On May 27, 2022, UPES School of Business and Runway incubator came together to organize ‘Take Off’, a start-up competition held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The event provided a perfect platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, engage, deliberate, and learn to grow their business with seasoned investors and experts.
‘Take Off’ had invited startup ideas from around India and received an overwhelming response of close to 400 applications, of which 16 were shortlisted. The business ideas ranged from Digital and Emerging Technologies, Fintech, Urban Mobility, and Crypto Investments to Art, Social Impact, and more which were presented before a jury of renowned industry experts including- Rahul Narvekar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The India Network, Vivek Joshi, Co-Founder, Cashrelief.org and Nikhil Saraf, Founder, Stones2Milestones.
Of the 16 participants there were two winning start-up ideas GoFresh by Mrityunjay Baksh Singh and Metaskate by Anupam Tomar who were handed their cash prizes by Dr. S.J. Chopra, Chancellor UPES, Dr. Ram Sharma, Pro VC, UPES and Mr. Rahul Narvekar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The India Network.
The pitches were followed by a conference themed ‘Digital Darwanism and the B-School reset’ with industry experts who came together to discuss the growing start-up culture in India, the radical shift in business landscape and role of management education in the startup ecosystem.
The event kickstarted with Dr. Ram Sharma, Pro VC at UPES who gave a comprehensive view of the university’s growth and achievements and said, “As an institution of excellence, UPES believes in creating a Startup ecosystem in India which would nurture innovative ideas from students and help them grow their business. I congratulate the 2 Startup ideas which won the competition today. We have previously incubated 82 startups not only of students but also from faculty members and we wish to grow this number multi-fold.”
Speaking at the event Rahul Nainwal, CEO, Runway said, “UPES has always cherished innovation and empowers students to use their creative ability to be the changemakers of tomorrow. We want to be a university known to create disruption in the economy. With events like ‘Take Off’ under Runway, we are trying to boost the start-up ecosystem in India. We want to give young entrepreneurs opportunities to pitch their business in front of industry experts and get guidance on how to create successful businesses from scratch in terms of grants, funds, and mentorship.”
There were keynote speakers Arvind Gupta -Head and Co-Founder of Digital India Foundation and Anna Roy- Senior Advisor, Niti Aayog who spoke about Indian Startups, Entrepreneurship and Digitalization of India followed by a panel discussion on ‘Decoding the New Normal’ with industry stalwarts like Mr. Mohit Satyanand – Chairman – TeamWorks Arts, Mr. Rahul Narveker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The India Network, Ms. Deepti Bhujbal – Director, Global HR Operations – Expedia and Dr Preet Pal Thakur, Co-Founder, Glamyo Health moderated by Mr. Ashutosh Sinha, Senior Editor, Times of India.
In another recently held event, Runway had initiated its first pre-incubation cohort in an event hosted at UPES Dehradun with selected 82 start-up ideas of which 8 start-ups raised more than INR 70 lacs from a group of investors. ‘Runway’ was launched in December 2021 and is established under UPES Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCIE), which has been recognized by the government of Uttarakhand as a business incubator and the state nodal agency to encourage entrepreneurship and help incubate start-ups in the state.