Entrepreneurship. It was one of the few big words I came across during my school days. And after all these years, it still is. It’s not the number of letters that make the word big, rather it’s the courage, determination and passion hidden in between those letters.
Everyone, including me, love to recount the many success stories we make for ourselves. But sometimes it’s almost funny how we forget the numerous failures and struggles that occur in the run up to success. Life revolves around some very interesting characters and incidents that almost always play a strong role in shifting a person’s learning curve. Thankfully, I was no exception.
Sampad Kuman Pani. All of 25, clad in jeans and trendy tees. He walks the walk and talks the talk of a businessman. With a degree in Computer Science and Engineering from KIIT University (Bhubaneswar, Orissa), a string of struggle stories to his credit, and his principles in place his is one story I love to recollect and reflect upon. In 2008, while he was still in college, when everyone around was dreaming about a job with TCS or Infosys, the very idea of making money for someone else did not seem very appealing to him. He decided to break away from the herd and do something for himself. As placement activities in nearby colleges started heating up, he looked at them not as a customer but as a provider.
Taking a hint from student complaints regarding lack of proper preparation material to handle corporate interviews and tests, he dwelled upon an idea of facilitating his fellow classmates. And from this “Placement and Training” was born. A complete portal for engaging and helping engineering and MCA students gear up for the tough corporate recruitment processes ahead customized to fit the needs of the local students. By the end of 2008 he was on the lookout for a team who could implement his ideas. He put together a team of fellow engineers and worked hard on the portal, compiling tests, inputs from faculties and industry leads.
However, as the entire development was being handled by students who were besought with regular tests and college activities, it was not before September 2009 when work was finally completed. Armed with a flashy new portal and an alluring smile, Sampad approached colleges nearby to pitch his system to the college authorities. Sadly, colleges apparently did not seem interested in the product during the off season for placements. And he was turned down.
Not losing heart, Sampad decided to wait it out. Meanwhile he came in contact with two friendly souls Snehasish and myself who were also undergoing their bachelors in engineering in a nearby college. We were very interested into technology per se and showed interest in Sampad’s plans of starting up a mainstream software development firm, albeit on a local level. We decided to brand our partnership aptly as “Sampad”. Some hard truths that we learnt during the first few weeks were that our ability and our dedication to work would not get us work. Contacts would. We worked hard on that big first hurdle and by October 2009, small projects started coming in, some consultancy here and some web development there. Towards December the focus shifted towards slightly larger projects and therein came a consultancy project for a local network marketing firm. The start-up also provided both insight into other business models and some much needed cash to “Sampad” and partners. As the placement training season is back on, talks with local colleges like Silicon Institute of Technology and KIIT have also resumed along with regular IT consultancy work.
Post summer 2010, the partnership is being handled by Sampad along with Snehasish and Sudhansu, a new addition to our team. As for me, although I had already caught the bug, I decided to find out if there was some right way to do it. And so, I gave up on the IT job offers I had and joined SIBM Pune to pursue an MBA degree. A few months down the line, I met several classmates and faculties who had also dirtied their hands in the field. Some had met with challenges similar to mine and had overcome them with varying degrees of success and failure.
At SIBM I learn of businesses, laws and norms that we never knew of before and try and pickup relevant skills on the go. Distance and lack of time are the obvious constraints for me. But I do try and put in my bit into “Sampad” too. I regularly interact with Sampad and others over the plethora of communication media available to us discussing new business models and plans on to how to go about them.
Not letting our determination waver, the partners continue with their struggles even today, putting in all the hard work they can, searching for that one silver lining that would make our vision a success. As for me, I am waiting to write that one story, when it becomes a success.
From L to R: Sampad, Snehasish, Sudipta
This is a contributory blog entry by Sudipta Das of Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. The opinions and views expressed in this blog, explicitly or implied, is the personal opinion and observation of the author. The views and opinions expressed on this blog by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views/opinions of DARE/CyberMedia (I) Ltd.
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