By Geetha Patil

CAMBRIDGE, MA–The MIT India Conference 2016, which was organized by the MIT MBA students and teachers, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, highlighted the key social, business, and political challenges, practices, and innovations that are shaping India today and will shape tomorrow.

This conference addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Startup India” initiative and focused on how to create a booming environment in India to put “Startup India” into action and active growth.

Mit-PanelThe conference brought together number of successful young startup entrepreneurs from India and the United Stated who joined in the ‘Startup India’ initiative to share their leading business experiences and challenges, and any thriving, new, and need-based business opportunities for upcoming graduates and midlife career seekers in one of the world’s largest economies.

Rafael Raif, MIT president, sent out his welcome letter and his best wishes to MIT India conference attendees to enjoy the stories of adventurous startup entrepreneurs and join hands with MIT in the powers of innovation and entrepreneurial partnership to bring change in the world.

Aditi Sarangi, Aditya Rao, Munaf M, Kachwala and their team formally received hundreds of audience and distinguished speakers to the conference and helped them with registration and breakfast. Awelcome address was given by S.P. Kothari, Prof. of Accounting and Finance at the Sloan School of Management.

Dr. Mukesh Aghi, president of the U.S.-India Business Council, gave opening remarks at the conference and mentioned that his organization is dedicated to strengthen the economic and commercial relationship between the United States and India and serve as a direct link between business and government leaders.

The keynote speaker of this conference was Arvind Subramanian who currently serves as the chief economic advisor to the government of India. Prof, Kothari facilitated Q&A session of Mr. Subramanian. Ron Spangler, a graduate of MIT spoke on what new technology transition opportunities in energy and defense are available with this ‘Startup India’ Initiative.

There were three panel discussions. The first panel focused on, ‘Transforming ideas into reality – Milestones and decisions in the early years’ with enterprising and ingenious speakers who were led by a recognized host Christina Chase. She is a lecturer and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, where she has helps hundreds of teams go from concept to company.

The second panel emphasized on, ‘The Journey to scale — Growing sustainably in a complex market’ with speakers’ experiences and challenges.’ Yasheng Huang, International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and a Professor of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management shrewdly stimulated speakers and assisted the session to run smoothly with Q&A part.

Rakesh Pandey, a distinguished Research Scientist at Olin College of Engineering and Executive-in-Residence at Northeastern University, facilitated the third panel on, ‘Creating lasting impact — Opportunities in social entrepreneurship.’ These entrepreneurs made huge impact in community by helping villagers in India even though there are no tangible indicators to measure their social impact.

As a second keynote speaker, Desh Deshpande, president and chairman of Sparta Group LLC and co-chair of a National Council that support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy, shared his own entrepreneurial experiences, projects that help school children with mid-day meal program and farmers with watershed programs etc. and he also gave some tips on how to solve challenges and hold on to optimism to obtain success in our ventures.

This dedicated team of MIT students: Aditi Sarangi, Aditya Rao, Munaf M, Kachwala, Rahul Arora, Alok Singh, Ishan Gokhale, Sheila Chheda, Manisha Singh, Grace Kermani, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Jaswanth Madhavan, Shahid Azad, Sruthi Reddy Chintaunta, Naina Saxena, Alankrita Nigam, Siya Purohit, Sharvi Mewada, Karthik Gopalakrishnana, Juhi Singh, Remya Kurup, Rishi Gohil, Francis Goyes, Kairav Shroff, Malika Shahrawat worked very hard for the past 8 months to put this event together.

Aditya Rao thanked his teachers, mentors and peers for putting this conference together and making it a grand success. He thanked sponsors of the conference namely, The Times of India, ET, BS, Indian Express, NDTV, Yahoo, The American Bazaar, India New England News. In addition, he also thanked MIT Community poster presenters for their showcasing their innovative projects that focus on helping out grass-root people.

He also acknowledged humbly MIT’s support by providing them with a beautiful media lab for hosting this great conference. He expressed his gratitude to all the speakers for coming and sharing their experiences with others and willing to help and guide others with their startup undertakings. He showed his modest gratitude to all audience for supporting this event with their active participation in all the sessions. Last but not the least, he appreciated with gratitude his peers’ dedication, support, encouragement, and time.