Surat (Gujarat) [Surat], October 21: Pay it forward: an initiative to bring together pioneers of the IT industry in Surat saw its pilot event in the last week. As an initiative to pay forward the gratitude for nourishment and growth industry without anything in return.
The event was inaugurated by Dr. Anand Deshpande (CEO, Persistent Systems). Dr. Deshpande congratulated panel members (Dr. N. L. Kalathia, Sailesh Khawani, Jitesh Kapadia, Vipul Kapoor, Ashish Narola, Dhara Shah, Naren Burade, Mickey Shah, Vishal Rajpara, Dr. Rakesh Doshi, Ritesh Mehta and Suresh Kalathiya, Mitul Golakia, Varun Trivedi, Hiral Gondaliya, Neerka Tandon).
Dr. Deshpande emphasised the importance of scale and growth through collaboration, encouraging software builders of the Gems and Jewellery industry to join the workshop at IIT Bombay. In a pandemic context, he recommended retaining urban talent as they are already working from home and leveraging industry expertise at scale. He suggested establishing boards of advisors and independent directors to stay focused.
Panel discussion on industry insights and solutions to critical problems at present started with Ashish Narola (CEO, Narola Infotech) exploring the availability of good talent and emphasizing on training, stating ‘if we assume that employees will leave after training, what if they are not trained and stay?’ Dr. Rakesh Doshi (PhD, Traders’ Psychology) encouraged owners to be driven enough, stressing that one does not have to be a leader to lead; leadership comes with the drive.’ Jitesh Kapadia (CEO, August Infotech) emphasized a top-down approach to empower management and team leads for greater results and scale of businesses. Ms. Dhara Shah (Director, Sanskruti Technologies) emphasized leveraging local talent and prioritizing tech expertise over soft skills. Privileged education was clarified by panellists Sailesh Khawani (CEO, Hard n Soft Consultancy) and Ms Shah as a privilege for an initial career but experience and passion as proper drivers for sustainable success. Suresh Kalathiya (CEO, Ebizz Infotech) emphasized the importance of creating a support system.
Vipul Kapoor (Co-founder, Ezee Technosys) shared a remarkable IT journey with emphasis on building a business rather than joining the bandwagon of start-ups, emphasizing on clarity and prioritizing on being a businessman rather than an entrepreneur to ensure business longevity. Mr. Khawani and Mr. Kalathiya amplified the message by articulating the need of creating a support system. Dr. Doshi advised on an understanding of the business model before thinking of a start-up. Varun Trivedi (Co-founder, Iconscout) drew audience attention to explore all funding options from VCs to non-equity grants and government programs. Mr. Khawani, Mr. Kapadia and Dr. Doshi emphasized building financial literacy with a humorous anecdote: if you hire 1 person and pay him for 2, he’s bound to work equivalent to 3.
Vishal Rajpara (CTO, Casepoint) focused on a solution-oriented approach: solving the problem is essential than building a product. Growth was further perceived as health, wealth, happiness and spirituality by panellists. Mr. Mitul Golakia (CEO, InfyOm Tech) addressed the industry shift from ‘talent searching for jobs to companies searching for talent’ over a span of years in Surat and how talent filtration has shaped the resource crisis in the IT sector for the region. Mr. Rajpara emphasized the need for newbies to channelize research, seek guidance from veterans and build an ecosystem. This was further echoed by Mr. Trivedi via Iconscout journey from Surat to Bangalore and back, highlighting the potential of the city and its culture in the IT sector.
Pay It Forward Panel explored various issues ranging from efficiency in recruitment by connecting appropriate talent to appropriate company, to breaking comfort zone, understanding business model, thinking of start-up as business and bridging the skill gap via corporate training or formalized way with universities academic outlets in the city. Veterans encouraged mentorship opportunities and how to absorb shocks from failures, navigate common potholes and improving the infrastructure for all.
Dr. Naren Burade advised the current generation to use reliable resources while avoiding short-cuts that can prove futile in the long term. Intelligent interaction of 3 hours created a feeling of belonging for techies in the cities and opened doors for fellowships and friendships.
The event saw vibrant culture with the opening performance of Bharatanatyam and an enthralling flute performance by Suresh Kalathiya at a conclusion. Coruscate Ventures, the organiser of the pilot event, celebrated its 8th anniversary at Platinum Hall, SEICC, with veterans of industry coming together for panel discussion echoing the need for innovation, entrepreneurship, mentorship, product-market-fit, talent retention, training and scaling from regional to global scale.
Everyone at Coruscate Venture companies (DhiWise, Zujo, TallyWiz and DiamNow) attended the event. In keeping with the spirit of the 8th-anniversary celebration, all were decked up in stunning sarees and blazers, making the event a unique intersection of the corporate and cultural landscape of IT in Surat. Vishal Virani, the CEO, concluded the event by quipping ‘Innovation has no designated place; it finds its way when we appreciate the resources at hand. Going to Silicon Valley is a mindset; learning from it to build an equivalent or better community here at home is a far more important pursuit.’ Kalpesh and Rahul echoed the same message by quoting Isaac Newton, ‘If I am able to see further than others, it is because of standing on the shoulders of giants”.
The city of Surat echoed the potential of the tech industry as equivalent to that of textile and diamond as the next generation continues to flood Surat IT Industry. Pay it Forward is intended around identifying, recognizing, and celebrating IT industry experts and their expertise. The intention is to build and nurture IT Infrastructure to ensure that city of Surat is able to promise, deliver, and sustain innovation and technological revolution.
Pay it Forward is an ethos of DhiWise where the critical focus is on uncovering stories of success and failure alike that remain hidden and undiscovered. People of Surat have written programs and systems. Program as simple as Daalroti.org and as complex as Global Positioning System. Surtis are essentially living breathing books with a lot to offer in terms of advice, expertise and insight. Pay it Forward intends to uncover as many stories as possible. As Vishal Virani (CEO, DhiWise) puts it, ‘If 10 people from 500 companies of Surat come together every quarter, we could have a tech-convention of 5000 people, that’s a tremendous opportunity to connect, share and celebrate’.