On 4 March, Insia Lacewalla will talk to a bunch of creative entrepreneurs about a subject that many of us might care about: dining in the 21st century. Mumbai-based Lacewalla runs a company called Small Fry—a food consultancy, curator of pop-up markets and food festivals, and caterer rolled into one. And the eating out session she will be speaking at in the Capital is part of The Coalition, a creative start-up event being organized by Only Much Louder (OML).

“The dining out experience has changed so much over the last 10 years," Lacewalla says over the phone. “People are no longer looking for the Sunday dinner-out-with-family experience alone. They want to experience different types of food in different types of settings—whether it’s at a pop-up restaurant or from a food truck," she explains. Lacewalla, who has co-curated the “food and beverages" section, says the sessions have been planned as a mix of panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and talks by successful chefs, including Garima Arora of Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

The third edition of The Coalition, from 4-6 March, will be different from its first two iterations in two important ways. The first is that in addition to addressing questions related to intellectual property rights, costing and branding—common to all start-ups—it will have 11 curated sessions on specific industries such as food, fashion and design.

Vijay Nair, chief executive officer of OML, explains in a phone interview: “This is because the audience at The Coalition is changing. From the first two editions when they were saying, ‘I want to start a creative business,’ more people are now saying they want to start a business in food or comedy or music."

Kriti Monga, creative director at Turmeric Design, a Delhi-based design studio that counts restaurants like Smoke House Room among its clients, says there’s a lot about running a creative business that “young people don’t know"— like how to cost their services and manage clients.

In her 4 March session, “Weighing The Scales", Monga will focus on the different types of design businesses—from small studios to large multinational agencies. “These are all deliberate choices, the kind of studio you would want to start or work with, depending on your creative capabilities and your personality," she explains.

The second important difference at The Coalition this year is that funding is not a prime focus area. “We have realized over the last two years that few creative companies, outside of the technology space perhaps, are ready (to pitch to funders)," says Nair. “Feedback from the investors who have come to previous editions also confirms this," he adds.

Presenters like Monga and Lacewalla and Mumbai-based Anna Warrington, who will participate in a session called “The Maker System", on the maker movement which is democratizing design and manufacturing, see the key value of the start-up event as creating a network for new businesses.

Warrington, director at the sustainable business solutions firm Forum for the Future India, says the event presents an “opportunity to learn quickly from people who are best in the field and find people (other start-ups) with the same interests".

The Coalition will be held from 4-6 March, 11am-5.30pm (4 March) and 10am-5.30pm (5-6 March). Venues vary. For the detailed schedule and passes, 750 for the Friday pass and 2,000 for the weekend pass, visit Thecoalition.in.

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