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Neil Armstrong gave pep talk to telecom executives in mid 1990s

Startup entrepreneurs should not get discouraged by detractors and should focus on their mission, said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

He was speaking at the National Conference: Development of Space Startup Ecosystem in India organised by Astronautical Society of India, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in Bengaluru on Friday.

Recalling his own experience while setting up the mobile telecom company BPL Mobile in mid 1990s Chandrasekhar said at that time many were sceptic on his venture and told him, he was not a Tata/Birla/Ambani to venture into telecom sector in which government’s regulation and policy plays a major role.

“I was then a 28-year-old startup building India’s largest cellular network at that time,” he recalled.

Chandrasekhar was then building an all India team with people drawn from defence, telecom department and others.

In order to motivate his team and himself, Chandrasekhar hunted down Neil Armstrong, the first man to set his foot on the moon.

Chandrasekhar flew Armstrong to Mumbai and got him to speak about his journey as an astronaut and also about risk taking, complex engineering and how multiple independently designed equipment worked together.

Recalling the various steps taken by the Central government like the $10 billion incentive scheme for the semiconductor sector Chandrasekhar said space, semiconductor, artificial intelligence, and machine learning offers immense innovation opportunities for India to the world.

On his part, the Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO S. Somanath said the country’s space agency gets bulk of its work from the private sector.

He said 85 per cent of ISRO’s finances were for the industries that build components for its rockets and satellites.

Somanath said ISRO gets its rocket engines from a private industry.

Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, In-SPACe said there is a need for partnership between private sector in India and Indian private sector with organisations overseas.

Goenka said In-SPACe will work on that. Daijiworld

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