BML Munjal University Empowers Early-stage Startups at the Fourth Edition of Propel Pitchfest23

  • In BMU’s Propel Pitchfest23, the investors collectively have shown interest to invest about USD 1 Million in funding
  • The first edition of the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Society (EIS) Conference demonstrated the power of entrepreneurship and innovation in driving economic growth and social impact
  • BMU continues to lead the charge in fostering entrepreneurship and social innovation in the higher education realm

BML Munjal University (BMU), a Hero Group initiative, reaffirmed its position as a leader in promoting the entrepreneurial spirit in higher education with the successful conclusion of Propel Pitchfest23 on April 27-28, 2023. Hosted by BMU’s Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC), the event brought together talented young entrepreneurs from across India to showcase their ideas and network with influential industry experts, investors and thought leaders. The Pitchfest was complemented by the first edition of the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social (EIS) conference, which explored how entrepreneurship can be a force for positive social change.

The collaboration between Pitchfest and EIS was aimed to unlock the potential of growth-stage startups across various verticals. More than 300 startups from across India participated in Pitchfest23. The grand finale on April 28, 2023, saw a panel of investors evaluating the 14 shortlisted startups based on their live pitches and their ability to address social barriers through social enterprise, and social innovation. The top 14 ideas across segments like sustainability, e-mobility, manufacturing, and automation under the pre-revenue and revenue track received an opportunity to incubate their venture at Propel Incubator @BMU. There was a greater emphasis on women-founded startups this year. The Pitchfest had partnered with 10 Angel Investors network, early-stage venture capitalists, and had support from HSBC.

Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore along with other dignitaries, graced the event with their presence and released the proceedings of the conference. He emphasized the importance of such events in achieving entrepreneurial success, citing BMU’s role in developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Further, he highlighted that combining academic conferences with startup events that share similar themes is a fruitful idea. Moreover, he shared the 8 Steps of Innovation: Building a Systematic Innovation Capability with the audience.

In addition to the funding and incubation support, the startups also had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to angel investor networks, including Lead Angels, Venture Catalysts, ah! Ventures, Fluid Ventures, Agility, and Indian Angel Networks, to name a few as well as a chance to network with successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the startup ecosystem.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Davinder Singh, CEO, ACIC-BMU Foundation, said, “In its 4th successful edition, Propel Pitchfest23, a platform provided by Atal Community Innovation Centre, Propel Incubator at BMU continued the legacy of encouraging new ideas and innovations. We are quite impressed by the spirit of the youth of India. This is a platform dedicated to providing budding entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase their ideas and connect with potential investors, partners, and mentors. By conducting events like Pitchfest23 and EIS, BMU is fostering collaboration between policymakers, academia, and industry to help startups grow and succeed. Congratulations to all the participants, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

Parallely, the one-of-its-kind EIS conference showcased how entrepreneurship can address social problems and foster social good. The conference featured paper presentations, a qualitative research session and two insightful panels. The first panel, titled ‘Mainstreaming Impact Investment in Startups: Imperative for the Future,’ explored how impact investment can support startups that generate social and environmental impact, as well as financial returns. The second panel, ‘The Role of Academia in the Startup Ecosystem in India,’ highlighted the critical role that academia can play in nurturing and empowering startup founders and innovators. The conference brought together experts, including Mr. Param Singh, Founder, MoooFarm, Ms. Hanisha Vaswani, Founder, Majority Fund, Dr. Thillai Rajan, Founder, YNOS & CSR, IIT Madras, Dr. Nikhil Agarwal, CEO, SIIC & AIIDE, IIT Kanpur to name a few.

Dr. Deepak Pandit, Chair Professor- Innovation and Entrepreneurship, BML Munjal University said, “The EIS conference was a resounding success, bringing together top experts in entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology to explore how entrepreneurship can drive positive social change. The insightful panel discussions shed light on important topics such as impact investment in startups and the role of academia in nurturing startup founders and innovators. We are thrilled to have provided a platform for such meaningful conversations and look forward to continuing to foster innovation and entrepreneurship through events like EIS at BML Munjal University.”

During the EIS conference, 57 papers were submitted from around the world, with 9 papers shortlisted for the final round. The winning paper, “Social Sustainability in Circular Economy: Current Conversations and Future Perspectives on the Role of Entrepreneurship,” was written by students from the University of Eastern Finland. The second runner-up was a tie between two papers: “Impact of Organizational Lack on Administrative Innovation in AI and ML Business Environments and Investment Banks” and “The Self-help Group & Women Entrepreneurship in Dried Flower Handicraft: A Case in West Bengal.”

Dr. Arun Sahay, Dean, Birla Institute of Management and Technology, sharing his point of view, said, “Entrepreneurship without innovation has no root and innovation without entrepreneurship has no fruit.” He pointed out that clubbing Society with Entrepreneurship and Innovation has been a great initiative and further highlighted the rising interest of venture capitalists in supporting social businesses.

Through events like Pitchfest23 and EIS, BMU is nurturing young talent and providing a platform for participants to seek inspiration in innovation and demonstrate their ability to analyze problems and come up with executable solutions that address significant challenges in India and abroad. Several students and alumni venture teams have been mentored at Propel in the past including BatX Energies and BlissCare.

About ACIC-BMU|Propel Incubator @ BML Munjal University

ACIC-BMU | Propel Incubator @ BML Munjal University has been established with the support of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) at NITI Aayog to encourage and support the aspiring entrepreneurs in their pursuit of innovative solutions and develop entrepreneurship among the students through its programs and activities. It provides regular interaction, mentoring and training with successful entrepreneurs, angel investors and industry experts. There would be regular competitions (ideathons, pitching, etc.). The student teams would be nurtured to form ventures and would be provided with the support to grow and gain funding.

About BML Munjal University Named after the late Founder Chairman of the Hero Group, BML Munjal University (BMU) is a unique not-for-profit initiative founded by the promoters of the Hero Group. BMU is mentored by Imperial College London and is engaged in creating, preserving, and imparting internationally benchmarked knowledge and skills. The university seeks to transform higher education in India by creating a world-class innovative teaching, learning, and research environment. It envisions becoming a nursery for the leaders of tomorrow and a repository of knowledge. The School of Management at BML Munjal University has been ranked 54th among all management institutions in All India in the NIRF Rankings 2022. It has also attained the diamond subject rating by QS I-Gauge.

The University offers undergraduate to doctoral programmes comprising BA (Hons) in Economics, BBA, BCom (Hons), BA LLB (Hons), BBA LLB (Hons), BBA-MBA Integrated Programme, B.Tech at the undergraduate level, and MBA, LLB (Hons) and Ph.D. at the postgraduate level.

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