Yashraj Akashi is the curator of India’s largest TEDx conference — TEDxGateway. The conference will host 20+ speaker and 6000+ attendees in its 10th edition. Having worked closely with the government, top Indian conglomerates and MNCs, he has also helped maneuver international entrepreneurs in Indian markets and is currently building India’s largest Science & Innovation Fair and a Campus Ideas Sharing + Mentorship Program.
Journey of over 10 years
“Over the last nine years, the TEDx platform has grown to become the largest TEDx conference with all the millions who watch the talks, the 400-odd speakers we hosted and over 28,000 attendees. When we host such large events, we create content that resonates with people, connects with them and inspires them and lasts for life. That’s what we have achieved! “In 1984, TED began with the aim to bring together ideas and knowledge, and share it for free. When I first heard of TED in 2009, it was when the first TEDIndia was launched. When TED events organised independently would be permitted if guidelines were followed and licenses earned, we were one of the first in India to organise the TEDxDelhi and TEDxGateway. That how we realised that India needed a platform that went beyond just news, and content on Bollywood — a platform to host great ideas. That’s how the 2010 TEDxGateway was conceptualised, and we worked to build this unique property that it is today.
“From a 300-attendee event, it has grown to one with 5,000-6,000 attendees. From a core team of four, we stand at a 35-people-strong team today that works throughout the year. We recognise that we have the responsibility to grow a platform in India where loads of people share their ideas that carry beyond India, thus making it truly a gateway. “Eight months ago, we hosted our last event that completely changed the format from being an 1100-attendee event to one with 5500 attendees. It’s not only the size that changed but also the way we look at ideas. We now seek raw, real and relatable ideas; we want to talk tech ideas that affect the status quo on TB or crime in India and such, with an emphasis on healthcare, and grassroot-level ideas affecting farmers and children. I cannot think of any other platform that puts such ideas on the forefront. On the audience side, the emphasis is to have more students attending. “Our speakers are selected for their unique body of work and insight, and for being ready to share that knowledge with perspective and impact.”
“Every year it is amazing to see our attendees growing younger. This year the youngest attendee is seven-eight years old and the oldest is 94. When such a wide spectrum of people come together, you really want to build a bond that lasts.”
Yashraj is responsible for Marketing and Communication for the 2009 Mumbai City District Elections. He has been the curator of TEDxGateway, from the start.
(This 10th edition of the TEDxGateway sees over 20+ speakers from different walks of life sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration the world over. Over 5500 attendees are slated to attend this feast of ideas and inspiration on December 2 at DOME @ NSCI Mumbai.)