With the global economy under the spell of recession, never mind the fact that India actually witnessed just a slowdown, one would think that the recreation, entertainment and similar industries would have suffered a major setback bringing down with them their dependants. And yet when an entrepreneur meets this environment, it is a one-way battle, for few downturns hold any water against as effervescent a will as an entrepreneur’s who having faced much tougher struggles knows even his way much beyond survival.
YourStory met one such entrepreneur, who, like a true member of the clan utilized the worst period to turn it on its head and create an opportunity that is sure to hold him in good stead for a long time to come.
Abhishek Kadam, founder of iLeaf Connects an event management firm that has partaken organizing and production interest in events like Femina Miss India, Zee Marathi awards, the Times Group anniversary party, destination weddings and others shares his journey with YourStory. Says Abhishek, “The business of event management is a seasonal and unstable one, there are months you have to do very well to balance even the ones when there might be no work. Right when the first few clients mentioned a budget cutback, we understood that this scenario would only grow before it settled again and realized we would have to take measures to encounter a lull in business before it got too late”
That sensibility coupled with his long-held belief that entertainment in India needed a complete re-vamp is what got Abhishek strategizing and re-structuring iLeaf Connects – from offering a complete experience management solution to creating India’s first ever experiential living studio venture.
“Recreation and entertainment as consumed by a young urban audience is no longer restricted to an evening at the cinema or a visit to the mall. A rise in disposable incomes, an awareness of what is possible and the need for thrill has led to the demand for mature experiences, over-the-top adventures, exotic travel options and more. Even companies seek out offerings that give them the worth for every penny spent as corporate spending is accountable now as never before.”
While there are entertainment companies offering niche value in different fields, with iLeaf’s connects’ latest offering – BanyanSpark Living, Abhishek wants to create a consolidated platform where one can experience the best in adventure & sports, travel & exploration, art & culture, wellness and more. There is also a gifts studio with products and services so unique that is sure to bring in an element of surprise to the recipient.
“The aim is to provide a holistic experience by offering innovative and customized packages. Whether for a family celebration or a personal getaway, the solutions are unique to each other, are different than what has been experienced before and can be customized to suit an individuals’ preferences” elaborates a visibly excited Abhishek.
With a team focused on the launch of BanyanSpark’s services soon, Abhishek mentions that their regular event management services have not taken a backseat. Strategic team planning has meant separate units in Urja Entertainment, for event production and Dot Nirmitee, for production design firm, giving iLeaf an edge in event planning, creative conceptualization, logistics managements, event production & direction, audio-visual management, multimedia production and more.
With so much on his plate, did this young 25-year old alumnus of MICA never feel that a job would be easier and less risky? “Success never comes easy. Like someone wisely said, ‘Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.’ I opted out of campus placement to pursue my passions and chose to work for myself instead of taking a cushy job that would make me complacent in ambition and thoughts. My family wasn’t very happy with my decision but nothing risked, nothing gained. Now, I have no choice but to succeed. Five years down the line, I want to be able to re-trace my steps to a clean, ethical journey, one that came with hard work, dedication and perseverance.”
For first time entrepreneurs, Abhishek gives the following advice from his experience. “Innovation is key. Create something new or package the old in a new way, if you can consistently and persuasively offer your clients something different than what others will, competitive advantage will be yours. Also, have a lot of patience and persistence. The journey of entrepreneurship is demanding and not easy but it is definitely rewarding.”