How to scale up your enterprise

Indrajit Gupta
Updated: Nov 3, 2012 03:38:03 PM UTC

“It’s lonely at the top.”

That’s the refrain we heard last week, when my colleague Charles Assisi and I led a conversation with two of India’s leading entrepreneurs, Harsh Mariwala and Kishore Biyani. India clearly needs more first-time entrepreneurs. And they need advice on how to grow. Drawing from their experience, Mariwala and Biyani have chosen contrasting approaches to create a support network for such entrepreneurs. In 2007, Biyani floated Future Ventures, his market-based model to invest behind smart firms from the retail and consumer universe and help them grow. So far, there are 15 firms—and more are likely to follow.

On August 15 this year, Mariwala announced the launch of Ascent (which stands for, Accelerating the Scaling up of Enterprises), where he spends money out of his own pocket to help a community of high performance entrepreneurs scale-up. Already, 100 entrepreneurs have been through the mentoring sessions. The application process for the next batch of 100 entrepreneurs has now opened, with the second session scheduled to kick off in January 2013 (check www.ascentfoundation.in for details). Our conversation with the two stalwarts was very insightful, and you’ll soon be able to read about it in our forthcoming special issue on the 100 Richest Indians, which hits the stands on November 2.

On a related note, from the time we launched in May 2009, we’ve tried to do our bit to serve entrepreneurs by curating the best stories about how high performers scale up their organisations. The Forbes India Leadership Awards has become a special occasion for us to recognise the best-of-breed leaders. We’re now getting ready for a new initiative.

From November 29 to December 2, Forbes India is throwing its weight behind the Isha Foundation’s unique leadership development program aimed at high-performance entrepreneurs. Called Insight: The DNA of Success, the program will be led by Dr Ram Charan, considered the foremost CEO coach in the world, and spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Between the two of them, they will cover business and individual leadership challenges involved in scaling up an enterprise. (You can listen to the both of them explain the essence of the program)

There will be plenty of help at hand. A clutch of distinguished Indian business leaders—KV Kamath, GM Rao, Deepak Satwalekar, Ravi Venkatesan, Sangita Reddy, Shankar Annaswamy, Naveen Kshatriya, Prahalad Kakkar, Pramod Chaudhuri, Vellayan Subbiah, Dilip Cherian, Apurv Bagri and Shekhar Kapur—will share their experiences as key resource leaders for the entire duration of the conference. As knowledge partners, I will represent Forbes India and lead a conversation between Dr Ram Charan and Sadhguru.

Our readers can participate in these conversations. Dr Ram Charan will speak to my colleagues Charles Assisi and Shishir Prasad on October 24, followed by a live webcast of our conversation with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev on November 1 at 12 noon. If you have any burning issues that you’d like these two stalwarts to address, you could mail us your questions to letterstoforbesindia@network18online.com (email address corrected). We’ll present the most compelling questions to the both of them to answer. I look forward to what promises to be a stimulating session.

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