Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TiECON Chennai 2009- Creating Entrepreneurs, Shaping Minds!

This year’s theme –“Enterprising India – Creating Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur” attracted over 1000 entrepreneurs, investors and business school students and saw the cream of Chennai’s business elite and India’s investing community participating as panelists and speakers.

N Srinivasan, Vice-chairman of India Cements Ltd., inaugurated the one day conclave and also gave away TiE Chennai Entrepreneur Awards for 2009 starting with Kalainithi Maran of Sun Network who received the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Winners of the other six categories of the awards were - Kami Narayanan of Pre Global Media - Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; P N Vasudevan of Equitas Microfinance - Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year; M B Nirmal of Exnora International - Social Entrepreneur of the Year; Satish Babu of Univercell - Extreme Entrepreneur of the Year; Ravi Appaswamy of Appaswamy Estates and the Residency Group of Hotels - Next Gen Entrepreneur of the Year and M V Subbiah of Murugappa Group - Family Entrepreneur of the Year. N. Srinivasan of India Cements Ltd. was chosen unanimously by the jury for Lifetime Achievement. Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman & MD of TVS Capital Funds Ltd. moderated the entire awards session.

T.T. Rengarajan, founder, Alma Mater, delivered a keynote address on leadership. Based on a research of 500 successful people across all walks of life, he listed seven characteristics that were common to all these successful people, which included the likes of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, and Leonardo da Vinci. The seven characteristics are: (1) passion, (2) mastery in communication, (3) team [a strong team to propagate/execute the vision of the successful person], (4) high energy levels, (5) faith, (6) value-based life, and (7) methodology of their own.

As flamboyant and unconventional that Kris Srikkanth is, he delivered a “quickfire keynote post lunch,” as J. Krishnan, Conference Chairman of TiECON 2009 put it, to keep the audience at their wit’s end and also deliver some valuable lessons. He stressed upon believing in oneself, passion, and decision-making as lessons from sports for entrepreneurs. For each of this trait, he had a story to relate.

C. K. Ranganathan, MD, Cavin Kare, the inspiration that he is today for young entrepreneurs, delivered his keynote with panache. His simple demeanor belied his stature of a successful and innovative entrepreneur, and his sincere expression of his life’s lessons made this keynote on timeless principles worthy.

The most valuable lesson he delivered was on tax evasion. When generally people in low-margin, high-volume retail business believed in evading the exorbitant 105% excise tax and a high 20% sales tax, C.K. Ranganathan stood a class apart by paying the taxes without evading. This helped him secure a loan without collateral from a bank manager who found his tax credentials worthy. Then, when people had faith in him, he soared to heights.

The sachet pioneer, [he bought the sachet into the shampoo industry by marketing Chik shampoo in a sachet for the first time to differentiate] also explained the importance of involving all ranks of staff in decision-making as each one of them could bring insights that would not be available at the top. He wished all the budding entrepreneurs the very best in their ventures, in conclusion.

Speaking after inaugurating the conclave, N Srinivasan, Vice Chairman & MD, India Cements Ltd., said, “Access to more funds, better and stronger relationship between universities and industry, flexible curriculum structure and schedule at educational institutions besides on-campus incubators will accelerate entrepreneurial growth in the country.” He also called upon governments and successful entrepreneurs to come forward and provide a funding base that will give impetus to entrepreneurship.

According to J Krishnan, Vice President, TiE Chennai and Chairman of the 2009 conference, “This year it has been bigger with more delegates and bigger names as speakers. The team has worked hard to create simply the single largest platform for entrepreneurs in Chennai and we look forward to being back next year even bigger.” A great learning from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders!

Contributed by Pranesh Padmanabhan, Marcom Varsity, CBS Batch 4, 2009-10

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