BENGALURU: An entrepreneur is put through a rough, emotional roll-coaste, be it for managing human resources or ensuring smooth operational processes. Bootstrap at Breakfast is a group of entrepreneurs in the city who meet and discuss their everyday roadblocks – one that outlasts the funding and technological hiccups.
Four years ago, Ahimanikya Satapathi and Pradip Shah with similar corporate background started this group. Ahimanikya says, “After a lay off in my company, I decided to start a business on my own. For the first couple of years, I could manage with the experience I have. But I realised, I needed help in various things – other than technology or finance. When things did not work out in the office, leaving us emotional, we did not know where to go. There was no group in Bengaluru back then that discussed business beyond technology and finance.”
Hence, they started a group where they could discuss operational or emotional issues. Pradip Shah adds, “Our corporate experience is not important, what we are doing by running this group is that we are giving an almost anonymous platform for business people to bring and discuss problems they cannot discuss elsewhere.”
They meet every alternate Sunday morning for breakfast to analyse problems and come up with solutions. Ahimanikya says, “There are random questions that they come up with. It could on how to recruit or how to price a product or service. We all then analyse and tell him the area where he can figure out about the pricing. A member had also asked what should be done when the employees do not behave well.” Pradip adds, “We discuss this over food as it is also important. Food brings out the emotions.”
Ahimanikya adds, “There was a man who came with his girl friend and said that her father would not allow him to marry her unless he gets a job. He came for the meetup twice or thrice. After two years, he came back to say that he is very happy now. His venture is doing well too.”
The group has about 5,000 members on meetup.com and 14,000 on its Facebook page. They mainly comprise early stage entrepreneurs or even pre-startup founders who are currently working in a corporate setting , but are looking to start a company of their own. There are also a few experienced businessmen who join the meet-ups to share their experiences. Pradip says, “We glorify the fresh college graduates who get large funds. But VCs too agree that a very high percentage of their startups fail.”
The group has several constant participants, but every meet-up attracts new ones too. The count of women entrepreneurs is low. “About two to three women come for the meetups,” says Pradip.
Ahimanikya and Pradip admit that while there are a lot of women who venture into their own business, their percentage remains lower in comparison with men.
“There is a need to promote women entrepreneurs. They can perform better than men. Our respective wives are also into business with us. So, we have women entrepreneurs at home,” adds Ahimanikya.
They say that they do not treat this group as a business project. It is just a new learning experience each time they meet, so, they enjoy doing it, the two add.