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We celebrate local heroes, change agents in Tamil Nadu at first-ever YourStory Disruptors event

Tenzin Pema & Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy
posted on 13th December 2018
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All disruptors or change agents have one thing in common – they’ve created a lasting impact in their areas of specialisation. In other words, their stories need to be celebrated. And at the YourStory 2018 Disruptors event in Tamil Nadu, Chennai, we did exactly that.

On Wednesday, December 12, YourStory recognised and celebrated the stories and work of 15 disruptors of Tamil Nadu in various fields, ranging from education, governance, technology, business, entrepreneurship, art and culture, literature, agriculture, and entertainment. Each of the disruptors facilitated at the event shared their stories of innovation, vision, foresight and perseverance in different categories.

YoourStory Disruptors
YourStory Disruptors

The Disruptors of Tamil Nadu

The disruptors of Tamil Nadu across sectors were

  • Pandia Rajan, Tamil Nadu Minister for Classic Tamil language, Tamil culture and Archeology, and founder of Ma Foi, a global HR firm, in Politics
  • Dr Santhosh Babu, IAS, IT Secretary, Tamil Nadu, in Governance
  • Karthik Kumar, Co-founder, Evam, in Art and Culture
  • Mithun Sancheti, Founder and CEO, Carat Lane, in Ecommerce
  • K. Kumaravel, Founder, Naturals, in Entrepreneurship
  • Arun Vasu, Chairman, TT Group, who backed fisherfolk and surfer Megavan Murthy to establish a surfing school in Kovalam, in Sports
  • “Hot Breads” Mahadevan, Founder, Oriental Cuisine, in Food and Beverage
  • Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO, Bharat Matrimony, in Tech Platform
  • Vinoth Kumar, Organic Agriculture Expert, in Agriculture
  • Sivashankari, Author, in Literature
  • Hemalatha Annamalai, Founder, Amphere Motors, in Manufacturing
  • Rangaraj Pandey, former Editor-in-Chief, Thanthi TV, in Journalism
  • Sriram, Founder, Nalandaway Foundation, in Social Sector
  • Gayathri and Pushkar, Tamil filmmakers, in Entertainment.

The highlight of the event was the felicitation of the Disruptors of Tamil Nadu and the Legend of Disruption Awardwhich was posthumously awarded to Late Chinni Krishnan who brought about the sachet revolution in the country. His sons CK Kumaravel, CK Ranganathan, CK Ashok Kumar and CK Rajkumar received the Legend of Disruption award on their late father’s behalf.

The eminent jury that selected the disruptors of Tamil Nadu included Sushila Ravindranath, senior business journalist; Surendran, Founder of Success Gyan; Kavya Nair, Advay Capital; Sanjay Enishetty, Partner 50k Ventures; and Dr Palaniappan, Medway Hospital.

The biggest takeaway from this event has been that we have so many local heroes in India itself. They’re all disruptors and their individual stories are so very inspirational,” said YourStory CEO and Founder Shradha Sharma.

The guests who gave away the awards included Great Lakes Institute Founder Professor Bala V. Balachandran, entrepreneur and silk merchant/philanthropist Nalli Chinnasami Chetty, senior journalist Sushila Ravindranath, Mehta Hospitals MD and angel investor Sam Mehta, social worker Aruna Subramanian, Zoho evangelist Kuppulakshmi, IIT-M professor Professor Mahesh, Success Gyan Founder Surendran, and Hema Rukmini of Thendandal Films.

How disruption can lead to nation building

In a panel discussion on ‘How Disruption can Lead to Nation Building’, Dheeraj Sinha of Leo Burnett and Smruti Parida of Nestaway spoke with Shradha on the importance of always being the disruptor and ensuring you’re never disrupted yourself.

“So, the strategy to win, or the strategy to cross over, or to tide the whole costing chain is what we always tell our clients: No matter where you live, no matter how small you are, always be the leader. The strategy to win in this market is to come as a leader, talk as a leader… no matter how much money you have,” Dheeraj said.

Dheeraj Sinha of Leo Burnett and Smruti Parida of Nestaway spoke with Shradha Sharma on ‘How Disruption can Lead to Nation Building

“People don’t want to know how you’re different, people want to know how you’re relevant,” he added. “So, the point is, chase relevance, no matter the competition. Chase relevance - be the leader.”

Smruti said it was important to create a niche and be recognised as “the category king.”

“Look at something that you can use, that a million people can use, and make a lot of capital out of it. My learning has been that you create a category with your own beliefs, and do it in a way where you disrupt the consumer and that niche itself will look like a category, and people will come and eventually maybe with you being the first mover in that space - be crowned as the category king.”

The panel discussion was followed by a presentation on ‘Blockchain, the Next Disruption’ by Belfrics Groupa global blockchain technology firm and cryptocurrency exchange with a presence in over 12 countries.

Belfrics Founder and CEO Praveen Kumar and Chief Digital and Innovations Officer Santhosh Palavesh outlined the emerging role of blockchain technologists, and the industries that can benefit from the adoption of blockchain technology. Santhosh highlighted the need for regulatory changes to ensure seamless implementation of blockchain technology.

C.K. Kumaravel, Founder of Naturals, who was awarded The Disruptors award in the Entrepreneurship category, said that the event was made special because of the awardees. He added each of the awardees have disrupted their category and created a new way of life for all stakeholders.

“Be it Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO of Bharat Matrimony, or my friend Hemalatha Annamalai, Founder of Amphere Motors, or for that matter Mithun Sancheti, Founder and CEO of Carat Lane, Rangaraj Pandey from media, Sivashankari. The list goes on and on, but everybody is a disruptor in their field. Business was going on a particular way when they came in and after that, life changed!” he added.


Also read: Late Chinni Krishnan, who invented the sachet, recognised as 'Legend of Disruption' at YourStory Disruptors Tamil Nadu event


C.R. Venkatesh, Founder of Madurai-based Digital Infoway, said, “The event was a great inspiration and will definitely encourage entrepreneurs to aim high.”

Shyam Nagarajan, Founder of GoFloaters, a temp workspace aggregator, said, “The inspiring stories and the determination of the disruptors to do something different gave me the much-needed shot in the arm for my entrepreneurial journey.”


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