The Making of a Successful Entrepreneur

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MMA in association with Madurai Management Association and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) along with the support of like-minded organisations organised an offline conclave on the theme, ‘The Making of a Successful Entrepreneur,’ at Hotel Taj, Madurai on 19 March 2022.

Mr Shanmugasundaram, President of Madurai Management Association delivered the welcome address. Mr Pankaj Madan, Deputy Head-India Office and Head Programmes, KAS delivered the opening remarks in which he highlighted various activities and programmes organised by KAS worldwide including the political dialogue programmes and programmes organised in India. He requested the entrepreneurs to add a ‘Green Tag’ when looking at business plans and made a strong case for sustainable business practices, including practising of ‘circular approach to production.’

Circular economy will help India to the tune of 40 Lakh crores by 2030, he said. India is estimated to reach a net zero economy by 2070 by which time 50 million jobs are going to be created. By 2030, there will be economic opportunities worth 1 Tn $, he explained, quoting from published reports.

Dr S Aneesh Sekhar IAS, District Collector & District Magistrate, Madurai, delivered a special address on the theme, ‘Startup Opportunities in Madurai and the Support of Tamilnadu Government.’ Startups were there even during earlier decades but now it has gained much importance. There are many startup owners now, because venture capitalists, PE fund owners and others are ready to fund them now, but during the previous era, funding was very restricted in view of the risks involved in a starting an enterprise, he noted.

He spoke about various measures announced in the Tamilnadu government budget to promote startup ecosystem, especially in Tier 2 cities. Three startup hubs are planned in Erode, Madurai and Tirunelveli, he said. He noted that the startup incubator cell in Thiagarajar Engineering College is doing a good job and hoped that investors will support startups coming up in Madurai.

Dr Asit K Barma, Director, Bharathidasan Institute of Management spoke on the convention theme. He spoke about the massive shift from individual company-focussed business models to platform based models and about how Amazons, Olas and Ubers and Tech companies like Google share the major pie of market capitalization and how they have created values for themselves. According to him, for India, to reach 1Tn$ economy by 2030 is a tall order and to achieve this, we have to grow in a non-linear way. Traditional companies always were creating value using their internal resources whereas the Amazons create value by orchestrating their external resources, he said. Companies today must aim for Scale, Scope and Speed (3S) to achieve exponential growth, he argued.

He predicted that today’s cold war will be centered on data. For getting higher productivity from existing factories, especially in Tamilnadu, he suggested the below:

a) Marrying economic engine to ecological engine and making ESG a part of the organisation’s culture.

b) Converting existing IT parks into digital parks

c) Leveraging existing natural resources in the State and doing value addition in Tamilnadu itself.

d) Focussing on developing the ecosystem and skilling, upskilling, reskilling the State’s youth.

Mr Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative to India, KAS spoke on ‘Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Germany.’ He pointed out that German entrepreneurial ecosystem has a huge impact on the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Mr Peter Rimmele stated that there are six pillars that hold this entrepreneurial ecosystem, namely: the policies of the government /companies; financial system; culture; the support system; the human capital and the market situation. These pillars are unique to each country and therefore, they cannot be copied, he remarked. He touched on the social projects undertaken by the companies in Germany, which is slightly different from the CSR concept in India. He opined that in India, the system is overregulated and under-governed. He pleaded that companies should not just look at how much profits they can make but also on how much they can contribute to the common good of the society.

The trade-off between values and valuation is an important factor. More than mere valuation, the values that companies provide will ultimately matter. ~ Mr K Hari Thigarajan

Mr K Hari Thigarajan, ED, Thiagarajar Mills Pvt Ltd, the Chief Guest stated in his address that as the bank interest rates have come down throughout the world post-Covid, many investors try to put their funds in startups but this situation may soon change and the startup ecosystem may not be as hot as it was during the recent times. The trade-off between values and valuation is an important factor, he said. More than mere valuation, the values that companies provide will ultimately matter, he argued. Constant innovation, use of e-commerce and digital technology, conducting SWOT analysis and constant re-strategising are very important in this VUCA world, he said.

He explained many of the best practices followed by the founder of Thiagarajar Mills. He talked about how he brought down the cash-to-cash cycle time, even without knowing about such concepts or studying MBA.