Sixth Edition of ASCENT eConclave Concludes Successfully

The sixth edition of the ASCENT eConclave 2021 concluded successfully with over 1000+ entrepreneur attendees from India and countries like Singapore and Dubai. The conclave themed ‘Decode Disruption‘ consisted of strategically curated, five power-packed sessions with industry leaders and domain experts from across the globe who came together to accord priceless experiential learning for entrepreneurs, students, and working professionals.

Snapshots from the ASCENT Foundation e-conclave conducted on November 26, 2021 with attendance from 1000+ entrepreneurs

The second virtual edition of the conclave was conducted on an interactive virtual platform that encouraged the attendees to engage while attending the knowledge sessions. Archanna Das, Head co-hosted the conclave, ASCENT Foundation with esteemed ASCENT members Sarika Sethi, Co-founder and CEO, Gemini Power Hydraulics, and Ajit Panicker, Founder and CEO, Pureblu Technologies Pvt. Ltd. The key theme of the conclave was to explore disruptions, making it imperative for businesses to adapt and act fast to pivot to build resilience for years ahead.

The sixth edition of the ASCENT eConclave started with a welcome address by Harsh Mariwala, Founder, ASCENT Foundation, and Chairperson, Marico. He talked about the professional and personal challenges entrepreneurs face and how the ecosystem has learned to navigate. The disruption has led to India seeing a rise in the emergence of Unicorns in a short period which will serve as examples of new-age entrepreneurs without a family business background.

The opening session of the conclave was a special conversation with authors of international bestseller Ikigai, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, addressing the entrepreneurs of how to find their Ikigai (living with value) and apply the philosophy to navigate their lives to be successful. Francesc Miralles concluded the session by quoting, “Happiness is the result of feeling useful. So, to feel happy, you must do things that make you feel that your presence in the world is important.”

The keynote session themed ‘The Adaptive Advantage‘ featured Nandan Nilekani, Chairman and Co-founder, Infosys and Founding Chairman UIDAI (Aadhaar), sharing his insights on the tech disruptions happening across industries and the adaptive advantage that businesses of the future need to have. Analysing the change to remote working and behavioral adaptation to digital acceleration, he said, “The realisation has dawned on companies around the world that digital acceleration is a must. This digital acceleration and demand created by the pandemic has led to double-digit growth for Indian technology companies. The whole pace of change of start-ups has been going up in the last eleven months. India saw around forty new unicorns, which is half of the total number of unicorns in the country.”

The third session of the conclave was a panel discussion moderated by Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC TV18, exploring the theme of ‘TECHnically Speaking‘ with technology disruptors like Anchit Nayar, CEO, Beauty E-Commerce, Nykaa, Harshil Mathur, CEO and Co-founder of Razorpay, Gaurav Agarwal, Co-founder of TATA 1mg and Vamsi Krishna, CEO, and Co-founder, of Vedantu.

Based on his learnings, Vamsi Krishna advised the entrepreneurs that “The one thing that has stood the test of time is to optimise the long-term rather than focusing on short-term.” On the other hand, Anchit Nayyar shared, “If you are in consumer-facing business, keep consumers at the center of everything that you do.”

Harshil Mathur, while emphasising hiring and talent, said that “Given the ecosystem we are in, it is the team and culture that builds the organization and everyone needs to be very careful about it while one is scaling up exponentially.” Gaurav Agarwal concluded the session by saying that “While it is great to hustle, it is important to hustle for the right opportunities, so make sure to identify them and go after them with gusto.”

In the fourth session of the conclave Rishad Premji, Chairman, Wipro Ltd. exchanged views with Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, under ‘Deconstructing Leadership‘ to break down leadership into crucial skills such as openness, empathy, resilience, altruism, ability to communicate. During the exciting conversation between the two, Premji shared, “My father was an early adopter of the philosophy of ‘professionalising a company‘. He believed that to move away from the traditional ways of running a family business, one needs to build an organisation with strong values and attract professional people resonating with those values.”

He further added that the world is changing very dramatically, and what can help one’s business pivot and survive is their value system and a sense of purpose. “People don’t experience your values. They experience your behaviour. Hence, I obsess over how must I nurture and maintain the smell of the place, the culture of the organisation.”

The concluding session of the conclave was a candid fireside chat between two leaders, the age-old entrepreneur Harsh Mariwala, Chairman Marico Ltd. and Founder, ASCENT Foundation and the new-age entrepreneur Sriharsha Majety CEO, Co-founder, Swiggy. The conversation shed light on how to develop an organisation of tomorrow while building a high ambition leadership that leaves a legacy to follow.

Harsh Mariwala shared, “Leaders need to believe that culture and values are important to ensure it percolates to the organisation’s employees.” Shares his anecdotes of learning from failures and mentions, he said, “It is okay to fail, but it is important to analyse how can you use that learning to build resilience through agility.”

Commenting on the hiring process of new-age companies, Sriharsha Majety said, “The reason why Swiggy enjoys the access to a high-quality talent pool is because of maintaining an open culture that attracts talent.”

Networking was also an integral part of the ASCENT Foundation e-conclaves, enabling attendees to interact virtually with doers and link-minded people who came together to share knowledge and learn from each other.

Commenting on the conclusion of this year’s e-conclave Archanna Das, Head, ASCENT Foundation said, “This is the sixth edition of the ASCENT Conclave and second year of conducting it online and what started as a necessity of the hour in 2020, has today enabled us to reach out to a wider and more diverse set of entrepreneurs from across the country. We were joined by 1000+ entrepreneurs from metros and regional markets like Jaipur, Kolhapur, Madurai, Manipal. This, indeed, is one of the advantages of the disruption caused by accelerated technological adaptation, which we aim to leverage to make entrepreneurial peer learning accessible to so many more entrepreneurs across India.”

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About ASCENT Foundation

ASCENT Foundation started by Harsh Mariwala (Chairman, Marico Ltd.) is a not-for-profit expression of his personal passion to identify and enable high-potential growth-stage entrepreneurs in their journey to grow both as Entrepreneurs and their Enterprises. ASCENT creates a close-knit Trust Group of non-competing entrepreneurs who believe in Learning from Doers. Designed as a peer-to-peer platform, ASCENT leverages the “power of the collective” and enables entrepreneurs to share experiences, ideas, insights to learn from each other through self-facilitated Trust Groups and an extended network of Enablers. In the last 9 years, ASCENT has selected over 740 entrepreneurs as members (from more than 2500 applications received) who are part of 64 operational Trust Groups in Mumbai, Chennai and All India Chapters. The composition of these members is quite diverse with a 46:54 split between Manufacturing and Services Industries; 44% Family Businesses; 8% Women Entrepreneurs and in all about 65+ diverse industries represented. The aggregate annual turnover of the ASCENT members is more than Rs. 53,000 crores with individual member turnover ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2500+ crores.

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