04 Nov Entrepreneurship Fest at Woodstock 2022
Regional Schools Take Part in First-Ever Woodstock Entrepreneurship Fest Supported by WS India, UK Alumni, and Knowledge Partner Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs
On 15 October, Woodstock School’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Fest was brought to culmination. Student teams from Woodstock and local schools delivered business pitches for Woodstock School alumni and staff judges as a final round for award selection. Awards included Best Junior Team (under 15 years) business pitch as well as Senior Team (aged 15 and older) business pitch in the categories of Best Idea, Most Creative Idea, and Most Social Impact. Participating schools included Woodstock School, The Asian School (Dehradun), Mussoorie International School, Aryan School, Shri Ram School, and Tula’s International School (Dehradun).
This student-driven event, which was quickly brought together in just over one month, saw great support from within the Woodstock community. The Centre for Imagination and Woodstock’s Advancement and Alumni Office collaborated with Business faculty Tilak KC and the student organising committee to support this event’s success.
Student pitches featured businesses focused on a variety of goods and services, including online sports organising, feminine hygiene products, clothing and footwear recycling and upcycling, innovations in composting, online learning, urban gardening, and childcare. Presentations were often inventive, using questions and skits to engage the audience. Given that the entire competition took place over just one month, many business plans were impressively detailed, with thorough budget projections and insightful assessments of competing companies.
Woodstock General Body member Rajesh Kohli ’84, Director/Founder at U&I and VR-1 Group, championed the event. He served as an in-person judge and brought Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs (HAE) on board as Entrepreneurship Fest’s knowledge partner. Joining Mr. Kohli in judging the event were fellow alumni entrepreneurs and business leaders Rahul Amin ’71, Woodstock School Distinguished Alumnus and Chairman and Managing Director of Jyoti Group; Dr Vivek Tandon ’88, Founder and CEO of revalyu Resources; Manav Mehra ’96, Director at Turnaround Ventures; Ronjoy Rao ’00, Owner and Managing Director at SNEHA Doon; and Yu Sung Eo ’11, Co-Founder and CGO/CFO at Got Tea Bubble Brew Co.
Julie McCulloch, founder and former proprietor of Elevated Ice Cream and Chocolates in Port Townsend, WA came to Woodstock along with her husband David McCulloch ’70, who was about to embark on the Hanifl Centre’s fall alumni trek. She serendipitously discovered the event while touring campus and also offered feedback to the student presenters.
During the day’s program, most of the judges delivered talks sharing their own lessons learned while pioneering their businesses and organisations. Many alumni talks traced back to Woodstock and/or included stories of collaborations and mentorships that emerged from the Woodstock network.
The alumni talks elicited much excitement and reflection among the student and faculty attendees from the region. Meanwhile, the alumni judges enjoyed being able to lend their support and suggestions to a variety of young entrepreneurs while returning to campus, whether in person or online.
With entrepreneurial passion rising across the nation, we were thrilled to launch a business competition for like-minded entrepreneurs and feel strongly that it needs to continue. From ideating to developing a business proposal to presenting it, about causes that matter, our organising team envisioned this as a highly impactful experience for student entrepreneurs across India - Shivom
Following student pitches, Dr Vivek Tandon ’88, a serial entrepreneur remarked,“ I loved the passion of some of the presenters. It comes across strongly that they believe in what they are doing, which is wonderful!” Dr Tandon, who attended Woodstock only for fourth and fifth grade, began his talk with his time at Woodstock. He shared his business ideas and lessons learned from dealing in Indian goods he would take home to Uganda with him as well as rhododendrons and rhododendron jam on the hillside!
With the pilot of the Woodstock Entrepreneur Fest a decided success, plans for the next one are being discussed! Shivom ’23, one of the student organisers, wants Entrepreneur Fest to be added to Woodstock School’s annually calendared events. “With entrepreneurial passion rising across the nation, we were thrilled to launch a business competition for like-minded entrepreneurs and feel strongly that it needs to continue. From ideating to developing a business proposal to presenting it, about causes that matter, our organising team envisioned this as a highly impactful experience for student entrepreneurs across India.”
Business faculty Tilak KC is also eager to build Entrepreneurship Fest as a way to encourage students’ opportunities for receiving motivation and feedback from both peers from across the region and those who have already established their own businesses. Following the event, Mr KC shared his hopes for the event’s future: “I would like to see Entrepreneurship Fest occurring with the same kind of scope and involvement as the pan-India Win Mumby basketball tournament at Woodstock. It would work beautifully as a multi-day event bringing together young entrepreneurs from across the country.”
Rajesh Kohli, too, expressed great enthusiasm for the potential of this event. He urged all attendees to begin planning for the next Entrepreneurship Fest and spreading the word about it. Meanwhile, he has set his sights on attaining greater involvement from Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs, Woodstock Community members involved in business, and other partners and sponsors.
Katie Jo Walter, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations, gave special thanks to Mr Kohli for his efforts towards this first Entrepreneurship Fest. She committed her office to helping attain the increased involvement Mr Kohli envisioned by conducting greater outreach to Woodstock alumni, former staff, and parents involved in business and facilitating their contributions to Entrepreneurship Fest. “Woodstock is known as a dynamic place that produces and attracts ingenious, bold trailblazers from highly varied communities and backgrounds. Many of them have established successful business ventures across the country and around the world. I look forward to optimising ways they can share their expertise and incredible personal examples to inspire and educate young entrepreneurs!”
Congratulations to the Entrepreneurship Fest business pitch contest winners!
Written by Katie Jo Walter, Advancement and Alumni Relations Director