Lemon Ideas in association with Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) and with Nation Next as the media partner, recently hosted ‘I-Summit.. Emergence of Desi Power’ at Banyan Hall, Chitnavis Centre, Nagpur. This was the second edition of I-Summit which is aimed at bringing entrepreneurs, students, professionals and budding entrepreneurs under one roof so that they can learn from the experiences and expertise of their role models and entrepreneurs who have made a mark and change the rules of the game.
Being in sync with the theme of this year – Emergence of Desi Power – Venkatesh Iyer, Founder, Goli Vada Pav was invited to share his story with Nagpurians. Also present at the summit were Pranav Sharma (Owner, Baidyanath), celebrity chef Vishnu Manohar, Deepak Menaria (Lemon Ideas), Mukesh Ashar (Convener of the summit), Akash Agrawal, Atul Pandey (President of VIA), advertising professional Sanjay Arora and others.
Stories worth sharing!
Before Venkatesh, who’s often affectionately called ‘Venky’ took to the stage, to share his experiences, Nagpur entrepreneurs too shared their experiences. While Deepak Menaria spoke about Lemon Ideas and its inception, Akash Agarwal and Atul Pandey spoke extensively about VIA and the reasons for organising the I-summit. It was indeed a treat for the audience when Pranav Sharma spoke about Baidyanath and shared his experiences managing the ayurvedic giant. Vishnu Manohar too gave an insight into the food business as he revealed how he was demotivated initially for having Marathi cuisine at his restaurant but he held onto his belief and finally succeeded. Vishnu also expressed happiness on being present to welcome Venky as he said, “Venkatesh ji ko sammanit karne Vishnu ko bulaya!”
Making of Goli Vada Pav
Venky started Goli Vada Pav’s first outlet in 2004 in Mumbai (Kalyan) with the punch line ‘Vada-pav + cutting chai + aamchi Mumbai = awesomeness.’ Today, in 2016, Goli Vada Pav has more than 350 stores in 90 cities and 21 states across India! Sharing with the audience as to why he chose vada pav as his business idea, Venky said, “I saw a Vada Pav stall on the roadside once. Behind the stall, there was a big hoarding of McDonalds. I thought ‘If McDonalds can have such a big hoarding, why can’t be there a hoarding for the Indian burger?'” Venky wanted Vada Pav to stand tall among the pizzas and the burgers of the world and that strong will laid the foundation stone for Goli Vada Pav. Explaining furthur why he chose Vada Pav, Venky added, “There are three important aspects to a vada pav – It’s fast food, it’s finger food (it’s prepared quickly and eaten quickly by customers) and it’s mobile food (it can be taken anywhere).”
One wonders why did Venky keep the brand name as Goli? Venky said, “In Mumbai, everybody talks like a tapori! If I would have chosen a English sophisticated name for my product, it would not have worked!”
Never say die!
During his presentation, Venky also revealed how he went bankrupt. He then explained the importance of having belief in your idea and keeping calm. He said that there’s just one option you should exercise – ‘Go ahead, never say die, no matter what!’ At the I-summit, Venky also launched his book – ‘My Journey with Vada Pav.’
Speaking exclusively to Nation Next after the summit and giving a tip to the budding entrepreneurs, Venky said, “Don’t give up on your dreams as every business has risks and losses involved. Mistakes will happen but if you lose your hope, you will lose a chance at the business. Go, explore, make mistakes because mistakes can be fruitful and beautiful at times.” About his visit to Nagpur, he said, “I loved my visit to Nagpur and the energy Nagpurians have is infectious!”
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Photos by: Suyash Sethiya