M-POWER 2018: Interaction of Local Entrepreneurs with Industry Stalwarts


An interaction between the local entrepreneurs and industry experts was held on the 10th of February 2018 at T.A. Pai Management Institute as part of the marketing conclave M-Power 2018. This unique experience gave the local entrepreneurs an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns about their industry with the industry experts. The event was graced with dignitaries from various parts of the industry, like Mr. Mahesh Kanchan- VP, sales and marketing, Carlsberg, Mr Vikram Ahluwalia- SRM diagnostics, Mr Rajeev Ranjan- Director Sales, DSM Foods, Ms. Ritika Rajpal- Assisstant General Manager, L’Oréal, Mr Pawan Pandey- Category Head, Dabur, Mr Vikas Gupta- Head-Foods, Liberty Oil Mills, Mr S Sunil Kumar- Business Director, Henkel Adhesives, and the Platform for Women Empower Register represented by Ms. Sadhna Mallya- social activist and entrepreneur.


Mr. Mahesh Kanchan opened the discussion by mentioning that only 5% of food is consumed in the packaged and ground form the remaining 95% is sold loose and unbranded. He elaborated that there was a huge opportunity in the food and beverage sector. The government, he mentioned, was promoting agro-based food processing which was leading to an improvement in the quality and therefore an increase in the food life. He then quipped that the concept of a national player was a myth and that being local and hyper-local can make an entrepreneur a lot of money. Keeping a tab on consumer consumption behavior is important, he concluded.


Mr. Rajiv Ranjan mentioned the dominance of local players in snack food. He pointed out that understanding consumer behavior, points of competitive advantage and converting observation to insights is what would make a huge impact for entrepreneurs. Ms. Mallya mentioned that 90% women despite having resources do nothing, it was important to motivate these women to work from around 62 villages. Mr. Kumar added that gathering the extra produce from all the houses and branding them as fresh produce and then selling them in localities would be a good idea. It would not need any branding or money for investment. He reasoned that if people start earning the extra money they would be motivated to earn more. Mr. Gupta suggested that they should register on Amazon or Flipkart so that their product would be shown on their pages across the country.


The issues that were discussed ranged from the packaging of homegrown Udupi recipes that gave restaurant experience at home to utilizing the high tuna demand in the western world by exporting canned tuna. The experts also discussed the online and offline sale of cotton fabric as well as sharing the success story of the textile markets of Coimbatore. Mr. Mahesh suggested the selling of cold press virgin olive oil and juices as a private label so that they can garner a profit, while Mr. Ranjan warned about the competitiveness of the coconut oil market. A wide range other issues were brought forward to the experts and each of them was discussed to help the local entrepreneurs.

Mr. Ahluwalia stressed that a distribution set up was required with sharp metrics to decide the success of a pilot project in the first six months. Benchmarks had to be set and people had to understand how to promote and advertise their products. Mr. Kanchan ended the discussion by asserting that an entrepreneur had to understand the POD of their product. They needed to understand what the people needed and give them something that was better. Only then, he reasoned, would people chose someone local instead of the big brands.


Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 3: “Credit Rating Perspective”- Mr. Shaik Mohammed Haneef, Deputy Manager Business Development, ICRA.


Mr. Shaik Mohammed Haneef from ICRA enlightened the students about the various types of credit ratings and how it is evaluated from the point of view of ICRA in his session on ‘Credit Rating Perspective’. He stated that ICRA majorly evaluates and provides credit ratings and non-credit ratings which are used by clients for understanding a corporate’s credit state.

He elaborated and explained on various credit ratings such as SME Rating, bank loans, infrastructure projects, and commercial papers. He also put some light on non-credit ratings such as real estate grading, solar grading, ESCO (Energy Services Company) grading which is used to understand energy efficiency, and vendor rating.

Mr. Haneef further elaborated on the four different sources of risk such as industry risk, business risk, financial risk, and management risk. He later gave a practical understanding of the risks to the students through the ICRA website followed by answering some intuitive questions by the students on the same.

Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 1: “Operational risk” – Mr. Lalit Taneja, Regional Director, Global Association of Risk Professionals.


The topic being discussed in the guest lecture was operational risk. Mr. Taneja explained to the students the concept of operational risk using Basel Committee’s existing definition. It is basically the loss that is incurred due to failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. He also explained that individual banks can adopt their own definitions of operational risk if the minimum elements in the Committee’s definition are included. A key takeaway from the discussion was that operational risk is inevitable and cannot be zero.

Mr. Taneja briefly spoke about internal & external fraud, employee & workplace safety, clients, products and business practices, and process management. He emphasized the importance of operational risk indicators. These indicators are vital in identifying potential losses and tend to be specific to organizations.  They refer to lagging/ex-post measures and information on events that have already taken place (examples include failed trades, settlement errors). It is up to the risk managers to transform lagging into leading indicators. This process can be carried out by changing the focus of the indicators or even by adding new information. Thus, the focus of these indicators could be changed to highlight issues that are still outstanding or remain open after a specified period of time. The transformation of these processes is difficult to implement in reality. He went on to explain three types of risks namely:

  1. Legal risk – It is included in operational risk. It refers to the risk of disruption to operations due to unenforceable contracts, lawsuits, adverse judgments and legal proceedings.
  2. Reputation risk – Although this type of risk isn’t usually considered, reputation risk is very critical to a business. It refers to negative public opinion. A fall in a company’s reputation can result in liquidity difficulties and falling share prices.
  3. Business or strategy risk – It arises from an adverse shift in the assumptions, goals and other features that underpin a strategy.

The next part of the lecture was about the latest trends and approaches. Mr. Taneja spoke of the relevance of frameworks, advanced analytics, strategic planning, stakeholder feedback, advanced management approach and the need to forecast “black swan” events. Post the discussion, Mr. Taneja answered questions which were along the lines of operational risk, risk management, and its applicability. He was able to explain the concept exceedingly well because he was able to relate it to real life examples in corporate organizations and financial institutions.

Day 3: Maneeshi: Panel Discussion on “Entrepreneurship as a driver for strategic Human Capital”


Mr. T V Ganesh – CEO, Indiaproperty.com

T V Ganesh began by explaining the demand & supply side of the business ie about their customers & suppliers. He explained how for a common man purchasing a house involves investing their savings & hence, becomes a critical decision. Having a house is often considered the best performing asset class. The digital technology that Indiaproperty.com provides gives a better analysis of various alternatives & also provides legal assistance. He further mentioned how without the digital interface, a buyer would require 8-10 weeks of search for a house but with the interface would need 2-3 hours only including legal assistance. He also elaborated on the implications of demonetisation on the business & how the challenges they faced helped them to further build their brand.

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee – Professor, Calcutta University 

Talking about the role of Academics in innovation and development of new products and entrepreneurship, Dr Kanika Chatterjee said that synergy between academicians and entrepreneurs are of utmost importance. These entities working separately as isolated bodies will not be socially beneficial. She emphasized on the fact that research for the sake of research should take a backseat. Instead, research should focus on contributing to Human Development. Similarly, Entrepreneurship should focus on sustainability and a flourishing society. Talking about leakages in the education system of developing countries, Dr. Kanika Chatterjee said that to propel entrepreneurship a university should pursue to develop a students’ individuality instead of standardizing the education system.

Mr. Vikram Anand – CEO, Founder, FarmGuru 

Mr. Vikram Anand was asked to address the panel about the role of entrepreneurship in tackling grave issues plaguing the Indian agriculture sector, especially farmer suicide. Mr. Vikram Anand started by saying that the major part of India lives in villages which thrives completely on agriculture, but sadly very little has been done to tackle the problem of farmer suicide. One of the GDP impacting projects of Indian government is NAM which will lead to the collapse of the intermediaries. On the other side, access to farm inputs is a major hurdle for a farmer where he has to face four levels. Access to capital is one of the main factors which have led to farmer suicides. Talking about his company, Mr. Anand said that Farmguru helps a small farmer get farm inputs at the same price as any larger farmer. Achieving price democracy while maintaining good quality is the main objective of Farmguru.

Mr. Mohammed Safirulla – Collector, Ernakulam District

Mr. Mohammed shared his views on entrepreneurship. He said that an entrepreneur should be very clear about his product since technology is only an enabler & not a solution. He even stated that we need to be aware of the problems caused by creative disruption since it affects the people in the traditional system. He further discussed that Kerala was the first state to adopt the start-up policy even before the government announced it. Kerala has taken many initiatives to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the state. The investment models of LDF and UDF in Kerala are mostly government driven. He stated that people entrepreneurship is highly active in Kerala and that investors are able to create tremendous value addition.

Mr. Anand Ramachandran – Co-founder, Fantain Sports

Mr. Anand Ramachandran threw light on the importance of fans in any sportsperson’s life. India is a content starved country when it comes to sports. According to him, sports is an activity performed for people to enjoy and fans are the central entity for sports. In this era, fan relationship management and analytics for sports teams and leagues are very important. According to him, entrepreneurship is about being enterprising; its about thought and action. He concluded the discussion by saying that companies want to hire entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship is about decision making.

Mr. Sudeep Bandopadhyay – CEO, Founder, Inditrade

Mr. Sudeep started off by saying that be it an academic discussion or entrepreneurial ventures, there are three factors that any entrepreneur should look into, ie finding out a delta with an idea which can make a difference. With an illustration of IRCTC, he explained that it is important to be extremely careful during group-thinking and not to rush in, and that the basic assumption that all think rationally is incorrect and decision making is not driven by optimum results. He ended by quoting that “Opportunity is huge. You are at the right time at the right place.”

Mr. Srinivas Katta [CEO, Founder, IndusLaw]

Mr. Srinivas entered the discussion by stating that entrepreneurs try to impose personality to a large extent and do not think about the governance structure as important for it to work. He believes that the law creates the structure and that lawyers subvert the structure. He also mentioned about down drown leading to asking consent from many people. He added that companies collapse, shut down and also move on simply based on structure. He further quoted that “The key is to create a structure where you can trust people”. He concluded that entrepreneurship shouldn’t be measured in dollars like in the current system as it is bound to collapse.

Prof. Owen Skae – Director, Rhodes Business School

Prof. Skae spoke about how academic qualifications should help in developing a business model which should be a viable proposition as well. He also explained how academic institutions should partner with corporates which would in turn inspire young people to start their own businesses with an underlying sustainability theme. Universities must also collaborate to develop human capital & be driven by sustainable value creation. This would give an opportunity to improve lives. He concluded by saying that knowledge production must not be compromised.

Maneeshi 2017: Day 2: Panel Discussion- “Corporate Entrepreneurship”



The 8 Panelists along with the Moderator, Prof. Ishwar Haritas, shared their thoughts on the topic “Corporate Entrepreneurship”.

Prof. Sushil, Chair Strategic Management Group, DOMS, IIT Delhi

Prof. Sushil said that Corporate Entrepreneurship is an ambiguous area. He took the analogy of Alice in Wonderland and students going to industrial wonderland. He believes that to be an individual entrepreneur or be it in corporate entrepreneurship, most important aspect is to have a vision as to where to reach. He further stated that corporate entrepreneurship contributes only to certain areas for competitiveness and took Indian illustrations such as HCL, Kinetic, and ITC. He concluded with the mantra “To give a LIFE (Learning, Innovation, Flexibility, and Entrepreneurship) to your organization

Mr. T V Ganesh, CEO, Indiaproperty.com

Mr. Ganesh stated that the fundamental problem running a company or encouraging innovation is-How to let people think within a frame of mind with nothing to lose. He continued that there is an absence of structured framework where employees would be allowed to make mistakes, helping encourage a culture of risk-taking and innovation. He quoted that “Challenge today is to set up an environment to encourage such risk-taking.”

Mr. Srinivas Prasad, Head, Gravitas Advisory

Mr. Srinivas Prasad stated that not all entrepreneurship comes internally, but might also come externally like in the case of CISCO, Intel and Google capital. He added that large companies are looking at accelerators to come up with new ideas for business which help them to stay in touch with disruptions.

Mr. Rohit Rao, Director, Grant Thorton

Mr. Rohit Rao started off by stating that corporate entrepreneurship depends on the kind of organization you are from and the onus is on the company to constantly innovate. He defined the values to be CLEAR- Collaboration, Leadership, Egility, Ability, and Respect. He also commented that the bigger a company gets, more the probability of lethargy to creep in. He believes it is important to foster right talent in terms of encouraging entrepreneurship.

Mr. Vaitheeswaran, Speaker, Angel Investor, Mentor

Mr. Vaitheeswaran said that Corporate entrepreneurship is the fashion in the fag, it will follow a similar trajectory like the start-ups. There is a need to corporates to venture into entrepreneurship to keep up with the competitiveness. He even mentioned that the biggest challenge is the unwillingness of corporates to invest their funds in innovative ideas due to the risks. He believes that the culture of an organization makes a difference in the success of corporate entrepreneurship.

 Mr. Darshan Doshi, Head Program Reliance Jio GenNext Hub

Mr. Darshan Doshi believes that the technology front and talent pool play the main role in corporate entrepreneurship. One should be willing to take ownership and adapt new technologies to grow in the market. The purpose of every entrepreneur within and outside an organization is to find the market need. He said that we need to identify and solve the problem. He concluded by saying that an organization’s returns should be exponential after executing an action plan.

Mr. Manish Harodia, Co-founder, and Head of Marketing & Sales, DreamWallets

Mr. Manish started the discussion by stating that the learning in one month of entrepreneurship is equal to the two years spent in a B- School case study methodology. According to him, entrepreneurship is a multiplier of an idea, product, team, and execution. The success of any business depends on the timing of the market. It is the deciding factor for the success of any idea. He shared his thoughts on how demonetization gave rise to many whacky ideas. Individuals with such ideas are influencing big enterprises to change the way organizations are working. He emphasized on idea generation and implementation.

Mr. Saumyajit Guha, Co-Principal, Jaarvis Accelerator

Mr. Saumyajit Guha started the discussion by citing examples in solving problems innovatively in the corporate world. According to him, the manner in which a problem is solved leads to corporate innovation. He said that an entrepreneur is comparatively more free to take risks and launch a new product or service unlike the corporate. This is because of the accountability and ownership factor which is lacking in the corporate. The challenge in the corporate is the job mentalities of the employees, which plays a major role in the execution of successful operations.

Day 2: Maneeshi: Panel Discussion on “The role of policy and institutions in fostering businesses”


Arup Choudhuri, CEO, Founder, Acasia Global Consulting 

Mr. Arup Choudhari began by introducing the concept of Gen-X in reference to the youth moving towards liberalization and globalization. Moving ahead, he mentioned that we have come a long way since the controlled regime of dependent India and the period of great depression. Major reforms like FEMA , MRTP Act, taxation rules, New payment banking, competition policies etc. have redefined the global scenario. However, certain domains including women’s development, income and expenditure taxes, banking policies require increased focus and reformation. According to him, next 15 years will be crucial towards development in the wholesome perspective.

Purnima Venkat, Independent Consultant, Social Development

Ms. Purnima Venkat spoke majorly about micro-entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. In her opinion, parts of rural India suffer tremendously due to a simple lack of infrastructure and support. This sector does not have much of a say in policy making. They are hugely dependent on informal forms of finance, which leads to a cycle of poverty. Further, she added that it is important to not just criticize but also give solutions. India has seen improvements in terms of increased financial inclusion, however, there is much more that needs to be done. Innovation and entrepreneurship know no bounds. We need to tap the hidden grounds and create mechanisms for diversification of all sectors. Understanding the need is the backbone of business, therefore the importance of social enterprise. Building assets, looking at doorstep services, increasing literacy, simplifying policies, increasing equality between men and women, creating an enabling environment, distribution of income are some basic steps to consider in this aspect. Also, she opined that we have policies and frameworks, all we need is an effective utilization.

Andrew Murray, CEO and Principal Economic Advisor, Govt. of South Africa

Mr. Andrews Murray moved the discussion ahead by bringing in insights into the South African business ecosystem. He began by saying that South Africa inherited a highly concentrated economy. Unequal distribution of income, political resistance to liberalization, low growth rate are some of the factors acting as a deterrent to entrepreneurship. Unlike India, south Africa does not have a strong business leadership to support globalization. The extent of the problem is emphasized by the aggregate growth of 2% in the last 20 years. However, certain policy measures are being introduced to unleash growth. Commodity market, which is the main source of exports, is being laid emphasis on. Revenues collected through taxes are provided to the poor to support equal distribution of income. Increased focus on human capability and skills, innovation and access to technology is being emphasized upon. Initiatives are being taken towards resource mobilization and reducing the burden of bureaucracy that undermines entrepreneurial aspects.

Mr. Ravi Ranjan, Head NASSCOM

Mr. Ravi Ranjan started off by mentioning how far the Indian IT services has come. As of 2016, India’s IT services account for 57% of the services to the world. He emphasized on the initiatives that the Government of India is taking to support Startups. The major challenge that they face now is in identifying which Startup can be classified as an innovative Startup. He further added that entrepreneurs should identify the problem and solve it rather than waiting for Government approvals or funds. He mentioned how the market opportunity in India is huge but the challenge is that there aren’t enough investments in research to support the same. The environment in India is such that failing at something is seen as a taboo. They fail to realize that failing fast is the key to success.

Mr. Vikram Anand, CEO, Founder, FarmGuru

Mr. Vikram Anand started his discussion by saying that you need persistence to be an entrepreneur. He emphasized on the huge potential that India has to offer and that entrepreneurs will have to make a determined push to make an impact. He shared his experience and elaborated how it was difficult to sell a service back in 2002 as India did not have the access to information and capital that is prevalent now. The magic of technology is the access to information that they provide to people. The ecosystem now is such that customers are willing to trust and accept business ideas now. He further added that a change like demonetization helped change the mindset of people.

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee, Professor, Calcutta University (CU)

Dr. Kanika Chatterjee discussed how shaping minds and mindsets are important. One will have to take up challenges to become an entrepreneur. She elaborated on the need for a regenerative capitalist economy and how sustainability is the need of the hour. She said that an integration of sustainabilities is crucial. The integration of ecological, social and economic sustainabilities should be kept in mind. She also mentioned the cradle to cradle design and how it follows a sustainably innovative model. She spoke about how even though Institutions have the resources, they lack a certain will to make an impact.


Maneeshi: Inauguration Ceremony


Maneeshi the first installment held in T. A. Pai Institute of Management was inaugurated on the 28th of January. This initiative is launched by Omega, the consultancy wing and SEG, the social endeavour group of TAPMI. The theme of the event is “Entrepreneurship as Competitiveness”. This captures the true spirit of the entrepreneur scene currently prevalent in the country. The ceremony started with the invocation song and lighting of the lamp.

Professor Gururaj Kidyoor, the Director at TAPMI opened the inauguration by introducing the theme to the present guests, faculty and students. He feels that when we think of a start-up or a new entrepreneurship initiative we only think of e-commerce. The other sectors are not given the due weightage or importance because of the lack of knowledge or awareness. He concluded by saying the events like Maneeshi explore other avenues which emphasize on social transformation and not just to feed in consumerism.

Prof Kidyoor welcomed the chief guest of the event Mr Gautam Pai, Managing Director of Manipal Technologies, onto the stage to give his views. He explained that a country like India had a huge potential given the vast talent pool and the major social issues awaiting a simple solution. But he feels the major problem lies in the fact that there is taboo for a business failing. This mentality forms a major block because for higher risk one needs to take higher returns. He went on to explain the various reasons that India is an open playing field for start-ups because of the various problems awaiting a simple solution.

The inauguration ceremony came to an end with exciting events lined up. The panelists and participants for these events geared up for the three day event. The first of its kind, Maneeshi holds a promising and eventful journey for all the guests, faculty and students.