While the national level technical innovation and business plan competition- Pragati has usually been held at the premises of SFIT, Mumbai, this year, due to the travel restrictions and safety precautions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision had to be made to organize the event online.
The event was a grand success, and the virtual medium – using Zoom breakout rooms allowed Pragati to connect teams and field experts from all corners of India, like never before. A total of 83 teams had participated in the competition, with 45 teams in the Technical track and 38 in the B-Plan track.
The Elimination Rounds were held from 22nd to 25th March for each category and the Final Round, on 26th March and 27th March, for Technical and B-Plan respectively. The Judging Panel consisted of prominent Industry experts, researchers and successful entrepreneurs. This time, from as many as four different continents and varying time zones!
A virtual exhibition was also put together on the official website of Pragati, at exhibition.ecellsfit.com with the displays of projects to give the viewers a real-time experience. The presentation for the technical projects were also live-streamed on the Youtube channel of ECELL SFIT.
To enrich the event, expert talks on various topics concerning entrepreneurship and innovation were given by –
• Mr. S.K. Mohanty (Co-Founder and CTO Innovative Fintech, Founder MENTORKART) • Mr. Uday Birje (Co-Founder and Director Thinkstreet Technologies)
• Adv. Madhavan Srivatsan (Managing partner Law office of Adv Madhavan Srivatsan) • Mr. Wilson Pinto (Training and Placement Officer, St. Francis Institute of Technology)
The inauguration ceremony was virtually held on 26th March, with Dr.Aparna Rao, Senior Project Manager, DS School of Entrepreneurship, IIT Bombay gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Once the final round had completed, the valedictory ceremony was held on 27th March via Zoom and Youtube. Mr. Milind Mandlik, Regional Director, Supply Chain, Asia Pacific, Ashland India Private Ltd had graced the final Pragati session as the chief guest.
Once Mr. Mandlik had delivered his keynote address, the winners of Pragati 2021 were virtually announced and felicitated.
While a major milestone was achieved through the virtual organization of Pragati, and there has been great feedback from all those who were involved, there are, like in every situation, improvements that can be made to better the virtual experience for Judges and Participants alike. Taking these into mind, and with a steady resolve to change India through Pragati, the organizing team looks forwards to organizing Pragati 2022 in March’22, and invites teams from all over the subcontinent to participate!