AIC-GUSEC Foundation is a not-for-profit company promoted by Gujarat University and supported by Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog, Government of India. The company is established with a vision to be a global support system for innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups creating an impact in the society through innovation. The company aims to offer comprehensive incubation services for innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups at zero cost. Currently, they are incubating about 35+ social startups in India and aim to incubate 100+ social startups by the end of march 2022.
Manan Bhatt, the Senior Associate Partnerships at AIC-GUSEC, started by explaining the organizational structure saying, “Gujarat University Startup & Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) and AIC-GUSEC Foundation (AIC-GUSEC), both being a Section 8 Companies are promoted by Gujarat University where, AIC-GUSEC is one of the prominent and dynamic Startup Incubator, Specifically focussing on backing up Social Startups and Innovations in which are aligned to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in the state of Gujarat whereas, GUSEC is one of the India’s leading startup support system is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for setting up a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and various other departments of central and state governments.
The Business Incubators have numerous grants offered by various government organizations and associations, grants ranging from as mere as 2 Lacs to 50 Lacs for completely equity and debt-free to the startups. As they are zero-cost incubators, they don’t take anything from the startups in return. They also provide them with legal support such as ITR facilities and filing patents. A dedicated pool of private investors for the startups is also accessible.
Every quarter, the AIC team conducts a startup summit for industry leaders and innovators. Manan described the goals of these summits, saying, “The startup summits aim to build a community of innovators and industry leaders to discuss how technologies have helped evolve the agriculture sector as a whole. The summit also works as a medium for sharing ideas and new developments in the agricultural field. And finally, it is also used to launch a competition for new startups who have innovative ideas and need incubation and auxiliary support.”
About the event
The startup summit for Q3 of 2021 was conducted on the 24th of July. AIC-GUSEC, in association with HnyB Tech-Incubations Pvt. Ltd., launched this year’s Agrovation challenge during the same event. Manan elaborated their agenda, saying, “The startups/Innovators will be selected through a unique nationwide challenge based on real-world problems. The participants are asked to submit their ideas for the Agrovation challenge before 15th August.”
He further explained the nature of the event, “It is a long ongoing event where the participants go through many Boot camps and an unique entrepreneurial expenditure. And the final candidates for incubation are selected by an expert panel that scrutinizes their ideas from every perspective. We planned to get 300+ startups to register, of which only limited ones are ultimately selected for the incubation process, and the table toppers decided by the juries would be awarded with prize money upto ₹ 5 lacs.”
Challenges (And Solutions)
Challenge 1 : Finding a platform that replicated their event setup and branding while maintaining optimal engagement.
“Since we represent a community, meeting and greeting people was an essential aspect of the events. And going online meant trying our best to replicate this experience through a virtual events platform,” said Manan, stating their primary challenge with conducting virtual events. They wanted the event to have their exact physical event branding and people involvement for consistency and quality outputs. This also meant having a strategic and attractive exhibition space for startups while promoting engagement among the various members throughout the summit.
Here’s how Airmeet served their unique demand through these features:
When asked why he chose Airmeet as their go-to virtual platform for summits, Manan mentioned, “We had looked for many different options before. But there are some features that only Airmeet provided, like the option to customize stuff and the ease of its usability, the tables feature, networking feature, that really amazed us, and we went ahead with it.”
Manan further explained how they repurposed the social lounge space saying, “We utilized the social tables as a startup exhibition space where we named 50 of the tables for individual startups with their logos. So people used the same space for speed networking and checking the exhibition. There were more than 100 participants here, so it was definitely good for the startups to gain good recognition.”
They planned two summit events each quarter, so each event was planned in a perfect manner. The AIC program team was able to rebrand every aspect via Airmeet, right from the receptions, to the social lounge, to the session banners according to their event plan. This majorly helped their partner startups connect with the event while casting the best first impression on the new participants.
When asked which feature the audience enjoyed the most, Manan said, “It (polls) was good for the audience. We had particular types of polls in different sessions, and they enjoyed it.”
Manan also highlighted this feature, saying, “They also enjoyed the Q&A feature because their questions were being read out and answered. The speakers also appreciated it.”
Challenge 2 : Having a partner platform that offered conclusive and presentable data about the event with long-term support.
Since Startup Gujarat supports them, the AIC team was required to present them with necessary statistics at the end of the event in their data structure format. This would become a painstaking job as someone had to keep track of various factors throughout the event and manually create the required reports.
Also, since they hosted these summits all year round, they needed a virtual platform that could work as an ad-hoc support team for all their future virtual event plans.
And here’s why the AIC team chose Airmeet for the job:
Manan extended his team’s feedback on the analytics they got after the summit saying, “Thanks to Airmeet’s Post-event analytics, it was quite easy for us to provide them that data. Compared to the manual reports my team had to create with other tools, with Airmeet analytics it was much easier for us to recognize the number of attendees, the ratios, graphs, and charts. We were able to submit everything in a detailed manner.”
Onboarding & Support:
Towards the end of our conversation, Manan reminisced on his experience with Airmeet’s team as he mentioned, “To be honest, we have experimented with other similar products, but we still chose to stick with Airmeet due to our relationship with the people. I’m always in conversation with my Airmeet Account Manager, we have many conversations about our event challenges, and he is really good at keeping everything on track. When we tell him we want to do an event, all he asks is when we need to do it, and things are taken care of.”
He also recollected another incident saying, “Our account manager was also extremely empathetic when we had to cancel one of our events. He was always eager to know about our situation and really helped us out throughout the situation. That might not have been possible with other platforms.”
When asked what he and his team loved the most about Airmeet, Mike said, “We had table talks, speed networking, global chat, people following each other and conversing. We tried to use all the features of the platform to build a community among our audience. We watched people on Twitter using the branded hashtag for the event, #AgencySummit. We could see that the impact was there. People were tweeting not only the powerful lessons they were learning at the event but also how much they were enjoying the event and the platform, and just having a great time.”
If you want to partner with us and host such life-like and impactful large-scale summits for your company, reach out to the Airmeet team for a demo right away!