Proud Alumnis

Proud Alumnus -Manjunath Gogi


He was a person who would never speak up. He used to stay behind a crowd and not involve in any activities at all. Today when he speaks, the whole crowd pays attention. Today he is responsible for innumerable innovations and events. He is Mr. Manjunath Gogi. Presently working at sandbox startups which is a central government recognized technology business incubator. He majorly handles the Yuva Entrepreneur Program and has been doing this for the past five years. He is very keen in understanding and grooming the ecosystem of student entrepreneurs.

“My family is my backbone. They are completely supportive. My mother in fact helps me when I am in any problems and also cheers me up when she sees me depressed”.  

The character of a person shapes from the family and this completely applies to Mr. Manjunath Gogi. He explains the support of his mother by taking the scenario that was created during LEAD Talaash. He used to be completely involved in organizing the event and thus used to go late to his house. At first, it was not entertained but when his mother started to see improvements in him and also she saw that her son was doing something great that not many regular students did, she started to support him. She realized that not only does a studious student succeeds but also anyone who thinks out of the box. “Whenever I was in trouble or kind of depressed, she would always be there to pamper, help and cheer me up”.

Where as many LEADers join LEAD through LEAD Orientation Programs, here is a story that is completely different.

Mr. Manjunath Gogi started pursuing engineering at Davangere but later shifted to KLEIT Hubli, Karnataka. He was already a month late to the college and making friends was really hard for him. Moreover, he states that he was an introvert. One day he saw a group of people along with his college PU friend at the school opposite to his college. They were helping the children and this keenly interested him and he went there. For a person who had trouble making friends, made about  seven friends in the next 10 minutes. This was a group of LEADers working on a project. The hospitability and the work they were doing triggered him and he instantly wanted to be a part of LEAD. He spoke to Abhinandan Sir and to his surprise, was rejected. “Abhinandan Sir asked me to come up with an idea and then I could join LEAD”. The next few days, he spent his time in searching for an idea but unfortunately none came up. This is when he realized that he should be searching for a problem and not an idea. At this time, he found out that his sister was a victim of eve teasing from the people who stayed at a slum nearby her school. He was not able to handle this issue by his own because he had to go to Hubli every day and couldn’t be there for her sister. He discussed this issue to Abhinandan Sir and came to a conclusion to raise a women safety number that covered only a small vicinity of the city. He approached the police department but was immediately rejected. When he went back to Abhinandan Sir, he realized that he was completely alone when approaching the police department. This led him to joining hands with few women association around his house. Now, with the support of at least 50 women, the police had to completely agree with the idea and they launched the safety number. On 8th of March, the Women Safety Number was launched and thus he joined LEAD with a bang.

The transformation of an Introvert to Extrovert

“LEAD Leadership Program was the life changer to me”, states Mr. Manjunath Gogi. “The camp taught me a lot of things and I made friends for life. From this camp, I started to speak so much that people would complain and ask me to stop”. This camp saw a transformation of an introvert into extrovert. The camp made him see his true potential. During the Yuva Summit 2014, his cousin sister had her baby delivered. She had been through a huge amount of blood loss and she was in need of blood transfusion. At this time, Manjunath approached LEAD and got two students who voluntarily agreed to donate blood. His sister actually survived because of the blood received at the right time. This situation made him realize that something must be done for the people who are in need of blood and he planned to start a campaign. Usually there are blood camps and they store the database of people and their blood groups but this is only stored with them. Manjunath collected this database and he gave his contact number to all the blood banks. So whenever there is someone who is in requirement of blood, he gets a call and he can check through the database and connect the patient to the person of the same blood group. This project stopped after a run time of five months because there was another group that was potentially bigger and served the same cause.

“I got a direct entry to LEAD Prayana but at the second attempt”

Manjunath was the LEAD Prayana Ambassador and out of 27 contestants that he had received, 24 were selected. The shocking thing is that he was also one of the 3 contestant rejected. The cause of the rejection was that he had failed his semester. This rejection did not bring him down but instead he worked on projects to prove his worth. In a duration of 4 to 5 months and with the help of his team, Manjunath completed around 45 projects. The next LEAD Prayana, he was selected even without an interview. “LEAD Prayana was an eye opener to me. I majorly got the exposure to entrepreneurship. This was the breakthrough of my life”. The ups and downs one faces at LEAD Prayana made him realize that everyone has their own raise and falls in life but the way they tackle it is important. LEAD Prayana raised the soul of Entrepreneur in Manjunath.

The birth of LEAD Talaash

Manjunath and Team lead program


During his journey he met a Mr. Anup. He was a second year engineering student and at that time, he had lot many innovative ideas but by the time he finished his engineering, he was able to complete only one project. The reason behind this was maybe lack of guidance and mentorship. This is when a thought came to Manjunath that maybe some platform must be created for such innovators. This was the birth of the idea of LEAD Talaash. The actual idea was just to conduct a technical event and find entrepreneurs. He started to raise funds for the event and for at least 3 months he struggled with the funds and permissions. The breakthrough was when he was supported with an amount of 1, 50,000 by Mr. Shashishekar. Next, the principal of his college supported by providing him the permission to host the event in the college and helping him with the hosting expenses. For the first LEAD Talaash, they got around 75 applications out of which, around 50 projects were showcased. 5 projects were selected and funded. The event was successful but according to Manjunath, it was a failure in its vision because the main vision was to convert the students to entrepreneurs. The first edition of LEAD Talaash taught him a lot. For the next edition of LEAD Talaash, the team raised their bars and had around 200 applications. This time they were successful in getting 1 entrepreneur. The third edition of LEAD Talaash saw 500 applications and the top 50 were showcased. 3 entrepreneurs were achieved from here. They also got 6 innovators. The biggest success of LEAD Talaash is that it became a complete program of Deshpande Foundation and is conducted every year.

“The complete journey of LEAD has definitely taught me a lot also transformed me into a better person”

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-27 at 8.09.45 AMMr. Manjunath Gogi completed his schooling at a Kannada based school and even though his PU College was an English based college, he and his friends would converse in Kannada only. Today, he is a very good orator in English and has been possible for him only through LEAD. The environment around in LEAD has helped him learn and converse in English. The confidence level that can be seen in him today can appreciated and he credits LEAD to this. “My presentation and thinking skills are the max today because of what I’ve learnt throughout my journey in LEAD. “You can give me any product today and I will make it big”. All the things he has leant through LEAD has seen a practical application in his personal and also his professional life. His beloved father took his last breath in the past year and the complete responsibility is now taken by him. He stays with his two sisters, mother and grandmother. He can easily handle the pressure and stress and any other problems they face. Professionally, he is able to understand all the technical problems that the young entrepreneurs face at his incubation center. He can now easily understand the technology behind an idea and help the entrepreneurs find good partners and a mentor. “According to me, a startup needs a good mentor who can help them in understanding and also guiding and also a good partner. I can make sure that they get connected to such people. I can now also make strategic calls and that’s how good I have become”, says Manjunath.

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Honors in LEAD

“My inspiration changes every now and then. The constant one that I have is Sachin Tendulkar for his dedication. He is a person who still practices cricket for 8 hours a day. That is the dedication level I am aiming at. The thing about me is that I take everybody as an inspiration, the best qualities in that person becomes an inspiration to me”. Mr. Manjunath is a person who is very much clear on his thoughts. The driving force in his life is ‘Curiosity’ and ‘Dedication’. He is a person who helps anyone, no matter a stranger. This is best explained by an example he gave. “I was riding back home and I saw an old lady who was struggling to lift her heavy bag. I helped her with the bag and also gave her a ride home on my bike. While speaking to her I learnt that she did not have any kids. So, I just tore a piece of paper, wrote my number on it and gave it to her and told her to contact me if she faced any problem”.

“Character and Competence are the best qualities one must possess”

According to Mr. Manjunath, everything comes with pros and cons but one must concentrate on only the pros. “I see a lot of fluctuation in the minds of the younger generation and everyone wants to mentor everyone else. This must be rectified”. “Learning is infinite”, says Manjunath. “There is no limit to what a person can learn and everyone can cross their own capabilities. This is what each one of us must concentrate upon and when a person believes in us, we must learn to trust them. If you want people to follow you then ‘Character’ and ‘Competence’ are the qualities you must develop”.  

Written by: Amruth S

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