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‘Entrepreneurship isn’t rocket science. It is just a mindset, a perspective’

Mr. Pranay Sehgal, AIMETC alumnus shares his advise as an entrepreneur and gives life-lessons to students

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Mr. Pranay Sehgal is an Apeejay Institute of Management and Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) alumnus. He is the Managing Director of his company: Jai Ambe Enterprises. He was recently awarded The NBT Business Icons Award for his stellar business contribution in the MSME sector. In an exclusive interview, he shares his journey at the campus, gives life lessons to students and shares his vision about entrepreneurship. Edited Excerpts:

Please tell us about your current work profile?

I am running my own company: Jai Ambe Enterprises. We have a brand name: Polestar for bags, backpacks and rucksacks. We manufacture these and we are among the top 300 sellers at Amazon across all categories. We are amongst the top three leading companies in the luggage category at Amazon.

What was the inspiration behind choosing this field of work?

I got a campus placement at JCT Phagwara after my MBA. Everything was perfect. I had got a job as an officer. They were training me to replace the AGM (Assistant General Manager) in a few years. But just after a week there, I realized that I would get limited and my thinking would get stuck at only JCT.

I come from a business background actually. So, I started a new business very soon. I felt that if I continued with JCT in the corporate sector, I would hop from one company and city to another in the coming years. It would be the cycle of trying to rise in the corporate ladder by switching between companies by taking the better option from time to time. I was instead attached to my roots. I wanted to live with my parents and take care of them. So, it was a good decision, I feel. I started from a 200 sq ft rented space. Now we have our own 12000 sq ft space. It was a good journey. I just followed the cosmic plan (laughs)

What are some of your best memories from AIMETC days?

I joined AIM (it was just AIM in our days, there wasn’t any engineering course. It was only for management) for BBA. That was the first batch of BBA. AIM had started that year only, so we were the first batch of AIM.  Later, I also went on to do my MBA from AIM. So, I studied there for five years.

AIM campus started within the ACFA, Jalandhar campus. Within the ACFA campus, there was a building designated for AIM. Mr Nagpal was the founding director.

There are so many memories but one makes me proud even now. I remember me and my friend had participated in the declamation contest of Rotary International. HMV College, DAV College and many other renowned colleges from Jalandhar had participated in it. We won that contest. I got the second prize and my friend got the fourth prize. So we won the overall trophy as well. It was the first trophy that AIM had won at an inter-collegiate level. I was very proud to have won the first trophy for my college.  

What life lessons would you like to give a student at AIMETC?

I would say that entrepreneurship is an excellent thing. After your graduation, you have nothing to lose. You don’t have any worth immediately after completing your studies. In a corporate set up, you might start with 1 Lakh rupees a month which in four years’ time might become 2 lakh rupees a month. But then, you’ll develop a comfort zone which would make it difficult for you to switch to entrepreneurship. You would fear losing out on that huge salary. It would be difficult to take the plunge. But right now, you are so young and enthusiastic. You can go to the corporate world anytime. But if you do well as an entrepreneur, you can multiply on that. In case you don’t, your experience as an entrepreneur, of working for yourself, will certainly help you in the corporate world as you will put in the same efforts for the company. You won’t go unnoticed and you’ll rise quickly. It’s a win-win situation. Just give yourself a chance.

20 years ago it was very difficult for start-ups. Now the platform given by the government for start-ups is very good. The ground for startups is fertile now, in our time it was a rocky terrain. We had to dig hard. (laughs) Now the networking is so much better for start-ups.

How did AIMETC help you in pursuing your passion?

AIM gave me the campus placement. So they fulfilled their primary role. See, the way a father fulfills his responsibility by getting his daughter married, similarly AIM fulfilled its responsibility by getting me the placement (laughs.) Basically, my journey began from AIM.

Entrepreneurship is being taught to school children now? What is your take on that?

Entrepreneurship is not rocket science. It is just a mindset, a perspective. If you give that mindset to young people it is good. I appreciate it.

In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has started the Business Blasters classes. Students are full of exuberance. They have a nothing to lose attitude at this stage in their life which is required in entrepreneurship. I read today in the newspaper, that Apple has hit 3 trillion dollars in terms of market cap while India still aims to be a 5 trillion dollar economy.

We can also achieve this. I want this change in the Indian ecosystem. My father lived in USA briefly. He told me that the new corporations there often give universities and institutes their projects when they face a problem. Students work on the project. That way they not only get absorbed in the industry but also give the industry a new perspective. So, it is good if we bring schools and colleges to a platform.  

I remember, I started in 2002. As an entrepreneur, I was thinking of winding up around 2012. No one thought of expansion. It was only after 2014 and the policy changes that came in 2016 with GST that we started thinking about expansion. We were afraid of excise earlier, that it would make one uncompetitive and keep one within a limit. So the policies and the outlook of the government has changed. It’s very encouraging now.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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