“If you want to do something, no matter what, give it a fair shot! “.
Interviewer: Divya.S (GT)
GT: Can you please introduce yourself?
Raashied: I am Raashied, and I did my Bachelors in Electrical and Electronics in CEG from 2013 to 2017. I was also the president of Capitalize, the entrepreneurship club of Anna University, from 2016 to 2017. With the help of many others, we were able to launch our flagship event Enantra.
GT: What inspired you to come up with Enantra?
Raashied: There was a start-up boom in Chennai from around 2010 to 2011, and the idea of entrepreneurship started to become more commonplace. In CEG, we had Techofes and Kurukshetra that were both cultural and technical festivals respectively. We specifically wanted to conduct an entrepreneurship festival that the entire state could experience. Furthermore, with our college being right in the middle of Chennai, the entrepreneurship hub of Tamil Nadu, we knew that the event could potentially gain a lot of traction. However, this would not have been possible in the first place if it hadn’t been for the work Alagappan, Mansoor and the rest of our team put in to make this a reality. I am happy to see more colleges conducting management fests now than there were back then.
GT: Enantra kick-started a drive for entrepreneurship in our college. How did you go about building a team and brainstorming ideas to make the first edition a success?
Raashied: Before I stood for the presidential election, my friend and I decided that we needed to make this event a success no matter what it took. We figured that the chances of it happening were low, but we were dead set on trying. When we approached the CED director, Dr G Ravi Kumar, he helped us out a lot and pushed us to aim even higher even though we wanted to start small. We went about our club affairs similar to how most companies operate when they first start-up. That being said, the key difference was that there wasn’t a real hierarchy when it came to the decision making process. Everyone had the freedom to come up with ideas and work on them, and we were lucky enough to have a lot of like-minded people who had a lot of good ideas join the club.
GT: What goals did you have in mind when you started Enantra and were all of them achieved?
Raashied: The tagline for the first edition was "Go big or go home". This was our first hurdle. Thankfully with the help of the team, we were able to overcome it. We started working on that motto by reaching out to several respected speakers, out of which some attempts ended up being successful. As silly as it sounds, we even tried reaching out to the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg every day. While we all knew we were not going to get a response, we still thought we should try it out. Since it was our first time organising something like this, we had a lot of room to experiment and weren't bound by a set of rules or anything.
GT: Starting up such a large scale event is no easy feat. What were some of your biggest obstacles during the planning stages?
Raashied: We faced two major obstacles while organising. First, it was hard to push the idea to everyone in our college because many people were not satisfied with the ideas we had for the event. On top of this, not everyone was willing to spend on it since it was new. My biggest fear at the end of the first edition was if we would be able to continue to conduct it in the future. The second obstacle was building our brand for the first time for sponsorships. The other events in college had it way easier because they had the recognition, unlike Enantra at that time. These factors made it a little hard for us to find sponsors.
GT: What, according to you, is being a good leader?
Raashied: My peers knew me as a friendly and easy-going person. In my opinion, a good leader treats all his team members equally regardless of hierarchy. It is really important to be receptive and listen to the opinions of people who are younger or less experienced than you. Communicating your thoughts effectively and debating over the best course of action with them is vital to your success as a team. You have to find the right balance between being firm and lenient while also constantly being open to new ideas all the time.
The Guindy Times thanks Mr Raashied for sharing his valuable experiences with us and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.