Two day summit brings together 50 change-makers to help shape future leaders

Feb 01, 2018, 13:08 IST | Snigdha Hasan

A two-day summit brings together over 50 change-makers from various fields to help shape future leaders

 (Clockwise from above) Raghuram and Rajiv Laxman, who have worked their way up in the television industry will share their journey at the summit
(Clockwise from above) Raghuram and Rajiv Laxman, who have worked their way up in the television industry will share their journey at the summit

Two coffins with an epitaph saying, "Herein lie a million itches and dreams", is how participants will be welcomed at the first edition of The Itch Summit this weekend. A confluence of entrepreneurs and trendsetters across art, culture, literature, politics and social activism, the summit has been organised by The Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship, and marks its first anniversary.

Entrepreneurship

"What makes entrepreneurs special? They all have an itch that motivates them to follow their passion. And most importantly, they are not scared of criticism. The idea behind the summit was to invite individuals with the right itch to share their journey, warts and all," shares ad guru Prahlad Kakar, founder and chairman of the school.

Pratish Nair and Prahlad Kakar
Pratish Nair and Prahlad Kakar

The speakers at the summit, which is an open-to-all event, include transgender social activist Akkai Padmashali, who was invited for former US President Barack Obama's town hall in India last year; mountaineer Jamling Norgay; scientist and entrepreneur Dr Arokiaswamy Velumani; and lyricist and singer Swanand Kirkire among 50 other names, who have carved a niche for themselves with their work. The speakers have been specially requested to share their success as well as failures. "Our aim is to prepare our students to hang in there in the face of rejection," says Kakar.

Adds managing director and founder Pratish Nair, "Those who dare to think different are often looked down upon in our society, which is why we have so many engineers who could have made excellent filmmakers or doctors who would be much happier as writers. As a nation, we are fantastic at innovating and ideating, but something goes wrong along the way. Look at our IT sector. We are the back office of the world while other countries set the trend."

Is the start-up culture in India changing things? "There are two kinds of start-ups," explains Kakar. "The bricks-and-mortar variety and the ones in the digital sphere. The problem with the latter is that many of them are looking to sell out for valuation. A start-up should be an act of passion, where you are willing to put your name on the line. Funders too look for not just ideas but loyalty and commitment too."

The social impact of an enterprise is another facet of the summit. "Is your business going to cut a 1,000 trees or render a 1,000 people jobless? Then it's not a good business," says Nair. "It's why we have someone like Shreyans Bhandari, whose venture converts discarded shoes into wearable footwear and provides them to those who don't have access to this basic necessity," he adds. In the coming months, the organisers plan to organise the summit thrice a year by taking it to other cities in India.

On: February 3 and 4, 10 am onwards
At: Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Churchgate.
Call: 9702424368
Entry: Rs 1,499 for a single day pass and Rs 2,499 for keynote sessions on both days

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