Incubating the spirit of innovation

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The 2nd global forum of business incubation with the theme ’empowering economies through ICT enabled innovation and entrpreneurship’ was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with Information for Development Programme (infoDev) of the World Bank and the Department of Science & Technology, Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Government of India (GOI) in association with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, on 6-10 November at Hotel Taj Krishna, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Second in its order, the forum aims to nurture new ideas, innovations entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking capacities and, organisational abilities.

A pre-conference informal meeting of networking groups’ was held region wise as a prelude to the five day long meet into five groups such as Africa, Asia, ECA (Eastern Europe and Central Asia), LAC (Latin American Countries), MENA (Middle East and North Africa) to discuss on the strategies evolved, and the lapses to be covered in building an enabling environment for strengthening the existing networks for further expansion of markets to identify the problems at grass root level and, on how to categorise the incubating community as potential emerging professionals.

Welcome ceremony

It was followed by welcome ceremony. Rachid Benmessaoud, Operations Advisor, World Bank, Country Office, India gave a brief account of the event. N. Srinivasan, Vice President, FICCI taking over the dias emphasised on the idea of productivity through connectivity to increase profit and the delivery of infrastructure facility where incubators comes on a common platform in sharing and discussing the guidelines to SMEs, venture capital, technological output and creativity. V.S. Ramammurthy, Former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, India, looking at the general trend of discouraging norms and regulations of government, just because the idea is new and stands at market risk, highlighted on incubators’ enabled partnership and sharing of ideas, that need to be encouraged for the period of two years on experiment basis to convert science and technology (S&T) entrepreneurship into a creative manpower entrepreneurship. He added S&T should be for economic development with motto for every one. Dr. Geeta Reddy, Minister for Tourism, Sugar and Major Industries, Commerce and Export Promotion for the State of Andhra Pradesh, graced the occasion to welcome the international gathering and urged the delegates to tap with keen acumen of business potentials in the field of IT, BT, Nano-Technology and ICT for which the state has already developed a conducive environment in providing a nurturing base for all the upcoming events of incubators. Mohsen A. Khalil, Director, World Bank Group observed that ICT is about unleashing the power of human capital. It should be coupled with management skills and ability of scalability in commercialising the ideas. Henceforth, the importance of such care opportunities for market linkages achievements cannot be undermined. H.K Mittal, Member Secretary, National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, India gave vote of thanks to the session.

The ceremony was followed by video presentations of cases studies carried by infoDev leading to discussions between the panelists and floor. Later, the conference was declared formally to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. He urged the gathering for the need for transformation of public sector undertakings into lively business incubation centres, utilising the new technology to promote enterprises to generate more employment opportunities in the state.

Meet gains momentum

The second day of the session was on ‘Opportunities and Challenges in Innovation and Entrepreneurship’. Kiran Karnik, President of NASSCOM delivered the key note address saying that ‘just capacity of thinking different is to be innovative, and let allow mobility to be the key word for venturing and, that should integrate appropriately with technology, collectively for low income groups and develop an eco system where incubation facilities can availed right from funding at the early stages in providing opportunities to mentor network with others.

In plenary session, I. B. Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam Computers India, sharing his fifteen years of experience of moulding the foundation said “we re-invent to sustain”. “Innovation is not choice, if you won’t innovate you will die”. Frank Jones, President of Intel India spoke on smart ideas that come out of systematic process. Hence investment should be made on training and education to nurture a friendly environment balancing between bureaucracy and environment policies. Prof. Rafiq, Dossani, President, Standford University, USA stressed the need for a knowledge economy to be stabilised to meet the pressing challenges of creating a new horizon in employment arena, especially in developing countries. Vani Kola, representing NewPath Ventures, India talked on the success factor that depends on ability to identify entrepreneurs for upcoming generation and building an eco system that need to realise, where market and entrepreneuers meet by removing the barriers. Ganesh Natarajan, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Zensar Technologies, India calls for an inclusive innovation method to make them part of the global community. He also asked to replicate the global methods at regional level.

The second plenary moderated by Ashok Jhunjunwala, started wth Sailesh Shah, Director and Senior Vice President, Satyam Computers, India. He wished the change to be ever-dynamic process to stay fit and sound in the market. Rick Ellinger, CEO, Wirless Communication Alliance, USA stressed on the will to network, to re-invent and invest region wise to incubate the young enterprises. Srini Raju, CEO of iLabs, India emphasised on e-Solutions to meet the competing players in fragmented markets. Anne Larilahti, Head of Strategic Marketing New Growth Markets, Nokia asked to create an e-Platform coupled with a regulatory environment to establish an affordable connectivity, the crucial factor that enables business develop and sustain. Madhu Mehta, Chief Mentor/Architect of Nirma Labs, India focused on effective application of ICT in causing the birth and growth of STD/PCOs – an attend pay phone system, and what Nirma Lab had did in this direction. He called for an ICT environment and technology penetration for enhancing innovation, that realises the purpose of incubation, a complete cycle of enabling process. The theme of Plenary III was ‘Facilitating ICT-enabled Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Who are the key stakeholders? What is the role of business incubators?’ It was chaired by Estelle Sowah, from Ghana. H.K Mittal of NSTDB, India stressed five ‘I’s

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