Celebrating Innovations, Startup Successes

Kochi: The most important thing the society needs to imbibe is the culture that embraces failure, a key element that helps the growth of startups, said Adeeb Ahamed, MD, LuLu Exchange Holdings and Twenty14 Holdings. He was delivering the keynote address at the maiden edition of Destination Kerala Startup Awards 2017 on February 16.
“Bringing a startup to life is a very tough and daunting task and it is bound to face many failures and challenges. As a society, the most important thing that we need to embrace is a culture that accepts failures, a key element of startups. A society that fails to appreciate business failure stifles the entire innovation culture. There should be zero stigma for failed startups as a failure often teaches more lessons than what we have learned ever before,” he said.

Stating that lack of investment and poor infrastructure remain the biggest problems besetting budding enterprises, Adeeb said: “Another issue startups face today is lack of appropriate mentors. We do not have a formal mechanism of mentorship program in our country which needs to be formulated very soon. In addition, the effectiveness of the present education system is also a very crucial point to be noticed. We may have a good number of engineers graduating from the best universities, still creativity has not fully translated into many technological innovations,” he said.

The event, held in association with Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and with TiE Kerala as Knowledge Partner, was organised to celebrate and honour the success stories of Kerala’s startup saga. Watch Station International was the Gifting Partner while Crowne Plaza Kochi joined as the Hospitality Partner.

Besides Adeeb, the Guests of Honour included Dr. Christy Fernandez IAS (Retd.), Chairman, KSIDC; K Ganesh, Serial Entrepreneur, Partner – GrowthStory.in and Chairman, Portea Medical; Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM and Rajesh Nair, President, TiE Kerala and Executive Director – Markets (Kerala & TN), EY. At the gala event, awards were presented in 10 categories. Nominations were invited through TiE Kerala, NASSCOM, KSIDC, KSUM, Kerala Angel Network (KAN) and Vijayee Bhava. The jury members were C Balagopal, Founder MD, Penpol (Now Terumo Penpol), Founder President, TiE Kerala; M S A Kumar, CEO, KAN and Chief Catalyst, Catalyst 360; Dr. Saji Gopinath; Sijo Kuruvilla, Founder, Rethink Foundation; Sreekumar Menon, Joint MD, Dynamic Techno Medicals and Rajesh Nair.

Dr. Christy Fernandez IAS (Retd.), who delivered the Presidential Address, congratulated the winners for their commendable achievements. “Truly, the award celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Keralites,” he said. Dr. Saji Gopinath underlined the fact that unicorn startups are created only when they can bring about changes in the people’s life by solving problems around them. “KSUM strongly supports our startups in all phases, but it is always the passion of startup entrepreneurs which makes the difference,” he said.

In an inspiring address, K Ganesh said, “In India, almost everything is broken, and the entrepreneurs have to simply solve these issues with smart thinking. Thanks to our large population, the solution has to scale and address the readily available market.” Rajesh Nair presented the jury report. Jose Kunnappally, Chief Editor, Destination Kerala business magazine, welcomed the gathering and Uday Kumar, Business Head, proposed the vote of thanks.

Over 100 guests comprising startup promoters, entrepreneurs, and office-bearers of various associations turned up. Vivek Krishna Govind (President, Kerala Management Association); S R Nair (MentorGuru); Chandra Vadhana (Prayana Labs); Sajeev Nair (Bramma Consulting); Ajit Moopan (Woodhouse Ltd.) Wg. Cdr. K Chandrasekhar (TiE Kerala); Ananda Mani K (Centre for Entrepreneurship); Shanavas P N and Ajit Johnson (LuLu Exchange Holdings); Indu Menon (Kara Weaves) and Ashik Sheik (KSIDC) were among those present on the occasion.