Back in the day, Sakyasingha Mahapatra used to sit in a café behind BMC Bhawani Mall in Bhubaneswar and would talk to youngsters about robotics. He would offer to teach robotics to those who showed interested. In June 2010, ten students agreed. That’s how SakRobotix was born and today, they have impacted one lakh students and have 55 labs in schools and colleges across the country. “If our cricket team can win the World Cup, why can’t we make India the robotics hub of the world?,” asks Mahapatra passionately. He is confident that once he takes robotics to the grassroots, people will fall in love with the subject, just like he did. He is also the founder of Gyanx which offers online study materials and kits for robotics. But his entrepreneurial journey doesn’t end here.
“I have faced several challenges in life and I did not want others to face the same,” says the 33-year-old when he cites the reason behind creating a popular Facebook group for entrepreneurs. The members meet on one Sunday every month to network and talk. Last Sunday, they met for the 70th time. “I keep telling entrepreneurs that just like in Baahubali, Mahendra Baahubali’s sword is his weapon, digital marketing and smart tools are the weapons of entrepreneurs,” says Mahapatra, who is now using his expertise to guide entrepreneurs in Odisha. Speaking of this coastal state and the spirit of start-ups here, he says, “The youngsters here have a lot of energy and passion.” He also adds that mentorship for start-ups is the need of the hour to channelise their energy.
Mahapatra, who is a native of a small hamlet on the banks of Chilika Lake called Banapur, is also the brains behind Odisha Startup Summit which is held every year from January 11 to 13. “I organise this with the aim of building an ecosystem right here,” he explains. He intends to travel to every district of Odisha to deliver inspirational talks and encourage youngsters to solve their own problems. He is also working on generic business plans which he will share with the locals and later on, they will be available on his website as well. “Youngsters want to copy paste nowadays. They see a Flipkart and want to create something similar locally. They need to understand that their solutions need to cater to local problems,” he says and suggests that one needs to add value to their community with their start-up and also create livelihood opportunities for the people around them.
Mahapatra is an alumnus of Institute of Engineering and Management, Koraput. He is also a motivational speaker
Before we sign off, we ask Mahapatra for one definitive tip for all those who aspire to become entrepreneurs and he says, “Network, network, network. Also, respect and celebrate each entrepreneurs journey.”