The Entrepreneur Forum Summer 09 organized by


Beat the Odds – an interactive discussion forum for young entrepreneurs.....


May 30th, 2009:, the largest online media platform for first generation Indian entrepreneurs, organized the Entrepreneur Forum Summer 09 at Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai on 29th May 2009 in association with MICA EDC.

Over 200 entrepreneurs from across India converged at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai on Friday afternoon to share their experiences on beating the downturn while also seeking worldly advice from seasoned VC professionals and industry experts.

The Forum provided an excellent interactive opportunity for entrepreneurs as they met with VC experts and other members of the entrepreneur fraternity to exchange ideas on how to grow their businesses during recessionary times. Promoters of various SMEs and Start-ups were given a rare opportunity to engage in an informal two-way dialogue with the Forum panelists comprising experienced veterans including Sarbvir Singh, MD Capital 18, Cyrus Driver, MD Helix Investments, Rahul Patwardhan, MD IndiaCo Ventures, Nikhil Khatau, MD Mayfield Fund, Ashish Goenka, Country Manager UKIBC and Sanjay Chakrabarti, Partner E&Y besides featuring entrepreneurs Nitin Shah, Founder Allied Digital and Mahesh Choudhary, Founder Microqual.
“With the slowdown in the economy, it has become imperative to collaborate and look at various options to grow” said Ashish Goenka sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur and a professional, adding that “the forum provides and ideal platform for Indian entrepreneurs to connect with businesses in the UK to explore trade avenues.” Countering the negative sentiments built up by media and industry around growth, panelists urged the young entrepreneur audience to take a look at business history highlighting interesting facts about how recessionary times have often proved to be a boon in disguise. Sarbvir Singh commented that “recessionary periods are infact a great time to start businesses as the cost of doing business and building competencies can be kept to a bare minimum”, wittingly pointing out that “some of the greatest companies like HP, GE, Google, Microsoft, etc. were born during various recessions.”

Nikhil Khatau advised the audience to “continue promoting their brands while right-sizing teams”, adding that “most companies fail not during downturns but during economic revivals as they tend to excessively cut back on resources during downcycles as a result that they stumble when demand revives.” His views resonated with other speakers present at the conclave. “Downturns are great opportunities to invest and innovate,” said Rahul Patwardhan, adding that “perseverance, passion and pragmatism are three key essential to tide over recessionary times.”

Cyrus Driver having played both an entrepreneur and a financial investor role in his life, had some grounded advice to offer to young entrepreneurs. “Avoid loose diversification, stick to your core competencies, get a good CFO and project conservative growth if you are looking for raising funds”, advised Cyrus candidly.

Sanjay Chakrabarti, partner with the global audit, tax and consulting form Ernst & Young, shared the insights of a recent E&Y survey on the impacts of an economic downturn on businesses in India which revealed that “74% of businesses surveyed were facing minimal limited impact by the downturn” – a much cheered fact by the enthusiastic audience at the forum.

Encouraging the younger entrepreneurs present in the forum Mr. Nitin Shah said “that a forum such as this is an excellent learning opportunity for the entrepreneurial community”, lamenting the fact that these interactive opportunities were missing when he has started out as an entrepreneur. His thoughts were echoed by the audience – Sujoy Gupta, MD of Samraat Group and an entrepreneur based out of Nasik said, “this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs like me who are based in Nasik and other smaller cities to come to the forum and get a chance to meet venture capitalists, industry experts and other entrepreneurs.” An impromptu talk by Dr Velumani, Founder of Thyrocare, had the listeners enthralled as he mixed some great humour with practical tips from his personal experiences on how to raise funds and what to expect while looking for a private equity placement with financial investors.

Shradha Sharma, Founder, YourStory said, “If we are able to provide entrepreneurs and start ups with good networking ground then we would say that the effort has been a success. YourStory will continue to organize such forums from now onwards and with this event we kick-start the process.”

About is the largest online media platform for first generation Indian entrepreneurs providing them much needed visibility in order to promote their businesses while also giving them meaningful networking, discussion and trade opportunities. Launched in Oct 2008, aims at providing SME and Startup entrepreneurs a platform to collaborate and exchange ideas though their online media platform. YourStory aims to foster the 'spirit of entrepreneurship' amongst readers by sharing with them the various journeys of people who have dared to walk the different path.


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