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YFECon2016 – Where Idea Met Experience

YFECon2016 - Where Idea Met ExperienceThough food industry is the major part of the retail sector and contributes majorly to the GDP of the nation, the simplest knowledge about the precarious food start up may not be known to the youth who do not belong to the business family. A simple proposition to make young start-ups aware of the dangers, prospects, financial investments, funds, to help them build networks and enhance their brand equity in the coming time, Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference 2016 was conceptualized.

The event was held at the prestigious J.W. Marriott, Juhu, facing the pristine waters of the sea. Everything planned and everybody ready for the D-Day, Mr. Ashwin Bhadri gave an opening oration on ‘7 Qualities of Successful Food Entrepreneurs’ which spoke on passion, vision, networking, testing different solutions, innovation and caring for those intertwined with your business. “People, who don’t innovate, cannot survive,” were the wise words.

Rohant Shyam, Head of Business for Zomato, spoke on the role of POS in the country. Providing various options to the customers for making payments, one-stop destination for restaurant discovery and the work flow of transaction with merchants; in all, both B2B and B2C executions were discussed.

‘How I jumped off the Cliff and made Soul Care happen for me’ is how Ms. Mridula Agarwal described her start-up!

She spoke on various detailed aspects about Food Technology, which meant food hygiene, processing technologies, packaging techniques, innovation in machineries, planning and designing the production and processing unit/facility, customized technologies for particular foods, etc. She added that experience of any kind comes handy, as her banker stint helped her in finances.

Dipak Sanghavi, Marketing Director of Nilon’s, answered many whats, whys, and hows of food industry. He imparted information and gave a practical picture of why should one start a food business in the first place, how innovation and out-of-the-box thinking takes one places and the pivotal Law of Diffusion in Innovation, referring to innovators, adopters, majority and the laggards. He believes people, emotions and marketing are sides of a pyramid, and how a company can benefit from these three. Focus is what he particularly emphasized on.

Pankaj Bhadouria, India’s first Master Chef and a successful Entrepreneur herself spoke on ‘The trends in the Food Industry’ where she placed a very practical picture of the food and beverage service industry. How restaurant sector is growing, how Indians are ready to try new cuisines and how the service sector should capitalize from the changing trends was the highlight of the session.

She shared quick statistics which did pop few eyes and gave a sense of inspiration to the budding start-ups in the audience.

Raw Pressery’s Co-Founder and COO, Shuja Shekh’s Challenges in Production and Quality for Start-ups was spectacular. When asked how is Raw Pressery different from other fruit juices, he replied, ’Every orange is different from the other one. That is how our juices are different.’

Rajiv Tandon, the man behind Fat Man’s Café, stuck to simplicity, and delivered a short lecture on how to manage profits and quality in the emerging QSR and Bistro Trends. He spoke on the reality of operating costs, licenses, employee salaries, media marketing, changing food prices and overall detailed research on the food industry.

Shriti Chhajed, Founder of BookEventz, delivered an oration like a true professional. Her marketing knowledge is immense as she shed light on how to manage a large crowd efficiently during large events. She highlighted the diversification in customer choices, problems and the cut-throat competition businesses face.  Keeping on par with people’s needs, changing trends, focusing on sales pitch, innovation, funding options were discussed in style.

The audience was in for a treat with two panel discussions, speaking on, predominantly, hot topics – Starting your own or becoming a franchisee and challenges of raising funds, both of which prove as a big odd against your business development. Guided by Ms. Chandni Sahgal, Head of D’Essence Consulting, and Mr. Ashwin Bhadri, both the panels saw the panel members and the audience pumped up for a great one-to-one discussion. Everybody had a lot to ask and a lot to give.

The first panel saw the presence of Pranav Bhakta from Nillians Hospitality, Laveena Punjabi from That Food Co., Swati Soni from That’s the Story and Chef Vidita Kamat, Founder of Mezclaa-Blend It. They all contributed in key areas, like Overview of Franchising industry in restaurant domain, fine dining and QSR, key points to remember while starting your own, the pros and cons of both, the benefits and the issues and challenges in these two options. This was an eye opener for the young minds who were swinging between the two choices.

Post-lunch, the next panel members came together for talking about the challenges faced during raising funds, which is a major problem for both start-ups and established businesses.

Headed by Mr. Ashwin Bhadri, the members were Mr. Amitabh Sinha from Desi Deli, Aditi Goel – Food-E Culinary Expert, Rajiv Indimath-Partner at InCa Growth Partners, and Shriti Chhajed from BookEventz. The hurdles while obtaining appropriate funding, the levels, whether or not your business needs funding, and the pros, cons, and issues related to obtaining financial support were highlighted. Mr. Karan Rathod of Ushvina Foods and Mr. Rajiv Tandon were actively participating from the audience. The arena was pumped up with zest and energy during the panel discussions!

The next innovative concept to be put forth was Start-up showcase, which allowed young minds and budding businesses to display their creative ideas. Ms. Anusha Bhushan from Smoodies, NR Srinivasan from Village Native Foods and Spices, Ms. Anjali from Shubh Foods, and Mr Karan Rathod from Ushvina Foods, participated in the event. The best startup showcase award was finally presented to NR Srinivasan – a glittering trophy and confidence from the audience on their start-up, to be specific.

The surprise goody bags packed with delicious and healthy products brought a smile on everyone’s faces. Our gratitude to food and beverage partners Malan tea, Sheth Brothers-Chiliflakes, Brownie Cottage, Danz bread, Jyothi Cookies, That Food Co.-Spreads and Butter, and Raw Pressery for their healthy products of delight!

We like to thank our sponsors Zomato, Investment Partners Indian Angel Network, Media Partners FNB News and Drinkpreneur for contributing immensely to the conference and making it, not just successful but magnificent as well!

YFECon 2017, will roll next year!

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