Amid the cool breeze, beautiful sea beaches, jolly ambience and party mood, there is a conference unconference happening in Goa. The Goa Project or TGP as it is known is all set and ready to commence from 7th to 8th Feb 2014. This is the second edition of the event which is one of its kind, bringing thinking and doers together in a calm and cozy atmosphere to unwind some of the important topics and thoughts.

We spoke with the spokesperson of TGP.

[Edited Excerpts]

Inc42: What is the Goa Project?

Entirely volunteer-run, The Goa Project is an “unconference” which aims to bring the movers and shakers across India and elsewhere in the region, to Goa for a weekend of learning, sharing and fun.

Last year’s event was a successful experiment the casual format worked so well. We intend to keep improving the programming and focus; the only outcome we desire from this unconference is to spark curiosity and encourage the spirit of learning, especially among India’s youth.

Inc42: Why an unconference style?

There is not much in this space. There are technology and domain specific conferences, but nothing to bring together visionaries, thinkers and doers. That’s what this “unconference” aims at doing. “Unconference” since we want to keep the atmosphere will be casual and interactive. There will be many talks and these are all designed to promote active participation. The venue is designed in such a way that it promotes interactions, conversations and exchange of knowledge. And let’s admit it – loads of fun. This is in Goa after all.

Inc42: You guys basically crowd source the funds. Why that approach instead of traditional sponsorship way?

Our aim was to reduce our dependence on sponsorships and try and also involve the community. And yes, we started with a small goal in mind – 1.5 lakhs. We were extremely humbled and happy at the same time that we not only surpassed this amount, but we also created a record for the fastest fundraising campaign by getting the amount in 2 days. Having said that, we are still short of our actual expenses that we incur to hold the event.

Inc42: What kind of people participate in the project, only startups, entrepreneurs or who?

A wide variety from different backgrounds – like we mentioned this event is for visionaries, thinkers and doers and it doesn’t really matter which field.

Inc42: What do the attendees take home, I mean the value?

What we provide is the platform to enable conversations, share knowledge, exchange ideas, network, form partnerships. So the true value will depend on each participant and what they choose to take back.

Inc42: Can you please mention some details like, speakers, attendees and all?

Visionaries such as Kalyan Varma (An award winning wildlife photographer, filmmaker, naturalist and explorer), Sathya Saran (Renowned journalist from India and author of, Night Train and Other Stories, a biography and many others.), Arjun Vajpai (The youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest), Pawan Kumar (Film director, actor and screenwriter in the Kannada film industry) are speaking as a keynote speaker.

Also industry leaders such as Vishal Gondal, Mahesh Murthy, Ravi Gururaj and many others will be presenting sessions on varied topics.

We had over 250 participants last year and this year, there are still last minute registrations going on so we don’t have a final number. But we’re expecting a similar number.

Inc42: Why such an exclusive and high priced event?

The Goa Project is in fact rather inclusive – unlike some of the idea conferences that charge in the lakhs, The Goa Project actually tries to cover the expenses of the participants. Being an unconference, the key is to ensure that the platform is owned and given to the participants, rather than to the sponsors (who often subsidize the cost of the participant). Being an open platform, we can tell you that an event of the nature of The Goa Project costs about 18 – 20L. That puts it at roughly 7500 – 10,000 per person. The tickets are in fact subsidized.

We are however guilty of being selective of the folks who attend The Goa Project. This year we received close to 561 nominations and we shortlisted a little less than half of them to attend the event. The key is our understanding of what is democratic, and also enables quality conversations among delegates – we believe, deep and meaningful conversations happen among people who have valuable insights to share – The Goa Project is not a place for mute spectators. Its quite a fair and exciting platform, for those who are daring new heights in their respective fields, that way.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.

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