November 29, 2023, Kolkata: The Institute of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, And Development (iLEAD) recently marked its Annual Awards 2023 dedicated to honoring the indomitable spirit of entrepreneurs along with the grand launch of the Draupnir Capital Incubation Centre at the iLEAD campus.
Draupnir Capital, a leading private equity advisory firm, has committed to providing comprehensive support to young start-ups, with a special focus on iLEAD graduates. The Draupnir Capital Incubation Centre is the first of its kind in Eastern India, offering end-to-end advisory services to entrepreneurs—from ideation to actionable business plans, backed by financial support. The incubation center’s commitment extends to providing resources, capital, intellectual property, and administrative assistance, fostering the growth of budding enterprises.
To ensure the success of these startups, the State Bank of India will power them with the ‘Bhavishyat Credit Card’ scheme, providing an initial capital injection of Rs 5 lakhs. This financial support plays a crucial role in empowering aspiring entrepreneurs associated with iLEAD and participating in the Draupnir Capital Incubation Centre.
Chief General Manager Mr. Prem Anup Sinha, State Bank of India (SBI) said “I congratulate the iLEAD team for the opening of Draupnir Capital Incubation Center where these entrepreneurs can get some advisory on their start-up”. Also, Ms. Pragya Chopra, Executive Director of iLEAD speaking about the initiative said, “The Draupnir Capital Incubation Center is a step towards furthering entrepreneurship amongst students powered by SBI. This will mean access to capital mentorship and an ecosystem for students and alumni of iLEAD to turn their innovative ideas into profitable businesses”.
The iLEAD Annual Awards ceremony 2023, themed ‘Age of Entrepreneurship’, brought together esteemed guests, successful alumni turned entrepreneurs, dedicated teachers playing pivotal roles in guiding future entrepreneurs across various schools, and leading entrepreneurs of Kolkata.
On this momentous day, iLEAD took pride in recognizing and celebrating the outstanding achievements of its alumni who have soared to remarkable heights since their graduation. The institute, for the first time, honored these accomplished individuals who have excelled in various domains. This acknowledgment underscores the institute’s role in shaping not just students’ academic journeys but also their professional trajectories beyond the campus walls.
The distinguished guests for the event included:
Mr. Nitin Jain: Co-founder and CBO at OfBusiness (Chief Guest)
Ms. Elizabeth Lee: Director of the American Centre, Kolkata, and Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata (Guest of Honor)
Mr. Indrajit Bhalotia: Professional Golfer and Director at Protouch Sports (Guest of Honor)
Mr. Sanjeev Nandwani: Former Civil Servant and Strategic Advisor (Guest of Honor)
Mr. Hemant Mediratta: Chief Empowerment Officer of HMC, Founder of One Rep Global, and Chief Advisor, Leela Palace Hotels & Resorts (Guest of Honor)
All guests were honored by the Chairman Mr. Pradip Chopra and Executive Director, Ms. Pragya Chopra, and the launch of the book – The INDIAN SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP authored by Mr. Pradip Chopra and the college magazine THE ILEADER was done by all dignitaries.
The Chairman, Mr. Pradip Chopra in his address said about the thought behind the awards instituted this year, “Our country is blessed with the highest number of demographic dividend and the highest number of youth in the world.. We can’t offer jobs to everyone, we want to create Job Creators instead of Job Seekers. The best way to do it is to promote Entrepreneurship. And the only thing that can attract people to become entrepreneurs is to give them respect. Society can give respect – that is the least that the society can do for them.”
In his address to the August gathering, Chief Guest Mr. Nitin Jain said “Entrepreneurship is about taking a simple idea and viewing it differently. Of course with a motive. This is as good as launching a brand new technology.” He shared his journey as an entrepreneur including the challenges and triumphs.
Guest of Honour Ms. Elizabeth Lee, told the students to ignore the NO’s that come in their way. “Entrepreneurship is about hearing a lot of NO’s, don’t let that deter you”. She also gave us a look into her life’s journey from studies to becoming a US Diplomat.
iLEAD took the opportunity to recognize the success and achievements of individuals in three categories: successful entrepreneurs, alumni with professional excellence, and teachers contributing significantly to entrepreneurship education in schools.
The entrepreneurs who received the awards for their successful entrepreneurial venture include Ms. Sukriti Agarwal of Shark Tank India fame (Outbox), Ms. Kamalini Paul ( Hotel De Sovrani), Mr. Anirban Aditya (Aditya Group), Ms. Sujata Chatterjee (Twirl Store), Mr. Indrajit Lahiri (Pickle Solutions Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Sunando Banerjee (Hanglaatherium and Anonymous Digital), Mr. Joydeep Sen (Speaking Mirrors), Ms. Sunanda Banerjee (Innolead), Ms. Seema Ahmed (Gainwell Travels) and more.
Some of the teachers who were duly honored at the iLEAD Annual Awards include Ms. Rina Banerjee (Ashok Hall Girls’ Higher Secondary School), Ms. Mili Sarker Deb (DPS, Megacity), Priyadarshini Dasgupta (Abhinav Bharati High School), Ms. Amrita Sanyal Sinha (Mahadevi Birla World Academy), Ms. Bandita Debnath (Jodhpur Park Boys’ School), Ms. Debjani Sarker (Shri Shikshayatan School), Ms. Sudarshana Ghosh (Apeejay School), Mr. Sujoy Kundu (The New Town School), Ms. Debarati Sharma (St. Joseph and Mary’s School) and more.
As iLEAD continues to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the event symbolized a significant milestone in the institute’s commitment to nurturing and empowering the next generation of business leaders. With the success stories of its alumni now taking center stage, iLEAD proudly looks toward the future, anticipating continued growth, success, and impactful contributions to the entrepreneurial landscape.