-making. Instead, business acumen is required to understand the problems that need solving. Data-driven decision-making can play a role later in easing the processes involved in solving said problems.

With this Q&A session, the panel discussion concluded. Prof.Raghav Sandhane delivered the vote of thanks and congratulated the ITELF team for making the event successful.
The panelists were thanked for their invaluable contribution to the events and were presented with tokens of appreciation by the faculty members.

After the panel discussion, the following team events were also conducted-

Rural E La Carte – Each team was asked to develop ideas and business ventures relating to rural regions of India and present the same.
Strategic Spectrum- Each team was assigned a company and asked to come up with strategies to overcome the challenges faced by them.
Brand Challenge- Each team was given a starting capital of 1001 Rupees and asked to come up with a viable business idea to earn a profit.

The Entrepreneurial Film Festival – Each team was tasked with shooting short videos describing the journey of an entrepreneur.
AD-MAD- Teams were tasked with showcasing their creative skills by acting out in advertisements about different sectors.
Social-Lit – A musical fiesta that extended well into the night, held in collaboration with Konnect – the Music society of SCIT.

With this, the eventful day came to a conclusion.