'Our Aim Is To Influence Public Policy In The Indus Region’
Roopa Unnikrishnan, President, The Indus Entrepreneurs, says the company works to foster entrepreneurship through networking, funding and mentoring
Roopa Unnikrishnan, President, The Indus Entrepreneurs ( TiE New York) and managing director, Center10 Consulting, has over the past two decades seeded and driven change and innovation in several Fortune 500 companies. She has also worked with clients in the consumer goods, education and technology space, helping them establish and improve key processes around strategic planning, innovation space identification and idea development. A Rhodes scholar with an MBA degree from Oxford, a published poet and world-class rifle shooter, Roopa was honoured with India's highest sporting prize Arjuna Award in 1999. Divakar Prakash chatted with her on the sidelines of the South Asian Diaspora Summit in Singapore recently. Excerpts of the interview:
Tell us about your background and professional accomplishments?
I won the Gold medal for India (shooting sports) at the Commonwealth Games and have received the Arjuna Award. After that I pursued an M.Phil in Economics as well as MBA from Oxford. I am the founder of the Centre10 consulting and Innovation consultant. Recently, I have been elected as the managing director of TIE, New York. I was born in south India and lived in India and Sri Lanka .Shooting was my passion and pursued it whole-heartedly.
Can you briefly describe the purpose of TiE?
TIE encourages and nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurs. We actively participate in and dedicate ourselves to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation. Tie Charter members (accomplished entrepreneurs and businessmen) aim to give back to the community by mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. We also actively engage in spurring development and economic growth in vibrant economies as well as under-developed regions.
Can you throw some light on TiE New York?
The Indus Entrepreneur works to foster entrepreneurship through networking, funding and mentoring. We have successfully funded 32 ventures till date and created a value of over $10 billion. None of the companies have failed. Hence our success rate is nearly hundred per cent. The global framework is the same but each country has its own separate management board. TiE was founded by a group of successful entrepreneurs and corporate executives with roots in the Indus region. The organisation mainly serves the South-east Asian community.
How does TiE work as an organization?
It is one of the important professional associations of Indian expatriates with several chapters across countries. TiE not only engages with educated professionals but also informs about the policy intent. There are different chapters around the world with a high-quality membership base. We also focus on building entrepreneurial skills and it is directly correlated to the economic activity.
What would you attribute TiE's success to?
We have 2,500-plus experienced entrepreneurs and business executives as charter members, 8,500 aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals as members and 60 chapters in 17 countries. TiE's singular focus is on wealth creation through entrepreneurship. We inspire and educate budding entrepreneurs by holding regular workshops and networking meetings. We also provide role models and one-on-one mentorship with hundreds of dedicated volunteers.
Our sponsors include top VC firms, Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and professional service providers. We are extremely flexible and willing to establish chapters in both vibrant economies as well as under-developed areas. We encourage cross-border trade and free enterprise policies. Best part is that membership is open to all
What are the global achievements of TiE?
We have the largest pool of intellectual capital anywhere. The TiE brand is globally synonymous with entrepreneurship. TiE's annual professional conference, TiECon, is regarded as the largest entrepreneurial forum in the world. We have helped boost the economies of the communities in which we operate. One of the major contributions has been economic wealth creation estimated at $200 billion. There has been significant involvement in social entrepreneurship. This has influenced liberalisation of key economic sectors in India and other emerging economies.
Tell us about the global initiatives of TiE
We have programmes that include TiE International Business Plan Competition, TiE global online forums, TIE Network Annual Report, the Annual TiE Global CM Retreat and the TiE Institute.
How do you see TiE evolving in 10 years from now?
We wish to expand our chapters and membership. We are extremely clear in our objectives and would continue to encourage and support spirit of entrepreneurship and efforts everywhere. TiE advocates the formulation of sound ecosystem for the sake of regional and national economic growth and through private enterprise. We have access to large intellectual capital and would like to leverage this to influence public policy especially in the Indus region where most of our founders came from. Indus region is emerging as a significant place of economic activity. We wish to capitalise on this opportunity. The clear objective is to create wealth by creating an environment for establishing global businesses.
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