TiE Chennai to charter a new path: fostering innovation and enabling innovation funding
TiECON Chennai 2011 on 24 November on the theme ‘Opportunity -- see it, size it and seize it’Entrepreneurs are dime a dozen. Entrepreneurship is becoming commoditized. This means that anyone who calls himself or herself an entrepreneur need not be involved in building enterprises through innovation. In a country like India, with an endless stream of problems that could be addressed through innovative solutions, what if an organization like TiE Chennai makes an attempt at innovation entrepreneurship and innovation funding? What industry stalwarts like Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, President of TiE Chennai, bring to the table is such a fresh look at the way ecosystem player TiE Chennai operates. Lakshmi has the experience of scaling an IT biggie Cognizant and that gives him confidence to say that he will be able to mentor or get a group of people like him to help other smaller companies to scale. Because funding seems no longer to be a problem.
Innovation: creating an infrastructure for growing enterprises
The real problem is funding innovation. “Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi are ahead of Tamil Nadu in innovation funding,” pointed out Lakshmi at the press conference to unveil TiECON Chennai 2011, which he addressed along with Mr. J. Krishnan, Vice President, TiE Chennai; Mr. S. ‘Vishy’ Vishwanathan, Executive Director, TiE Chennai and Mr. R. ‘Naru’ Narayanan, Chairman of TiECON Chennai 2011. Lakshmi also added that India is only next to China as an attractive manufacturing destination in the world only because of availability of innovative talent. To bridge the gap between idea and execution and with the aim of accelerating innovation, a synergistic infrastructure for innovation will be created by TiE Chennai.
In a series of initiatives planned by TiE Chennai, the organization will focus on bringing awesome ideas to investors for funding. Reversing the usual trend, angel investors will chase innovative ideas and TiE Charter members themselves are driving this trend. After setting up the innovative enterprise, the innovator entrepreneur will be provided with mentoring support from TiE Chennai, which has a large number of entrepreneurs who were there, done that, urging one entrepreneur to remark, “it is like drinking from the hosepipe and not from a tap.” TiE Chennai endeavours to position itself as a centre in the circle of innovation, with money and mentors chasing innovative ideas. What helps the innovative outlook of TiE Chennai is the relocation of its office to IIT-M Research Park, the seedbed of innovation. “IIT-Madras will be roped in as a partner in this effort,” said Lakshmi. This provides TiE Chennai an access to innovators. TiE Chennai will help an entrepreneur through all the stages of building an enterprise: founding (through funding), growing (mentoring), and scaling (showcasing success). As a final outcome, if you become a successful innovative enterprise, TiE Chennai will showcase your success to the world by recognizing the enterprise through its annual awards.
TiECON Chennai 2011: Opportunity -- see it, size it and seize it‘Naru’ Narayanan, Chairman of TiECON Chennai, said that the theme of this year’s TiECON Chennai, the annual flagship event of TiE Chennai, is ‘Opportunity -- see it, size it and seize it.’ Through this event, TiE Chennai is broadbasing its effort to include non-IT sectors like health care, automobile and food into its agenda, because TiE’s objective is to foster entrepreneurship, said Naru. What’s special this year is TiE Chennai coming out with a coffee table book containing 50 success stories of entrepreneurs across sectors. Tamil Nadu is witnessing enormous entrepreneurial activity and TiE Chennai willingly showcases it in many fora through the year, which go unpublicized.
The TiE Chennai--LIBA B-plan competition is also getting bigger this year. The winners of the competition will be provided funding and incubation support at the newly founded C.K. Prahalad Centre for Emerging India at LIBA. New programs like ‘Opportunities on the road less travelled’, ‘Opportunities to get awestruck’ and ‘Lightning Buzz’ (a two-minute pitch by an entrepreneur) are part of TiECON Chennai.
The TiECON annual awards will be presented in 10 categories including a Dhonacharya Award for mentoring this year apart from the usual categories such as Lifetime Achievement Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Family-owned Enterprise of the Year.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, founder of BioCON and Ashok Soota, the well-known serial entrepreneur, are to deliver keynote addresses. The impressive speaker list includes Lakshmi Pratury, founder of INK, M. Mahadevan of Oriental Cuisines (which includes brands like French Loaf, Wang’s Kitchen, Hot Bread, China Town, Ente Keralam), and Phanindra Sama of RedBus.in.
As J. Krishnan, Vice President, TiE Chennai, pointed out, “TiECON creates energy and enthusiasm for budding entrepreneurs every year” and the major strength of the event is the opportunity it provides for networking with other entrepreneurs.
–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist