J’s Sudha

Founder of Lipi

My Story

My entrepreneurial journey has been very educational and has taught me many life lessons. The entire journey of Lipi from ideation to making it a reality has been a unique experience that has been possible only because of everything I have learned in KEMI.

To have my own restaurant, I decided to pursue an MBA in Kautilya Entrepreneurship and Management Institute (KEMI) specializing in Entrepreneurship & Family Business to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. Be it the the intense coursework, projects and internships or the interaction with founders of successful domestic companies like Akshayakalpa Farms and Food Pvt. Ltd., I acquired a solid foundation on concepts related to Business models, Operations, Organizational Behavior etc as well as on the innovative and applied business models in the organic food industry and agriculture in India. As part of the MBA program, I got an opportunity to intern at the Agriculture department in the prestigious Deshpande Foundation. I had the privilege to study closely their various initiatives undertaken in rural parts of Karnataka and also the Foundation’s business model innovation that is scale-able in the social entrepreneurship sector in India. This exposure to the agriculture and food industry has played a big role in shaping the philosophy of my restaurant.
I was able to put my theoretical knowledge to good use when I worked with a local entrepreneur involved in organic farming who needed assistance in finding out what his customer base required and build a subscription model and basket options for organic vegetables and fruits. The entire process of understanding his requirements, conversing with some of the customers, conducting an online survey, analyzing it and finally presenting a solution to his problem was greatly satisfying and rewarding. This gave me a perspective on how to conduct business research as well as understand an entrepreneur’s dilemmas closely. I was always encouraged to work more on practical applications of what we learned in class and I started to develop a habit of doing the same outside the classroom as well and continued to do so while working on Lipi.
Harvard Business Review case studies have been an integral part of the MBA coursework at KEMI. These case studies always pushed me to ask better questions and the discussions in class helped me look at businesses differently. While I was building the business plan for lipi, these learnings from case studies made me ask relevant questions that I was not able to when I started the course and the business model was more refined at the end.
Apart from these, Skill Development Workshops on presentation skills, team-building skills, negotiation, communication skills, etc., have helped me overcome my shortcomings. A Design Thinking workshop by Mr.Jacob Matthew, which is based on Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” and “Start with Why” has been an eye-opener in understanding the importance of asking the right questions to develop the right product. This exercise helped in a lot of ways to answer the questions about Lipi that I couldn’t answer otherwise. Further interaction with Mr.Matthew at his Design School (Shristi) and his foundation (Industree crafts) provided valuable insights on sustainable entrepreneurship and creating a social impact. It motivated me to implement a few of these into Lipi to make it unique that helped garner the attention we got from our guests and media.
Overall, KEMI has helped me grow in many ways that made starting a business possible. When I had graduated from the Hotel Management School, I had many ideas but no clarity. Going through the coursework, I’ve developed skills and learnings that helped me focus on Lipi and make it a reality. All my experiences with internships, entrepreneurs and class projects combined prepared me to be an entrepreneur myself.