Core Committee

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Dr Sapna Poti

Principal Scientific
Advisor's Office,
Government of India

Dr Sapna Poti is deputed to the Principal Scientific Advisor’s Office, Government of India from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras). Her primary role is to promote Scientific R&D and Innovations for social impact, engaging Science & Technology Clusters across India for meeting the National Plans of National Missions & Priorities including COVID-19, Doubling Farmers income, Make in India, Water mission, to name a few. This is undertaken through strategic partnerships with Government of India, Industries, Research Institutes and International bodies. Dr Poti is a PhD from IIT Madras (2011) and has around 26 years of experience in Industry, Consulting and Government. Her previous stint was with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs as Head Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Centre of Sustainable Development under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Prior to this, she was in leadership roles in Skill Development with Tata Trusts and National Skill Development Corporation (under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship). Dr Poti has industry and consulting experience with ITC, Hewitt Associates, Deloitte, Kirloskar Systems, Tata Infotech and Crompton Greaves. Dr Poti is a member of Niti Aayog’s expert Group of Skill Development for the Mountain States. She is a member of GIZ MSME committee, MESA’s advisory committees and Board of studies of skill development and educational institutes. Dr Poti is a Chevening Awardee (2015). She has authored many national and international journal papers.
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Nagaraja

Nagaraja (Naga) Prakasam

 

Mr Nagaraja (Naga) Prakasam is a passionate leader with 27 years of global experience as a leading angel investor, mentor and fund advisor. He holds a B.E. degree from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, India and an MBA degree from the San Diego/Kennesaw State University, USA. His mantra is “Start-ups should focus on India’s strength – People, Problems, and Technology (PPT)”. To get a first-hand experience of the rural needs, he travels extensively across rural India. He is a sought after thought leader in Impact space who has inspired large student communities. The Forbes magazine has featured him as ‘Social investor engineering social change’. He was given the opportunity to be a part of the launch of Bank of Innovations and Ideas (BII) by Ministry of Rural Development along with Dr Abdul Kalam. He was awarded “Successful Person 2015/ Vetri Tamilar” by Sangam4, Chennai. He was also a part of the State Start-up Launch along with the CM of Rajasthan and Assam. Through his funding initiatives, he has enabled, nurtured, incubated and invested in various entrepreneurial ventures. He has been a part of the expert jury panel at the Govt. of India National Entrepreneurship Award, Govt. of Karnataka Elevate, Forbes 30 under 30 programs. He served as the President of Atlanta and San Diego Chapters for the Association for India’s Development (AID), which received Times of India Social Impact award in 2011 from the Prime Minister. He has been on the advisory board for several innovative ventures including, FarmersFZ, Carbon maters, Neurosynaptic, Sattva Consulting, Saahas, Feshworld, and many more. 

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Dr Kalpana Sastry

Agricultural Scientist

Dr Kalpana Sastry is an agricultural scientist with more than 30 years experience in ICAR system. Currently she is leading an initiative to establish Centre of Agri innovation and Entrepreneurship at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, (PJTSAU) Hyderabad. Graduating from the prestigious Indian Agricultural Research Institute with a specialization in Mycology and Plant Pathology, she joined the Agricultural Research Service in 1984. In 1996, she joined as faculty in ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) where she worked in various hierarchical roles and was the Joint Director of the Academy till 2017. Her research areas include agricultural innovations, intellectual property management systems and policy issues in agricultural research management. Associated in technology backstopping activities for a wide range of stakeholders including grassroots innovators, farmers, students, scientists, academia and entrepreneurs, she is engaged in the specific fields of IP informatics, technology management and in upscaling of innovations for agri-rural sectors. Dr Sastry spearheaded the team to establish the Centre for Agri-innovation (CAI) at NAARM which facilitates several opportunities to the entrepreneurs through various initiatives. She was also associated with ideation and launch of the First Food & Agribusiness Accelerator in 2015. Since last four years, she is also a mentor/advisor to several agri-startups across India. She also worked at TISS (November 2017 till May 2020) where she was engaged in taking these activities forward through teaching and research programmes across the agri-rural sectors and catalyze initiatives towards enhancing livelihoods of all stakeholders in agri-rural communities.
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Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi (IVK)

Technologist

Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi (popularly known as IVK) is the Co-Founder and CTO of Crayon. Data, a Big data & AI product company at Singapore with a development center in Chennai. Crayon Data works in the area of market analytics in B2B space covering BFSI, Retail and Travel & Hospitality sectors. He is also an active member of Indian Angel Network, a syndicate for early stage capital to invest in the start-up companies. In social impact segment, he is a partner with Acumen Fund in India. He served as CTO of Wipro earlier before entering into the startup world. He is one of the core members of CII’s Innovation council and a charter member of TiE. He serves on the National Startup Council of CII and leads the content development task force for Startups and MSMEs in India. He is the lead author of the popular book, “A Manual for Indian Startups” published by Penguin India. He holds a BE degree in Electronics & Communications engineering and an advanced leadership certification for senior executives from McGill University in collaboration with Lancaster University, UK and IIM, Bangalore.

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Neelam

Neelam Chhiber

Neelam Chhiber is Co-founder, Industree and Mother Earth. For the past three decades, she has been working on the creation of a regenerative economy backed by India’s 200 million strong artisanal work force. Her work is now transforming into building a Platform for Inclusive Entrepreneurship with technology enablers so that solutions being built could use the power of networks and scale faster. (PIE.Foundation). Neelam is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Initiative, Catalyst 2030, a movement of NPO’s, enterprises, intermediaries and funders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (https://catalyst2030.net).