1.) From your time in India, how is it different from South Africa?
There are various factors that distinguish India from South Africa, for instance India is 3 hours 30min ahead and that is first thing that differentiate two countries. Secondly Indian weather and atmosphere is completely different compared to SA. Upon my arrival, I had an immediate headache due to the unusual hot atmosphere with minimum temperatures of 25 degrees, it was so hot it was like I was in a steam room. Nevertheless I was warmly welcomed by one of the humble Start up Safari coordinators/team members (Devansh), who took me to the venue. I must state that the entire Start up Safari team ensured that myself and other fellow South African delegates were safe throughout the Programme. India has a population of more than 1 .324 billion, while SA has more than 56million and it was a wonderful experience to be in one of the Indian cities (New Delhi).
If you thought South African cities are packed with traffic during peak hours (in the morning and afternoon) wait till you get to New Delhi. One of the unbelievable things was to see Indians using any form of transport to move from one point to the other. On highways and some of the bigger busy roads you see Indians on their bicycles right in the middle of road with other motorists. I mean I have never seen a situation where you can witness four people on one motorbike. Did you know that in India there are free hooter zones, like you would literally see a road sign (No horn) same as our no parking signs. Most Indians especially in cities are Vegetarians and it is very rare to get beef or boerewors, you can only settle for chicken. I think seeing Indians eating rice with their hands and not a spoon was one of the unusual things.
2.) How many entrepreneurial ventures did you visit with Startup Safari?
A. Nishit sood- Founder,Yoma Group
B. Ashima Dewan-Product Manager Travel Triangle.
C. Ankur Warikoo – CEO Nearbuy. https://www.linkedin.com/in/warikoo www.nearbuy.com
D. Shreyasi Signh-Author of Wealth Wallahs. https//www.linkedin.com/in/shreyasi-singh99b8073a
E. Arjun Sri Hari- Partnerships,8minutes
F. Sandro Stephen-Regional Head, Indian Angel Network. https://www.indianangelnetwork.com
G. Kanika Tekriwal- Founder JetSetgo. www.jetsetgo.in
H. Ajay Chaturvedi-Entrepreneur and author. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajaychaturvedi
I. Monce Abraham-Startup and Investment consultant. https://www.linkedin.com/in/monceabraham
J. Nishant Manchanda-Cofounder, India Network.
K. Gaurav Mehta-Chief Marketing Officer, Cardekho. www.cardekho.com
3.) Which was your favourite one and why?
I think I loved nearbuy CEO; I think amongst other entrepreneurial ventures and CEO’s we met Ankur Warikoo is one of the youthful, fun and energetic CEO’s, I really liked his personality and his business perspective. Unlike most CEO’s Ankur goes to work in casual clothing.
4.) What did you learn about yourself during your trip?
I always thought it is easy to adjust and adapt but that was not the case within my first days, I think maybe It is because I expected a formal standard quality of training that I am used to In South Africa or even more especially with the fact that it was global programme. Startup Safari programme was not formally structured. If there is one thing that was well planned it was the entrepreneurial ventures visits and rest we just took each day as it came. India reminded me to remain humble and be grateful for everything I have and make use of every opportunity presented.
5.) What was the most valuable thing you learnt as an entrepreneur?
Package yourself to sell yourself: Most entrepreneurs do not write and keep record of their stories and experiences as result many rich stories and moments fade away without being well captured. This was emphasised again by Shreyasi Signh who is an Author of Wealth Wallahs. She said, “As entrepreneurs it is better to write your own stories and keep record of every moment and that will be better than having some journalist capturing your stories from their own point of view.” Let your work speak for you.
6.) Tell us about some of the connections you made….
During the trip we also visited the South African Embassy in India and that was when we were told about the support that the Embassy gives South African entrepreneurs who are ready to scale up globally. I now know that should I wish to expand my projects SA embassy in India is one of the Embassies I should contact. I think embassies can also be used as mirror that will give us a true reflection of how far we are as country and how other counties view us. I am about to propose relationship (mentorship) with one of the Indian CEO’s (Ankur Warikoo-Nearbuy).
7.) Is there anything you will do differently after your time with Strartup Safari?
One of the things I will do differently is to try to be more effective and efficient. Being an entrepreneur is not easy especially when starting something from beginning, sometimes along the journey one becomes lonely and demoralised as result progress is very poor due to procrastination.
8.) What part of the trip inspired you the most?
Seeing beautiful counties such as Dubai reminded me that hard works pays off and if one can continue with dedication and persistence more goals will be achieved and more dreams will come true.
9.) After everything you learnt, what is one thing you’d like to pass on to the ACTIVATE network?
Activators should make use of every opportunity presented to them, mostly stop expecting much from A! Organization the least one should expect is necessary tools and support. One of the criteria/requirements Indian funders expect from startup entrepreneurs is seeing an effective team and finding a team especially as beginner is not easy for people who come with different expectations and goals. Therefore Activators should start working together, more collaboration will result in more successful stories.
10.) And lastly, would you do it again?
Yes of course, Indian government offers entrepreneurial support and opportunities particularly for beginners and what is more nice is the fact that you don’t have to be Indian to access or benefit from Indian opportunities, you just have to be based in India to operate.