IIMA has always been at the forefront when it came to encouraging innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship as well as reinforcing academic excellence and leadership qualities in students and talented youngsters.
IIMA Endowment Fund, a one of its kind contest, is another such initiative by the institute, intended to inspire students to aspire high and create something unique. This initiative, established in mid-2020, is IIMA’s fundraising and philanthropic arm for all donations at the institute and regularly holds events and competitions to create excitement among students to reach their potential and beyond.
Recently, the Fund announced the winner of its Best Startup Pitch Contest. The winner of the contest took home Rs1 crores, the highest prize ever awarded by IIMA (Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad). After a competitive round of presentations and discussions with the jury, a team of PGPX graduates, Parul Vashist and Varun Jhaveri, won the contest with their AI-powered digital closet solution.
In the contest, IIMA students partnered with team members from outside the IIMA student base to come up with business concepts, identify the market addressable, identify the competitive advantage, explain fund utilization and capital requirements, and predict sales and profits in the next three years. Along with Parul and Varun, the winning team included members from IIT and Duke University. In addition to the prize money, the winners also got awarded an opportunity to be mentored by IIMA alumni that are industry A-listers in the private equity and venture capital space.
While congratulating his students, Sandeep Singhal, Chairman, Board of Directors of IIMA Endowment Fund and Co-Founder and Managing Director, WestBridge Capital, said, “It is a very promising decade for innovative and entrepreneurial ideas, and this contest is rightly timed to reinforce this theme. It was encouraging to see their innovative and unique ideas, and I am confident that the contest has helped build momentum for entrepreneurship on the IIMA campus. I wish Parul and Varun the best ahead.”
As many as 35 participating teams, many of whom are current fellows under CIIE’s IIMAvericks program, entered unique startup ideas for the contest.
The prize money was awarded to the students by Ashank Desai, Vice-Chairman & MD of Mastek Limited along with a member of the Board of Governors, IIMA , Kuldeep Jain, Founder and MD of CleanMax Enviro Energy Solutions and an initial founding alumnus of the IIMA Endowment Fund at the ceremony.
While handing over the award, Desai shared, “I believe there are three Vs one needs to succeed. It is just like making a building, imagine the top floor is Vision, the foundation is Values, and the mass in between is Vitality, the consistent energy and perseverance towards the goal. It is difficult to achieve success if any one of these is missing.”
“IIMA Endowment Fund is proud to support the exciting arena of entrepreneurship for IIMA students in this vibrant environment for Startups with over 250 unicorns expected in India by 2025. The IIMA Endowment Fund contest provides INR 1 CR to the winner with the objective that genuinely interested students may be motivated to pursue entrepreneurship without the hesitation or peer pressure of giving up a secure high paying job. I hope that this contest becomes a catalyst for path-breaking startup ideas in the years to come,” added Chhavi Moodgal.
After its first successful edition, the contest will now be an annual event and has been introduced to encourage IIMA students to explore entrepreneurship as a career path.
The IIMA endowment fund was set up by a group of alumni who wished to ensure the Institute’s long-term prominence in thought leadership, research, and academic excellence. The fund aims to build a corpus for long term financial autonomy and generate alternative funding sources to support strategic projects and initiatives at the Institute.