Mumbai: Five entrepreneurs, ages between 30 and 50, businesses across software, textiles and education, and one thing in common—looking for mentors or simply like-minded people to sound off ideas.
This was the crux of the seventh TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Entrepreneur Nurturing Program (ENP) last Friday. The venue, Hard Rock Café, in mid-town Mumbai, was deliberately informal. “Entrepreneurs feel intimidated in formal conference environments,” said Manak Singh, executive director, TiE Mumbai.
When we got there, about 5.45pm, four out of the five entrepreneurs were in deep one-on-one conversations with their mentors.
The program is split into two parts—one-on-one sessions for two hours, followed by a group discussion.
Samples of why the entrepreneurs were there: “I’m in a family-run, saree-making business. I’ve got some new ideas for the business, but no one gets it. How do I manage the cultural shift?” asked Yogesh Jain of SP Overseas.
Anil Chenab, CEO of Chenab Information Technologies, had a slightly special problem. “We’ve developed a solution and want to get to a higher level. But talking to myself isn’t helping. So I came here,” he said.
The mentors, among them Manu Parpia, founder-CEO of Geometric Software, and Ashok Jani, chairman, Multi-Arc India, found the exercise equally beneficial. “We’re old now so it’s a good way to keep in touch with the new ways of doing business,” said Jani.
TiE’s Mumbai chapter started the ENP last September. Find out more about the organization and future such workshops at www.tie.org. At present, the program is open only to TiE members.
Charter members, usually successful entrepreneurs or senior executives at large companies, volunteer to mentor members who want to start a business or need help with existing businesses.
Of course, mentoring only works if its constant—one of the chief concerns that the entrepreneurs had. TiE has plans for that as well. But that’s a post for another day.