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The popular saying that two Tamils would never come together and work for a common goal is becoming a myth. The just concluded RISE, a summit for Tamil Entrepreneurs across the world held at Madurai on 28th, 29th and 30th December, is yet another success story of Tamils joining hands for a purpose. The participants came from different parts of India; including the diaspora from around the world – East to West; from Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, UAE, Qatar, South Africa, Ghana, Oman, Uganda, UK, Spain,France, USA and Canada.  

The organisers were over the moon as the registrations far exceeded their expectations. A week ahead of the summit, the organisers had to turn away eager inquiries for registration, saying they were unable to accommodate them. 

The summit deliberated on various topics — scopes, opportunities, as well as challenges in doing business both within India and in other countries. As Tamil was the language of communication in most of the sessions, it was a huge relief for many aspiring entrepreneurs who are not so conversant in English. 

The latest jargons and buzzwords in the modern business world, which bring jitters even to seasoned businessmen, such as Seed Money, Crowd Funding, Angel Investors, Equity Participation, Distributive Technology, IOT, Block Chain and so on were liberally used and sensitised not only to the young entrepreneurs but also to the experienced ones.

The changing faces of businesses across the world, particularly the expanding market opportunities, the availability of funding at unimagishould pave the way for the upwardly mobile to accomplish their dreams. The domains of intelligence and innovation are no longer confined to the urban elite, the conference emphasised. Global markets have expanded and funding is available for the determined entrepreneur. Today, entrepreneurship has reached smaller towns and villages, thanks to the internet. Youngsters today require mentors and exposure to opportunities. Those who have grabbed such opportunities, with innovation in mind and fire in the belly, have scaled peaks.

Another point that was stressed upon by the speakers was that, youngsters should not reach a state of complacency once they land a handsomely paid job after graduation. They should aspire to be an entrepreneur, a global entrepreneur.

Caldwell Velnambi, a boy from a village near Salem, after his graduation pursued his dreams and migrated to America. Growing up, a thousand rupees was a luxury but he was soon earning thousands of dollars. Not satisfied with that, he set up his company in America which has turned into a billion dollar global enterprise. Many such inspiring success stories were shared.

The knowledge exploration drive was not just confined to the four walls of the main hall, but expanded to every place on the lush green campus of the pillar, the venue for the summit.

The match-making sessions for the investors and the prospects drew huge attention; and the networking session was a big hit. The morning yoga sessions too were converted to networking and fellowship forums.

Business communities from different countries expressed their willingness and commitment to motivate and mentor budding entrepreneurs. Minister K. Pandiarajan, himself a successful entrepreneur, was the speaker at one of the key sessions. He spoke about how disruptions to existing successful business models will lead  to the opening of new horizons.

The people who contributed immensely to the establishment of the Harvard chair were honoured. It was proudly announced that overseas Tamil communities are pursuing their other goals, setting up Tamil chairs in Toronto (Canada), Houston (US) and Oxford (UK).

 The RISE initiative was spearheaded by Rev. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj; G  Balachandran, IAS (retd.); M G Devasahayam, IAS (retd.); Gandhi, senior advocate; C K Ashok Kumar; Ms Latha Rajan and scores of others.

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