Stories to Inspire

  • The young achievers of the INK Fellows Program of Ixoraa Media, founded by entrepreneur Lakshmi Pratury. Photograph courtesy Lakshmi Pratury
  • The INK Fellows Program buttresses the INK Conference, which brings speakers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to tell their stories in 3- to 18-minute talks. Photograph courtesy Lakshmi Pratury

Lakshmi Pratury was the co-host of the first TEDIndia talk and is the founder of the INK Conference, a platform for game changers to share their stories and ideas.

Entrepreneur Lakshmi Pratury is, at heart, a curator and a storyteller. After completing her M.B.A. from Portland State University, she worked for several years in the United States before ultimately returning to India. Since then, she has been working on social entrepreneurship and community enhancement.

In India, Pratury continued the U.S.-India connection, working with the charitable trust, the American India Foundation, where she founded the Digital Equalizer program. This initiative has brought technology education to over 2.8 million children and 131,000 teachers in 15 Indian states. The Digital Equalizer program aims at bridging the educational and digital divide by equipping public schools in India with computer centers. She was instrumental in bringing the first TED conference to India, which was held in Mysuru in 2009. That’s how her passion to bring education and storytelling together in India began to flourish.

As founder of Ixoraa Media, which hosts interviews and events featuring prominent personalities, Pratury had the experience and wherewithal to move ahead and start INK, a platform to exchange cutting-edge ideas and inspiring stories. In 2010, Pratury curated and hosted the first INK Conference in Lavasa, near Pune.

INK, which stands for Innovation and Knowledge, brings a variety of speakers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds—business, arts, culture and technology—to tell their stories in 3- to 18-minute talks at INK conferences. “INK is a platform for innovation operating at the intersection of science, technology, community and culture. We work across communities, age groups and disciplines to create conversations and instill an innovation mindset. The INK network brings together people through different impact-driven programs, engaging events and our annual conference,” states its website.

The conference is buttressed by the INK Fellows, program that fosters thought-leaders in the region. “The INK Fellows Program brings together a young, global and cross-disciplinary community of path-breakers who we believe will be the shapers of tomorrow,” says the INK website. This provides the peer-support necessary to take brilliant work to the next level.

This year’s INK Conference took place in Hyderabad. The theme was Billionaires of Moments, which refers to the idea that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. In this way, the conference aims to acknowledge such moments as these, and to create them, “to pause, reflect and redefine success on a new barometer” that takes into account meaningful experiences as an integral aspect of success itself.

Like other INK conferences, this iteration offered a variety of events and elaborations of the theme, including curated workshops, master classes, experience zones, musical performances and themed dinners.

In addition, the INK Master Class Series presents educational opportunities that extend and underscore Pratury’s commitment to continued development and impact within the region. These courses provide an interactive learning experience, fueled by INK faculties and game changers. Renowned experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, business, finance, technology, art, architecture, design and health are connected to college campuses across the world through an online platform. These master classes, curated especially for students and faculty across engineering, management, science, commerce and arts, help ensure that Pratury’s vision to propel the world forward through education, knowledge and storytelling comes true.

Trevor Laurence Jockims teaches writing, literature and contemporary culture at New York University.