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'Entrepreneurs can alter the direction of economies'

Last updated on: October 20, 2009 14:10 IST

Image: TiE Hyderabad chapter president Ramesh Babu.
Shobha Warrier in Chennai

The TiE-ISB Connect is an annual event jointly organised by the Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development at the Indian School of Business and the Hyderabad chapter of TiE.

The theme of TiE-ISB Connect 2009 is "The Crisis will pass .Will you?". It also will address the issue of 'surviving and succeeding' in difficult times. The event plans to bring together both the first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs so that they can explore the opportunities and challenges in the current economic times.

For the first time, the event will have a session on starting a new venture and raising funds through the seed to the growth stage of the company.

The TiE Hyderabad chapter president, Ramesh Babu talks to's Shobha Warrier on the event that starts on October 22.

Has the role of TiE changed from the time of its inception?

Our role is to inspire entrepreneurship, and it continues to evolve as dynamics of business change. This year our focus is to "catalyse inclusive growth while solving real problems" covering multiple sectors like agriculture, education and training, healthcare, utilities and services. Funding and operational challenges, next 800 million opportunities and challenges and 'Taking India Forward' are our other thrust areas which impact entrepreneurial and economic growth.

As an organisation, TiE worldwide is set on a mission to not just create wealth but also give back to the community.

TiE's goal is to generate and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. To achieve its goals, TiE has created programs to motivate and inspire entrepreneurs. TiE Hyderabad organises over a number of events each year that range from speaker events, mentoring, trainings and workshops, focused topics addressing new and emerging sectors including business plan competitions. Mentoring is a key initiative at TiE.

'Entrepreneurs can alter the direction of economies'

How has the event evolved over the years?

We have been able to consistently find new ways and ideas to strengthen the entrepreneurship eco-system which is the founding idea of TiE-ISB Connect. In each edition, we have introduced entrepreneur-relevant mix of keynotes, tracks, workshops that provid ample scope for participants to engage in a more positive and result oriented information flow.

Our basic goal is to inspire entrepreneurship.

How much can entrepreneurship change the face of an economy?

Entrepreneurial development is the key to economic development; one of the most vital inputs in the economic development. It accelerates many factors that lead to higher rate of economic growth.

Entrepreneurs, historically have altered the direction of national economies, industry or market whether it is the US, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan or any other developed nations.

It is the highly educated English speaking young people who come to the event. What about those unknown and unheard of people out in the wild with ideas? Do you have any plans to locate them?

If you look at our focus in the last edition of TiE-ISB Connect, it was to tap the bottom of the pyramid and tap the next 800 million opportunities which encompass entrepreneurs not just from the urban locale but also from the semi urban areas.

Our focus it to encourage inclusive growth and we are working towards this goal. We urge all those unknown and unheard people with ideas to participate in our event.

'Entrepreneurs can alter the direction of economies'

What should be the prime aim of an entrepreneur; create wealth or create jobs?

The spirit of entrepreneurship is to create not just wealth but also build wealthy people. They should become the 'catalyst of change'. 'Enterprises within' today must focus on not just creating jobs but also train human capital to become managers and mentor them to leadership position. A good entrepreneur leads innovation and promotes intraprenuership within his enterprise.

What exactly do you mean by, 'The Crisis will pass... Will you?' What do you want to tell future entrepreneurs?

It is a long journey to establish a successful enterprise. To nurture an idea, shape a new venture and raise funds through the seed to the growth stage of the company. Future entrepreneurs need to deliver more for less, and must innovate to stay ahead in business. They should also go beyond the urban markets and tap the next 800 million opportunity.

This is also a moment to pause and think what next? That can help enterprises immunise economic crisis that brought many economies to a standstill.

2008 was about road not taken. How many entrepreneurs were ready to take the road not taken?

Entrepreneurs love risk and are committed to their goal. At TiE-ISB Connect, we have come across many promising ideas which are aimed to tap new market hitherto unexplored. We are hopeful our event will facilitate exchange of new ideas and young entrepreneurs will continue to create new market opportunities going forward.

'Entrepreneurs can alter the direction of economies'

How successful was TiE-ISB 2008 Connect? How many entrepreneurs were you able to help?

TiE-ISB Connect during the last four years held several rounds of mentoring sessions. It helped many entrepreneurs refine their strategies and business approaches.

Of the 350 entries for business plans received last year, there are nearly 13 companies, which are in the last stages of talks with VCs and have a great chance to attract investments.

ePublishing innovator Pressmart is amongst many enterprises that were truly benefited from attending the TiE-ISB Connect. The company attracted top level VC investments to fuel their growth in the global digitization and web publishing market.

Will this be an ongoing event? How long do you plan to continue?

It will be an annual event and our goal is to foster entrepreneurship and strengthen the ecosystem. We have a long way to go. It is a nation of billion people and millions of ideas which are yet to be tapped and nurtured.

What is the advice you want to give to those entrepreneurs who want to come to TiE-ISB 2009?

For an entrepreneur to translate his idea into an enterprise, it is vital to network, be at the right place and choose beneficial platform.

Entrepreneurship is all about consistently networking and learning. At TiE-ISB Connect, our goal is to help aspirants complement their entrepreneurial journey and offer new ways to grow their ideas into an enterprise.