Indian Army organises the first-ever startup weekend in Jammu and Kashmir

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Army along with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) organised the first of its kind startup weekend aiming ‘to propel entrepreneurship growth in the region’ of Jammu and Kashmir. The programme culminated on Sunday at Udhampur.

The Army in its formal communication said, “The Counter Insurgency Force (Uniform) organized a Startup Weekend under the aegis of White Knight Corps in collaboration with Technology Business Incubation Centre (TBIC), Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU)”.

The three day startup weekend began on 20 September 2019 and culminated on 22 September 2019. To give them the exposure of real entrepreneurship, more than fifteen mentors/investors were invited from all over the country.

The goal, as per the Army, is to help the youth become job creators rather than the job seekers. Talking about the aim of the activity, the army in its release said, “The Startup Weekend was conducted with an aim to propel entrepreneurship growth in the region and witnessed large participation.” The Indian Army, under its ‘Operation Sadhbhavana’ has been mentoring the youth of J&K to become ‘Job Creators rather than Job Seekers’, added Army.

Seniors officers of the Army and the University were present on Sunday while students of various university and colleges of Jammu and Kashmir and local entrepreneurs pitched their ideas during the event. “Major General D S Gill, Chief of Staff, Headquarter 16 Corps witnessed the event on 22 September 2019 and addressed the gathering. Major General Dhiraj Seth, General Officer Commanding, Counter Insurgency Force (Uniform) also interacted with the participants.” Army said.

“The participation by the students reflects the mind shift of youth of J&K towards entrepreneurship especially after the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.” Said Army.

All participants had 60 seconds each to pitch their ideas, these pitches were then whittled down to top ideas and teams were formed around the top ideas to come out with a prototype or a sale-able model/project. The Weekend culminated with the demonstrations in front of audiences of judges and potential investors.

Two workshops on ‘Minimum Viable Product and Prototype Creation’ and ‘Drive Sales Through Effective Communication and How to Pitch’ were a great success among the participants. Panel discussion on ‘Way ahead for Startup Ecosystem in J&K’ was also organised for non-participating visitors. The highlight of the event was the Investors Meet where the bootstrapped startups of the region were able to present their business model to the investors. This is the very first time that serious investors and mentors have interacted at the grass root level with the business owners.

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