Mrunal Manmay Dash

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted the youths of India to rise and showcase their entrepreneurial skills, Indian youths responded in an emphatic manner.

As many start-ups made rapid strides and added fuel to the growth juggernaut of the country, four youths from Odisha dreamt of making it big in life. They decided to hop onto the start-up bandwagon in a quest to do something different for themselves as individuals and for the state of Odisha.

Samar Pratap Nayak, Olive Ridley Media

Samar Pratap Nayak is the founder of Olive Ridley Media. By virtue of his success, Samar was recently featured in the prestigious Fortune India magazine; and in the process, went on to receive the distinction of being the youngest Odia to do so in the magazine's '40 under 40' category.

Samar, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and a B-School in Bhubaneswar, never wanted a 9-5 job. In fact, he knew from the very beginning that entrepreneurship not only creates opportunities for employment, but it also provides the much-needed freedom of thought as well.

It was evident when he told Fortune India Magazine, “The beauty of being an entrepreneur is having both the opportunity to creatively solve a problem and the freedom to test your solutions.”

With his innovative, enterprising approach, Samar took to building Olive Ridley Media with ‘Design Thinking’ being his secret ingredient. He set up his office in Bengaluru, for obvious reasons. But he later decided to make his home state Odisha his base, aptly justifying the name of his firm, Olive Ridley Media. As the endangered Olive Ridley turtles that return from as far as Europe and Africa to lay their eggs at home along the Odisha coast, the media and communications brand set up by Samar also returned to its home state to sow the seeds of growth.

This pioneer knew that applied creativity would be the key to disrupting an industry that lacked innovation. By introducing concepts like contextual branding, meme marketing, and influencer outreach, he brought about a branding renaissance in Odisha.

When OTV caught up with him, he was eager to share his journey thus far.

Speaking about the feeling after being featured in the magazine, Samar said, “Happiness apart, as an Odia, it gives me a sense of victory. I can now see the stereotype associated with us slowly fading away. When we closed down our office in Bengaluru to move to Odisha, we faced resistance from friends and colleagues. Reasons were many; from not-so-skilled manpower to not enough business opportunities to grow. But I had made up my mind to change that perception and not only set up my business in Odisha but grow too. The validation that Fortune India has provided me is a testament to the changing perception of Odisha. I feel victorious to have done so.”

As far as his business model is concerned, Samar incorporated the concept of ‘Design Thinking’ into the mix, which as per his statement, aided him to think differently and solve the clients’ problems in a jiffy.

“Design thinking is a concept that enables me to see the problem from a different perspective. When people focus on the solution to a problem, this concept makes me look at the problem itself, albeit more thoroughly. And when you analyse and understand the problem, it becomes easier to provide a solution to the client,” Samar said.

Asked about the business climate in Odisha, Samar said, “I never thought Odisha will be so reciprocative to new ideas. In fact, after analysing the market I came to know that Odisha is lagging behind on innovative ideas and alternate ways to market its products. When I pitched my ideas, the clients were more than happy to entertain me and that reflected in the results.”

Parthajeet Patnaik, Director, Falcon Group

Parthajeet Patnaik ventured into the realm of real estate after completing his MBA from the University of Hertfordshire, London, in 2008. With his leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence, he went on to lead Falcon Real Estate Pvt. Ltd. to unprecedented growth. Parthajeet’s love for his home state, Odisha, goes beyond his successful business ventures. He has contributed to the state’s economy by forming 12 modern retail seafood outlets in Bhubaneswar under Falcon Marine Exports Ltd.

Like his father, the young industrialist is altruistic and generous, and his company, reflects this in its operations. The Falcon Group has expanded rapidly under his direction, generating an astounding INR 2800 Crore in revenue.

Jay Dash & Suma Dash, Ashwini Group of Hospitals

Jay Dash, Director Strategy & Suma Dash, Director- Finance, Ashwini Group of Hospitals, the power couple took a momentous decision to quit a comfortable American life and return to work in their homeland at the peak of Covid. They had followed lucrative professions in investment banking with Lehman Brothers and Nomura in London, management consulting with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in the US, health AI development with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and corporate strategy in Silicon Valley.

Their five-year strategy intends to bring to Odisha the most prosperous and necessary businesses from all over the world, not simply those in the healthcare sector. 

From the first ever Wellness Centre in Bhubaneswar that boasts of bringing many preventive and rehabilitative healthcare verticals under one roof, to starting a chain of new-format Pharmacy stores that bring medicines and convenience together in a 24x7 format with home delivery, all achieved within a year.