Dr. Vipul Lunawat
Founder & Director of ISST
We as Victorytales, In the latest interview, spoke to yet another passionate entrepreneur Dr. Vipul Lunawat. To understand more about his interesting journey as a sportsman and an entrepreneur, the quest started at an early age because he was fond of Roller Skating and has been a skater since an early age of 5.
Dr.Vipul Lunawat did Ph.D. in Sports Management, MSc Electronics from the University of Pune, Master’s Programme in Business Administration from Institute of Management Education, Pune, and BSc Electronics from the University of Pune.
Besides above, Vipul did Level 02 Coaching certification from Australian Ice Racing (AIR) in Short Track Speed Ice skating, & certified by Olympic Solidarity, Melbourne, Australia. He also possesses the Certification in the International Skating Union (ISU) Regional Officials Course for Short Track Speed Ice Skating. Dr. Vipul was part of the Indian contingent as a coach for the Short Track Speed Skating teams at the Singapore Open, 2014 and the Thailand Open Championships, 2013, South-East Asian Trophy 2019, Singapore. Competed in Roller Skating World Championships in Venezuela-2003 as a part of the Indian Junior Team. Competed in Roller Skating International Championships in Ostend, Belgium-2001, Serpa, Portugal-2001. National medalist in RSFI Senior Mens Inline Speed Skating. State Level Gold Medal, Basketball. Coach, Roller & Ice Skating at Snohvit International Ice Skating Club and ISST Sports Academy, Pune. Coached 3000+ students in roller & ice skating since 2004. Vipul has also been involved in organizing various world-class sports events, since 2004.
About the company - Institute of Sports Science and Technology i.e ISST is the first institute in INDIA providing courses in Sports Education & Sports Management Education. Modern sport covers a broad range of areas, be it ethics, medicine, technology,finance, law, education or sociology, to name a few.
ISST with its modern course structure will provide a launch pad for those who wish to pursue a career in the field of sports and believes that at the beginning of a new era, the sport is in urgent need of higher competent, well trained and experienced sports administrators.
The ISST will have a unique network of multi field expertise; it will develop and apply knowledge to the study of sports in connection with technology, management, medicine biology, law, economics,logistics and sociology, to name just a few. ISST supports sports innovations, technology transfer and business development.
Our exclusive interview with Dr. Vipul Lunawat:
On inquiring from where did the idea to start something like “ISST” come from and requesting him to tell us about his background and his journey as an entrepreneur, Vipul apprised that ;
I have been a Roller Skater at an early age of 5. My mother is a national level basketball Gold medallist and so the love for sports runs in the blood. She was the one to introduce me to sports and skating. With the vision of my mother, dedicated efforts, and a lot of hard work, I went on to represent India at the Junior World Championships in 2003 in Venezuela and also in various other international events. Due to my focus in academics, I quit the professional sport in 2006, and just to be connected with the sport, started coaching young kids in roller skating. During my days as a skater and also a coach, I experienced a huge gap in how my sport is governed and managed. There was absolutely no structure in place to develop, nurture, and promote young athletes in the field of sports. Hence in 2007, I applied for a Masters in Sports Management in various Universities/institutes in Europe. I was pursuing my MBA at that time in Pune with Dr. P.C. Shejwalkar, a senior educationist as my guide and mentor. While discussing going abroad for higher education, where the fees for the course were much higher, he suggested that I start a sports management program in Pune itself, given my background in sports. And so in 2008, under the guidance and support of Dr. P.C. Shejwalkar and my mother, Ujwala Lunawat, established India’s first dedicated sports management institute, the Institute of Sports Science & Technology (ISST). The initial years were tough, as this was a totally new and innovative initiative, and I had no experience in starting a new venture. But with Shejwalkar sir’s support and the direction we established one of the first sports management courses in India.
On enquiring from him about the choosing entrepreneurship over the job, Vipul narrated that;
I have done my Masters in Electronics which has never interested me much. My interest was always towards playing sports and I have been actively participating until the first year of my masters. The IT sector was booming at that time and there were new opportunities available but I chose not to go for any interviews. I always wanted to do something different and had a passion for giving back to my sport in some way or the other which made me start coaching even after I discontinued my sports participation. Secondly, coming from a business family I was more aligned towards starting something of my own rather than working for someone else. And with luck, I got a career opportunity of my liking and started ISST.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I have always believed innovation happens when you do something out of the box. And I think, to be a successful entrepreneur or for that matter a successful human being, you should have a profound passion for whatever you do. India has a rich sporting culture, and we are just lagging behind in the field of sports as we don’t have a proper management structure in place. The want for doing something fruitful to uplift the sports scenario in India has been a driving force for me as an entrepreneur. It took me a while to realize that one should keep working towards the goal with excellence and other things follow.
Please tell us about your source of motivation?
My mother has been a constant source of motivation. She always wanted me to achieve what she could not as an athlete in her sports career. She has gone through all odds to support my career in sports. Apart from that, I get a lot of motivation from young kids I coach. The hard work and dedication these young kids put to develop their skills are truly inspirational and motivating.
Please tell us about your source of motivation?
My mother has been a constant source of motivation. She always wanted me to achieve what she could not as an athlete in her sports career. She has gone through all odds to support my career in sports. Apart from that, I get a lot of motivation from young kids I coach. The hard work and dedication these young kids put to develop their skills is truly inspirational and motivating.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
Almost 9-10 hours a day. But as an entrepreneur you have to be alert and attentive 24X7, so the work goes on like forever.
Tell us about the uniqueness of your startup?
ISST was started, not with the motive to make huge profits and make money. It was started with a noble idea of supporting the sports industry with innovative management practices to help develop better athletes and bring laurels for the country. The most unique feature of ISST is that it is a self-funded organization. ISST has been able to generate revenue streams that have helped it to be self-sustainable. The distance education programs which we offer help us to break geographical barriers to education and students enrolled from all over the world. Another USP we have is that ISST runs its own grassroots sports coaching academies providing students an opportunity to learn through coaching kids and managing various sports events.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
When you start something new, it is obvious that stress and pressure come along. My biggest stress buster is the coaching I do with kids for roller skating. It actually takes my mind off from all other things I am involved with. For me, the other best way to handle stress, pressure, and be productive is to divert the mind from the thing which gives us stress. I keep myself either occupied with work, or hobbies, or playtime with my dog. One tip for being stress-free is to keep a light heart. Don’t think much about things which give you stress and it will be taken care of.
How do you generate new ideas?
I don’t think there is a formula or process to generate new ideas. They just come or let us put it in this way, it’s god’s gift to get innovative ideas. I think for any entrepreneur to be successful the idea is the most important. You can surely achieve success if the idea is different and innovative enough. A quick tip would be to think out of the box or to do things in a different way for generating new ideas.
How did you come up with the name for your Institute?
Sports in this era is not just limited to on-field practice or play but also the use of science and technology to improve performance. When we started ISST, we intended to interlink the fields of science and technology with the field of sport and hence the name Institute of Sports Science & Technology (ISST).
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
One mistake every entrepreneur does is to expect fast results. I think young students should first do sound research, backed with educational qualifications for starting anything new. They should have a clear vision and goal of what they intend to achieve and what work they want to put in to achieve their goals. Without passion, there is no success. Students should keep working hard passionately, and not just hard, but skilfully hard so they move towards their goal. Results don’t come overnight and it may take a while for anything new to show results. Malcolm Gladwell in one of his books says you should work 10000 hours to achieve mastery in any field. And if we apply the same rule to new ventures, it takes 1000 years for any business to flourish. So if you put 10 hours of passionate work for 1000 days, you can become the master in that field and your business will surely show shoots of success.