30 Entrepreneurs from Southern India Profiled in the“New-Age Entrepreneur”, a Book by CII


Captain R. Ramraj led a remarkable team effort that culminated in the fourth entrepreneur-centred book by Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) New-Age Entrepreneur, published by Random House in collaboration with Mint. In a step-up to cover southern region after covering Tamil Nadu, innovation, and entrepreneur’s tools in other books by CII, this book was brought out as a showcase of vibrant entrepreneurship in southern India. “Many of the entrepreneurs refused to be profiled and said our work will speak for itself,” he said during the book release function held today in Chennai. Mr. Ramraj remarked that “we wanted to keep some copies for sale but they are not available.” The book is selling like hot cakes and the initial print run of 10,000 copies is almost sold out. But the book is still available onFlipkart. He said that Needs Scheme announced by the Tamil Nadu government and Entrepreneurship Development Institute are measures taken by the government to encourage entrepreneurship. “Mint, Grand Thronton, Random House and Sequoia have agreed to support the next book,” concluded Mr. Ramraj. He later said CII is going to present Emerging Entrepreneur Awards this year.

N. Kumar, Past President, CII, said passion is the single most trait of an entrepreneur that helps them overcome any roadblock and for scaling up a business, a good team is needed. A combination of passion and talent acquisition are two important characteristics that help an entrepreneur succeed, he pointed out. “C.K. Ranganathan [Past Chairman, Tamil Nadu, CII], GopalSrinivasan [Past Chairman, Southern Region, CII] thought of giving credit to entrepreneurs through books,” he added. But earlier as Mr. Ramraj pointed out, on the initiative of Mr. T. T. Ashok, now South Zone Chairman of CII, this book was conceived. This book also fills the gap in lack of recognition of southern India as the hot bed of entrepreneurship, Mr. Kumar said, quoting Mr. R. Sukumar, Editor of Mint, who has written the foreword to this book.

A New Scheme of TN Government to Foster Entrepreneurship: TN Assembly Speaker Gives Details after Launching the Book

Mr. D. Jayakumar, the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly, released the book and the first copy was received by Mr. N. Kumar. Later, the entrepreneurs profiled in the book were given copies. Some of them were present in the audience.

In this address, Mr. Jayakumar said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalithaa has sanctioned a new scheme to encourage entrepreneurship and enterprises in Tamil Nadu. To be implemented from 2013, this scheme would provide training on business plan, how to seek a loan, and other business aspects to educated youth. TIDCO will fund the entrepreneurs with a subsidy of up to 25%. “1000 entrepreneurs are to be trained every year,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

He said entrepreneurs should possess passion and creativity. He felt that lack of mentors and a dearth of success stories hinder youth from embracing entrepreneurship. Further, aversion to risk as evidently practiced in our society acted as a huge impediment. The new Tamil Nadu government initiative is a step in the direction of fostering entrepreneurship. Mr. Jayakumar then outlined the investment interest of some global majors in Tamil Nadu and its premier position in some industry sectors such as electronic hardware, automobiles and software. “About Rs. 20,000 crore is likely to be invested in the next six months in the manufacturing sector,” Mr. Jayakumar added.

He commended the book brought out by CII and said, “it is a matter of pride that 12 of the 30 entrepreneurs profiled in the book are from Tamil Nadu.”

Panel Discussion: Money is Not the Great Motivator for the Entrepreneur

In the panel discussion moderated by AnupamaChandrasekaran, editor the Chennai edition of Mint, entrepreneurs MurugavelJanakiraman (Consim Group, the parent company of Bharat Matrimony.com), K. R. Nagaraj (Ramraj Cotton), PadamsinghIssac (Aachi Masala), along with T.L. Viswanathan (BharathYuvaShakthi Institute) presented their views on entrepreneurship. The common thread in the discussion was that money was not the great motivator for entrepreneurs. A higher societal impact or making a difference to the section of the population finally gave entrepreneurs immense satisfaction. “Solemnising marriages through our website is a blessing and responsibility,” said Murugavel. “Seeing my used masala packet in the dustbin fills me with joy,” exalted Padamsingh. “Fire in the belly counts and not the aim to make money,” remarked K. R. Nagaraj. A person came up to Mr. Nagaraj and said 10,000 families make a living because of his business, to which Mr. Nagarajresponded, “those 10,000 families make my family live.” The entrepreneurs defined success not in terms of wealth but in terms of making a difference to lives and making an impact that will have a lasting effect. The entrepreneurs devoted at least an hour each day on personal fitness as it is important for keeping their health sound so that those dependent upon them (employees, families) also live in peace.

T.L. Viswanathan mentors people with fire in the belly and said “it is grit that counts” for an entrepreneur. He said never say die, being wedded to organization’s people and focussing on quality are essential to entrepreneurial success. He quoted the example of a young boy he mentored winning an entrepreneurial competition in the UK in which young entrepreneurs from 40 countries took part.

The 30 entrepreneurs profiled in the book were also subjected to due diligence by Grant Thronton on various parameters before being included in the book, thus increasing the credibility of the success stories. These stories are an inspiration, one of the many for aspiring and current entrepreneurs.

Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist