FICCI FLO North East Chapter organised its first of its kind experiential Open Forum – New Age Entrepreneur Success & Challenges on May 18. FICCI Ladies Organization (FICCI-FLO) is the women wing of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the apex business chamber of India.
The program was attended by FLO members, invited guests, established and budding entrepreneurs, students from IIT Guwahati and TISS, Guwahati.
The panel of speakers were from diverse background and entrepreneurial experience and each of them fiercely believed in the spirit of entrepreneurship – had passion, zeal and will to do something different. Co-incidentally each one of them had a good comfortable job which they gave up at some point of their career to start life afresh with full risk but with a dream to follow.
FLO Chairperson Joyshree Das Verma shared the objective of FICCI FLO and how the theme and the Forum was the first of its kind platform which is based purely on knowledge and experience sharing. Verma also mentioned that the future Forums will be designed based on the outcome of the first, and accordingly after internal deliberations, the Second Edition will be decided upon. Guests, Speakers and members were encouraged to share ideas and suggestions on the topic and the format of the program. FLO intends to have at least three to four such Forums in a year.
Dr. Sriparna B. Baruah, Flo member & Head of Industrial Extension, IIE moderated the Forum. The two ladies in the panel Aparajita Das Baruah and Dikumoni were from similar jewellery industry but handling and managing the similar business and products in different ways – one was more into international online marketing and the other more focused in manufacturing. My Taxi MD Arunabh Pathak with his simple demeanour has been a trendsetter in the North East service industry with his fleet of radio taxis on Call. He also having returned back to Guwahati after working in Corporates all over India. Rituraj Phukan from Pencil Studio had to work from his car in a long time with passer byes commenting that he was trying to show off. He could not afford an office but because of his abilities he got a lot of orders and he had to service his clients. Deb Barman the owner of J14 and Kolkata Roll – famous food joint for teenagers and adults alike had actually only Rs.2.00 left during days when he gave up his job and along with his wife dared to dream. And his dream did become a reality. Madhurya Das, an ex corporate guy from the metros coming back to his hometown after IIT and IIM degrees. His father could not understand him and his interest in garbages – he is into renewable energy. Kaushik Borah from Zantrik Technologies gave up his cushy job to start something own and now he is competing with national level IT players and managing to crack deals with difficult clients.
Guests in attendance also participated in sharing their experiences and in questioning the panel. Prominent among them were Arman Ali from Sishu Sarothi, Indrani Chaudhury from Finer, Teresa Rehman from The Thumb Print. FLO members Juhie Saboo Singh, owner Terra Mayaa shared how she gave up her corporate HR career in Mumbai and returned back to set up business in Guwahati. She says, “Life is tough as an entrepreneur but she enjoys what she is doing and there is no looking back.” Another FLO member Hussina Salam who owns Silk Route restaurant in Guwahati put forward her observations and need for the restaurant owners to have a common association for the good of the industry and policy making. All her points were well received by the panel and the participants.
The future Forums will see the participation of Policy and decision makers, Senior Government officials, Bankers etc. FLO has taken up a lot of initiatives and lined up various programs for empowerment of women in general across all categories from grass root upto senior level and entrepreneurship development.
FLO North East invites women entrepreneurs from across the region to get on a common platform to make its voice stronger thereby help about to make policy changes suitable to entrepreneurs and bring about a robust and vibrant business ambience.