One small step for man, a giant leap…’ echoes the mood at Navi Mumbai’s 50th Startup Saturday.

It was one giant leap towards building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Navi Mumbai’s upcoming area.

There were students, a lot of them. Eager, patient and passionate. Trust me, they were not disappointed. There was an exciting schedule ahead of them. Guest speakers, vision statements, success stories (& failed ventures too), panel discussion. Just a lot on a palate for the students, aspiring and budding entrepreneurs at the host institution, ITM College, Kharghar.

The grand Startup Saturday began with the Headstart Navi Mumbai story of 5 years legacy that started at SIES College, Nerul in the year 2013. The journey captured the highlights of the growth of the ecosystem and introduction of various initiatives by Headstart to support and nurture the entrepreneurs of the city. While we shared the big ticket demo pitches at Headstart from Ola to Flipkart, there were enough local stories celebrated to warm the hearts & bring a twinkle in the eye. Naming a few are, Dino meals, Tug social, PortFlip, eLaundry, Booklet, CA for startups, Connect Plus, Moustache Laundry. They all pitched their demo at one of the Navi Mumbai Startup Saturdays.

Entrepreneurship is not just about achieving individual success but it is also about working towards nation building. Philanthropy begins at home. As a gesture towards the Kerala floods, the entire months of earnings from across all the Headstart chapters will be donated towards Kerala CM Disaster Relief Fund. Just our two cents and the spirit of #Paying_it_Forward.

On the day of Navi Mumbai’s grand 50th celebration, we were graced with the presence of our beloved Headstarters from Mumbai and Pune chapters of Maharashtra.

Romil Shah, our beloved Senior Headstarter, Maharashtra, spoke of the opportunities and challenges through his journey as a volunteer of Headstart. While Abhishek Agarwal, Lead Mentor, Headstart Pune shared regarding the growth of his startup while volunteering at Headstart. He mentioned the community as the one of the strongest support systems to ride through the journey with positivity despite the past failures. The entire crowd cheered for him and saluted him for his humility. Well, we learnt that in life, there are no winners and losers. Only winners and learners!

Our keynote speaker was the candid and assertive Shri S. Swaminathan. He is the Chief Executive and Founder of IRIS Business Services Pvt. Ltd. An economist trained at Yale University, USA and an avid long-distance runner, he took the team on his marathon journey defining success. Broke myths and stereotypes, Swami sir was just as much at ease discussing the new tech policies as he was in his shorts and T-shirt. Our attendees loved him. His practical, no-nonsense approach was well received and he got the louder cheer when he demystified GST tax payments from a Big Bazaar bill!

Next up was the panel, led by our talkative Dawood Vaid, Lead Editor, Navi Mumbai discussing with our illustrious Navi Mumbai ecosystem partners. We had, Rohit Radhakrishnan representing NASSCOM, sharing the idea validation and the tech support they offer. The effervescent Rahul Lall, community manager at CIBA mentioned the wonderful opportunity for the young incubators. Amit Chaudhry, every woman’s dream man – after all, the Co-founder, eLaundry, share insights into how a startup gains from membership-based organisations (e.g. TIE) along with sharing his journey taking us through the startup pivots. Smedha Sarkar represented Headstart, presented the key role that the organization played in connecting and building the bridges for the young entrepreneurs seeking mentorship and guidance through different stages of their startups.

We concluded the panel as the entire panel agreed on that Navi Mumbai has some terrific community for the startups to grow, be mentored and hone their skills. And the second, that Navi Mumbai has grown leaps and bounds in past few years. There shall always be help for those who ask for it. (#Harry_Potter reference 😉 )

Without a beat, the entire panel also agreed, that our very own Smedha Sarkar is the most well dressed female business leader around! We just applauded.

We were also joined by a short talk by one of our most celebrated mentors of Navi Mumbai city, Nikhil Pandey, a serial entrepreneur, who shared a few insights in how startups could make the most out of the help that is available to them via government and private institutions. While he honoured our team by commending for the work done by Headstarters out of sheer passion for entrepreneurship consistently across multiple cities in India.

Tweet winners, Speaker felicitations and Giveaways followed.

Celebrations had thus started and sensing the eager attendees surrounded with our City Lead Bikash Sahoo to deepen the connect further with the city team, the 100th SS is only a matter of time.