The story of Bharat Entrepreneurs Network is a journey that began last year with a dream of enabling Billion+ entrepreneurs from Bharat. BEN was launched on 11th Feb 2017 at IIFT. Planning for the event initiated in 2016 via Facebook. We had initial meetings on the lawns of Central Park at CP, New Delhi where volunteer teams assembled in the park or Cafe Coffee Day etc. We also had meetings on Delhi Metro, Dwarka & Janakpuri District Center office of NRI Family Health.
Chandan who heads India Office of NRI Family Health volunteered to share his office as well team, Dr Sprudha & team to assist with the event. Facebook and Social Media played a significant role in connecting people of diverse backgrounds spread all over Bharat as well globally. We gathered a global team with the help of corporate and personal contacts abroad and networking efforts in Bharat. We travelled travel across Bharat especially Delhi.
Atul from Munirka, Chandan from Pusa, Priyanka from East Delhi, Ravi from , Saqlain from Delhi, Rishi from Vindhyachal at IIT Delhi and various other members spread across Bharat and world. RIshi who is a Research School of Entrepreneurship invited Atul to IIT and they started executing the ideas. This facebook friendship turned into close partnership between an IIMA alum and IIT Delhi research scholar. IIT Delhi became the epicenter of activity to turn this idea into reality.
In no time we were joined by a few people we realised were going to be one of the major contributors to the venture. Saqlain and Chandan, who had a vast event management and entrepreneurial experience. Anubhav from Gaya joined as CIO, undertook the responsibility of the website which was up and running in quick time. Priyanka Manjari joined the team and boosted every fragments of our spirits with her different perspectives to things experience.
Initially the team used to meet at Rajiv Chowk, Delhi before Atul, Rishi and team started working at/near Vindhyachal IIT Delhi. Rishi started reaching out to his professors, colleagues from DMS, IIT Delhi and scholars of Entrepreneurship. Volunteer teams, advisors, mentors were found and connected via Whatsapp & Facebook. The launch of BEN itself was a “bootstrap startup”.
In a meeting with Priyanka Manjari, she started the process of ““seed” funding by writing the first check of Rs. 10,000 followed by other members in meeting. Then the hunt began for a venue, date, sponsors. Prof Tamanna Chaturvedi of IIFT joined the team and we got IIFT as an event partner by choosing IIFT as venue. Major logistic issues were solved by this decision. We also had two interns, 1st year IBS students Ridhima & Vishwavijay from Amity University signe up to help. Friends, Family and Colleagues reached out for sponsorships, speakers, attendees.
We got Dr Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International confirme as a Keynote speaker along with Prof. Prabhat Ranjan of TIFAC, Prof SK Jain from IIT Delhi and many other scholars. The word spread to places as remote as Tripura, Arunachal, Kerala and various other places. Murali from Chennai signed-up as a sponsor and attendee. We had agreed on focus of BEN being Rural population, Remote areas and Women, we were able to capture startups and entrepreneurs from all such segments. We had a farmer from Bihar, Rishi got a health entrepreneur from Arunachal to name a few.