Aim Smart City Accelerator Beginning

AIM Smart City Accelerator Programme began on April 25th , 2016 at the Ashoka University Campus with first on-site training program of two weeks. These two weeks not only gave the startups an opportunity to informally mingle with each other but also learn from their peers and trainers.

Entrepreneurs from across India are part of the programme. Startups along with trainers gathered at the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Ashoka University for the orientation on the first day. The program started with the introductions from the program team- Priyank Narayan, Arihant Jain, Aashish Beergi, and Ojasvini Sondhi, and from the participating startups and partners.

Co-founders considered themselves as wife to each others so we had a man with 5 wives and one with multiple rounds of marriage and divorces and of course we witnessed you know what…

Post the orientation, we headed to our off-site Noor Mahal, Karnal with a halt at Amrik Sukhdev for the delicious North Indian lunch. The journey was made fun by Naveen Asrani, Microsoft Ventures who made everyone to say one word definition for themselves.

Remaining day at Noor Mahal was pleasure and fun for everyone to get comfortable and open to each other. We had ice-breaking sessions, pool games and long conversations over dinner.

Day 2 started with an interactive session by Ravi Narayan, Microsoft Ventures, who talked about how the current Indian ecosystem is most adapt to entrepreneurs and his contributions in it. He inspired the participants to be brave and lead to success with honesty.

“Honest hard-work can change the dynamics of market trends” keeping this message as the guiding principle, we started with our first workshop on Operating Plan by Prasanna Krishnamurthy to identify the original maturity level of the startups. This exercise helped in setting the goals right for the upcoming weeks, and months.

 After ending the enlightening trip, on our way back to Ashoka, everyone was interpreting the learning in their own way and gearing up for the rollercoaster journey for next 4 months.

Ashoka campus provided an opportunity to interact with youngsters while playing or sitting across the table for dinner. The energy at the campus contributed to charge everyone with the positive energy.

Day 3 started with one-on-ones with teams to detail out the finalized operating plans. It helped to set the target right and make them realize the possibility of affordable loss and available resources to reach higher.

Startups interacted with the seasoned entrepreneur Vineet Gupta, Pro-VC Ashoka University, and got the perspective on the DNA of an entrepreneur-to set the need be an entrepreneur right and value of critical thinking and taking the strongest foot ahead to reach the goal.

Startups also interacted with Anirudh Rastogi, TRA about legal issues with a startup, Himanshu Arya, Grapes Digital, about the Digital marketing 101, Amit Mishra, F6S, on the networking and optimizing the connections. These sessions gave the diverse perspective for various elements needed to make a startup a success.

The whole cohort participated in India Internet Day and interacted with the various ecosystem leaders and champion entrepreneurs to learn about the best practices for the maximum traction.

Week 2 started with stakeholder development workshop by Prasanna at Zorba the Buddha, a spiritual retreat location in the midst the chaos hit city — Delhi. Startups were assigned with the task to reach out to each and every possible customer, supporter or competitor and get their insights for the businesses.

These insights helped the startups to understand the expectations right to hit the market and grab the maximum share.

The cohort interacted with Sujit Ghosh, Chief Innovation Officer, Dalmia Group and understood how an old company is reviving its energy with the upcoming new ideas and innovations to be in the market for the longer time. “It is adaptability to market, which keeps companies alive”- This became the motto for the week, when everyone focused on understanding the need of the market and adapt according to that. Moving forward cohort interacted with the leadership team of the Microsoft to learn about how they are moving forward to support the startups and create an ecosystem fit for startups to thrive .

The week ended with the launch party, at the Lodhi Gardens, where Deep Kalra, Chief Guest for the event shared his words of wisdom with the startups to be successful. This event witnessed participation by various mentors, partners and supporters of not only the Aim SmartCity Accelerator Program but also of the larger startup eco-system of India.

With the hope to hit the targets and reach the set milestones , startups headed back to the cities they came from, because it was just the preparation and the real war is yet to be won.

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