Addressing a session virtually on the theme Right to Win, Harsh Mariwala shared Marico's journey of innovation through packaging and becoming market leader across segments

Addressing budding entrepreneurs on the various nuances of setting up successful and sustainable business in India, Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman of Marico delivered an insightful keynote address in the second day of TiECON Chennai 2020. Taking the audience through various high points of Marico's journey, Harsh Mariwala urged entrepreneurs of today to identify business models that are innovative, pioneering and a differentiator in the market place to overcome competition. During this power-packed talk, he further emphasized the importance of entrepreneurs playing to their strengths in order to create a successful business.

With back-to-back power-packed sessions, the conference witnessed an overwhelming participation. Enlightening the entrepreneurs with interesting anecdotes from Marico journey, Harsh Mariwala also spoke about how entrepreneurs can enable themselves to tackle challenges by focusing on customer insights. From converting market trends to entering international markets with a deeper understanding of local customers, Harsh Mariwala's session was an eye-opener on the evolving business climate in the country to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Sharing his views on tackling competition from market leaders, Mr. Harsh Mariwala said "Identifying right opportunity by pioneering a segment has enabled us to earn large market share today. Hence, it is very important for entrepreneurs to identify what will work in the market place – either it has to be pioneering or differentiating or innovative. Otherwise, it will become difficult to compete with just another 'me too' product."

He also added, "Identify an opportunity, debate the concept with people to understand the blind spots and then actually try it out with customers. I am a firm believer in prototyping. Start with consumer insights, find out what consumers want, discuss your product with consumers, incorporate their feedback and then launch it in a test market to get a feeler. This will help entrepreneurs launch their business on a much larger scale.

"Also to make this happen it is very important that you have the right talent pool. It is very important for entrepreneurs to create the right employee value proposition in the job market because there is a war for talent today. Entrepreneurs have to win this war in a highly competitive talent market by identifying what is the unique thing you are offering which will help you attract talent. Empowerment, agility and a flat organization structure has helped Marico attract the right talent. Flat organization structure has to be balanced with good quality of talent at the middle and senior level so that challenge is viewed as empowerment."

Following the keynote address, an intriguing fire-side chat was conducted between Mr. Harsh Mariwala and Ms. Meenakshi Ramesh, Executive Director of United Way Chennai on the rapidly changing business landscape amidst a pandemic. Sharing his views on how small businesses can co-exist during these tough times, Harsh Mariwala said, "High degree of consolidation is taking place and it will continue to happen partly because of COVID-19 and partly because of certain trends. COVID-19 itself has accelerated many trends which we had seen earlier by moving in a very fast manner. In many of the FMCG segment, it was difficult to launch new products and create a brand because of the distribution infrastructure and the need to advertise on television. Now with the digital spread, e-commerce and modern trade there are new opportunities for young entrepreneurs to launch brands that are created and sold digitally. However, all India distribution network will be a challenge for budding entrepreneurs with a minimum turnover that might force them to sell their business. But I feel that they can co-exist based on their offering and also by identifying a niche where the bigwigs don't operate. With removal of distribution and advertisement barriers in the FMCG sector, newer niches are getting occupied in the segment providing a scope for co-existence."

Following this dynamic session, the second of TiECON Chennai 2020 had interesting sessions covering a diverse set of topics. A panel discussion on "Make your own mistakes - lessons from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs" had Ashok Anand, the Founder and CEO of Appiyo Technologies; Madhumitha, the Co-Founder and Chief Cook at The Indus Valley; and Sneha Priya, Co-Founder of SP Robotics sharing their perspectives on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state. The day's conference came to a conclusion with a session that captured a striking conversation between Dr. Prashantam, a world-renowned psychologist and senior writer Ms. Meera S on how we cope with COVID-19 and the world that lies ahead of us. Is it the pandemic a tomato or a tennis ball?

For the first time in the history of TiECON Chennai, an exclusive regional platform to conduct conferences in Tamil was initiated today. The Tamil TiECON 2020 will have regional entrepreneurs talking about their growth story and challenges faced along the journey for the benefit of budding entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. In today's session, Mr B Srinivasan, Managing Director of Vikatan Group was engaged in an insightful conversation with Mr CA G Karthikeyan, Founder – GKM Tax on how new-age entrepreneurs should channelize hurdles into opportunities, especially in the time of crisis.

About TiE Chennai

TiE Chennai is an active chapter with 175+ Charter Members and over 600 Associate Members. Based out of the South Indian city of Chennai, this chapter seeks to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship both within the city as well as the larger state of Tamil Nadu. Through independent events as well as partnerships, the chapter holds multiple events every month, looking to inspire, mentor and educate local entrepreneurs. Charter members, entrepreneurs, business leaders, venture capitalists and government representatives often collaborate to present success stories and business opportunities as well as know-how on raising capital, networking, etc. TiE Chennai has been one of the top performing chapters globally since 2014. This recognition stands testimony to the consistent high performance of the chapter across parameters including regular high quality events and membership growth.
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