Archives for category: Knowledge

Who says farmers are always toiling away in the fields and do not have fun? I had a chance to meet Eshwarappa Siddappa Banakar, from Hireyadachi in Haveri district of Karnataka at the Millet Mela last weekend. The fair was jointly organised by the National Agricultural Innovation Project, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Pristine Organics and Sahaja Organics. Creativity was at its best display as they put their act together to promote the use of millets in daily food habits.

Tastefully decorated stage adorned by millets

Eshwarappa had brought with him atleast two dozen varieties of millets – jowar, ragi,sajje and other medicinal plants. He adorned a beautiful cap made out of millets and had factual stories to share about the vital need to focus on alternatives to cash crops such as rice & wheat, which were popularized post The Green Revolution in India. In the conventional argument of pro-mass production drive we chose to drive the farming community to focus only on the high yielding varieties. This meant that we did not get a closer look at the local geographical conditions and choose crops which suited the micro-climate of that region. Instead, wesupplemented the soil with fertilizers and pesticides and would invest millions of dollars to build large dams which would bring in water for irrigation. Cash crops are highly water consumptive which has resulted in a variety of challenges in agriculture.

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What did Steve Jobs mean when he used this phrase during his speech at the Stanford Commencement ceremony a few years ago? Yes. He was referring to the unending quest of human beings to solve challenging problems and create knowledge.

What does this phrase mean in the context of the Acara Challenge? Are we all being hungry and foolish by participating in this competition? The very idea of entrepreneurship itself, be it purely business or social, has been associated with the words ‘hunger’ and ‘foolishness’ for decades.

Recently, I started reading this famous book by the name ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. Written by the IIM-A (Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad) alumnus, Rashmi Bansal, who happens to be an entrepreneur herself, this book talks about the story of 25 IIM-A alumni who left their conventional jobs to pursue their dreams and set up successful enterprises, some of which are widely known today in, India and across the world.

What does it take up to be an entrepreneur? Yes, you got it! Hunger and foolishness. The courage to pursue one’s passion combined with a relentless spirit to fight every challenge that comes along the way! A smart brain combined with a commitment to make a difference. A commitment to create value.

What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? This is the question which the author puts to every entrepreneur in the book. Vijay Mahajan, Founder of Basix (one of the first microfinance firms in India) and an alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM-A says, “ The single most important quality you need to have and cultivate further is to get up and walk every time you fall down…But the second and equally important ability one needs to cultivate is the ability to learn – from experience, from critics, from competitors, from failures, from summer trainees, from mother-in-laws and from regulators…..entrepreneurship is a social construction – it is a phenomenon where certain behaviors get expressed in certain individuals, due to the support of their ‘eco-system’ – colleagues, family members, investors, regulators, competitors and customers.”

To listen to more of these wise words from Vijay and other entrepreneurs, I would urge you to read the book. Wish you all the best in your quest!