A passion to scale new heights

Paramita Mahapatra, entrepreneur

  • Published 10.03.17

Paramita Mahapatra,

The economics graduate is counted among Odisha’s top woman entrepreneur. She took over a fledgling logistics company and established it as a leading service provider of construction and infrastructure projects in eastern India. 

A philanthropist, Mahapatra heads activities of the Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust, which contributes to social and community causes. A lover of art and culture, she also established the Ila Panda Centre for Alternate Healing. 

“I am proud of my womanhood, but leadership is not judged by gender. If I can call my journey a success, it is because of my ability to look for the right people and enable them to achieve multiple goals,” Mahapatra said.

Achyuta Samanta,

Founder of KIIT University and the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Samanta’s mission is to eradicate poverty and alienation through education. He also promotes the Little Miss India Competition that identifies and nurtures young talents in various fields. Samanta is also a social reformer and propagates his philosophy through the Art of Giving initiative. He has also served in 15 central bodies, including the UGC and AICTE, among others. 

“Education is key to development for any nation and I am honoured to be here. ABP had also honoured me in Calcutta, but their love for me is above awards,” Samanta said.

Supreety Mishra,

Mishra is known for empowering members of marginalised sections of society through entrepreneurship. The Cardiff 
University-educated entrepreneur’s key areas are women empowerment and sustainable development of local communities. Her trust works for the socio-economic status of farmers in northern Odisha. She outlines effective team work, time and manpower management as the undisputable marks of a leader. 

“My aim is to generate employment, especially for women. I am also on a mission to educate farmers. I was educated abroad, but my father wanted me to come back and prove myself and I am fulfilling his dream,” she said.

Yugabrata Kar,
rural development worker

In his career as a sales engineer in rural India, Kar experienced what remote destinations means. Using this experience, he stared a tourist company to showcase the cultural richness of tribal-dominated Koraput valley to global travellers who love offbeat tourism. He also started a restaurant to serve and promote ethnic cuisine. He also encouraged volunteering activities and started a small activist group that works in areas of empowerment, education, energy and environment. 

“I want to promote responsible tourism for the benefit of the local community and provide tourists a local experience. This award will act as an inspiration for all those tribal people working in most interior parts of the state,” Kar said.

Sruti Mohapatra
social development worker

Wheelchair-bound Mohapatra works for rights and dignity of differently-abled and has emerged as a role model for the physically and mentally challenged in India. The founder of Swabhiman is known for her contribution to socio-political-economic empowerment of persons with disabilities in Odisha. She initiated the Anjali project to create a joyful and inclusive learning platform for children with disabilities and those without.  

“I believe in a world where people with disabilities are equal partners in all respects and fields. We have powerful laws, wonderful policies and fantastic schemes, but unfortunately, persons with disabilities continue to remain marginalised,” Mohapatra told The Telegraph over phone.

Achyut Das and Vidhya Das
development activists

The husband-wife duo began their activism in the early 1980s to help villages get water for irrigation. They also facilitated 
rehabilitation of tribal communities and help their children get access to primary education. Their Rayagada-based organisation Agragamee is committed to rid the world of hunger and injustice. They address the poverty and deprivation of tribal communities through livelihood, education, health and women empowerment and human rights advocacy. 

“We need to be bold to change the world. Women on the ground have immense perseverance. Our leader Biju Patnaik always recognised the efforts of tribal women and I wish people here do the same,” Vidhya said.

Saswat Joshi, choreographer

The Odissi dancer promotes the art form across the globe for Odisha tourism and culture department. Joshi has Odissi 
institutes in Hungary, France and the United Kingdom. He organises the Ekalavya festival as a tribute to the guru-shishya paramapara. He also founded the Lasyakala dance vision. Every year he conducts Kallol, a free classical dance workshop for underprivileged children. These children also get a chance to perform abroad with the Lasyakala team. 

“My passion was to dance and take Odissi from the block to the international level. I feel success is a journey and one has to create opportunities for themselves,” he said.

K.C. Mishra, social worker/economist

The Ashoka Global Fellow pioneered the last mile micro enterprise model for social development called PIE Model. He has vast experience in the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) market as a development banker and established five for-profit social business outfits in India and the US. Mishra also founded eKutir, Veggie Kart Marketing and e-Kutir Global in the USA. He has also designed IT applications for small and marginal farmers. He and his organisations have won the Facebook Innovation Award and commendations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. “People told me that Odisha had no scope for my thoughts, but today I can proudly say that talented students from a number of reputed institutes are working with me,” Mishra said.

Debasish Bebartta, doctor

A doctor by profession, Bebartta leads Samvab that provides quality health care at lowest cost. His business model is similar to an insurance company where customers pay minimal monthly fee for services. Samvab has served 1,000 families for free. It also provides health care services to school and college students as well as free consultancy over phone. The organisation also has a modern vaccine centre to cover infants to adults. “Ours is a small organisation and getting such an award is motivating. We want to take this centre to other rural districts.,” he said.

Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, IT professional

The mechanical engineer entered the nascent IT and e-governance industry in India and brought transparency and good governance principles. Pany started CSM Technologies in 1998 and his business method is seen as the right model for start-ups. Pany also co-founded the Confederation of Information Technology Enterprises and the Silicon Valley-Bhubaneswar Chapter. “My father wanted me to settle down with a government job, but destiny brought me into IT. Today, I am happy that my company is working with the government in technology areas and bringing changes in the e-governance system,” he said.


It is a perfect platform for industrialists, business strategists and IT personnel to share their thoughts and look forward to opportunities in the state. Some of the speakers also highlighted various opportunities in the IT sector to be created in near future. Such events should be conducted on regular basis to encourage young entrepreneurs

Alka Bharaiwala, company secretary

We came to know about various initiatives of the state government to bolster the IT sector in Odisha. The state, which was earlier known for mines and minerals, has managed to strengthen its IT sector, and being students, we will also look forward to be a part of it. Through the event, we got a chance to interact with successful entrepreneurs


Bhagyashree Jena, BTech student

All the sessions were very interactive with speakers replying to the queries of delegates. We came to know about the steps taken by the state government in rural electrification. We are looking forward to Friday’s session where speakers will speak on skill-building and impact of robotisation on employment

Jaimala Lalwani, commerce student

A number of speakers highlighted how the IT had changed the governance in the state. Through the event, we came across several IT experts — which will help us in near future. As we are entrusted with various e-governance programmes, the event was very helpful for us. We also came to know about the future planning of the state government in this sector

Nachiketa Sahoo, Dhenkanal district e-governance manager

Recently, Bhubaneswar was included in the list of smart cities in the country and the development of any smart city cannot be fulfilled without the IT. We also came to know about the future of digitalisation in the government sector. The event was a great experience for IT personnel and others aspiring to be entrepreneurs

Aurobinda Acharya, Jagatsinghpur district e-governance manager

Compiled by Lelin Mallick