Bengaluru: Kanara Entrepreneurs (KE) and IIFL, one of India’s leading wealth management and NBFC companies, held a joint session on Oct 27 at the Grand Magrath Hotel entering into a collaboration for a period of one year.
The inaugural session was addressed by Nirmal Jain, co-founder and chairman of IIFL, one of India’s well-known business icons. KE is a group of entrepreneurs with over 10,000 crores of net worth and members in over 75 different industries. IIFL is ranked among the top 7 financial companies in India. IIFL manages HNI wealth of over Rs1,25,000 crores.with 10,500 employees in over 2,250 service locations in India and also in 8 overseas countries.
Addressing the audience, Shaji Kumar Devakar, Managing Partner, IIFL South India & Dubai, introduced the firm with a short video presentation before highlighting Nirmal Jain. Jain, an IIT graduate and a chartered and cost accountant, founded IIFL in 1195. Jain's talk covered the difference between the ‘reel’ Iife of his entrepreneurial journey with IIFL before he revealed the audience, the ‘real’ life. The ‘reel’ life is very visible in the statistics we see before us - thousands of employees, enormous turnover, wealth management and thousands of offices.
The real life of IIFL was more interesting and down to earth. His journey started in 1995 with the founding IIFL as an information and financial research company. His rationale for starting information services was simple. As an employee in an MNC himself, he used to see a lot of financial multinationals whose well motivated and highly trained staff could convince even the most experienced clients on investing or working on financial instruments. What he found interesting was that though these staff were highly qualified, they were not really cognisant of the ground realities of a business, but were still able to convince even the most demanding clients by virtue of their pedigree. However, IIFL found that the market was not very robust and they moved to the online financial services business in the heady dotcom days which they kept free and which gave them traction.
The push and pulls of startup entrepreneurship was well explained by Jain when he mentioned that at one stage they were struggling so such that they had to take to soliciting insurance business from a insurance company just to stay afloat. Also, at that time, they were offered an investment buyout at a valuation of just a few crores but which looked great to them then. However, the investment deal didn’t materialise and the rest is history.
The importance of highlighting Nirmal Jain’s story is in the critical facets of entrepreneurship that he imparted to the audience, primarily that of humility, honesty and focus which he emphasised are the prime requisites of a successful entrepreneur. Sharing wealth through ESOPs with his key employees who help run his business was another key parameter to retain and motivate talent. What impressed many in the audience was the fact that he stated that IIFL’s intention is not to become India’s largest financial company, but to be India’s most respected financial company. He regaled the audience with practical anecdotes in his personal life and connected well with the entrepreneurs in the audience .
Speaking about KE in his presidential address earlier, President Adrian Dsouza recounted the brainstorming session held for lead members at Mangalore Hills and emphasised the importance of networking among members. He encouraged them to exchange information and increase business to business transactions to help grow the organisation. Through value added trips and and industrial visits organised by KE, its members could derive the benefits of networking with a free flow of information and commerce. The board of directors was working unitedly towards this purpose .
Ivy Saldanha felicitated Jain and Reshma Saldanha felicitated Shaji.The MC of the evening Niveditha Sequeira, did a brilliant job recollecting her own experience of how entrepreneurs get so caught up in their universe that they need icons like Nirmal Jain to bring them back to earth. The vote of thanks was given by Leena Lobo who appreciated powerful talk by the founder of IIFL and the efforts of Naveen Rodrigues and Leo Sequeira, Director and Associate Director of Events to make the evening a success.
Clarence Pereira highlighted KE’s overseas trip to the Canton fair in China, where over 41 KE members from India and Dubai visited the Canton Fair, Guangzhou on a tour outsourced to Cox N Kings. They then visited the Lenovo factory in Shenzhen for a first-hand experience of manufacturing laptops, processors and servers . The visit was facilitated by Victor Quadros, former Director of Finance of KE who has currently relocated to China. The group then moved onto Beijing where they took in the sights and sounds of China. Frank Coelho commended the board of directors KE for the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the tour and felt that KE as an organisation gives a lot of benefits to its members.
In true KE tradition, 6 new members were inducted by Dr. Joseph Rasquinha, director, membership and welcomed by the President, Adrian D’Souza.
The new members inducted were: James Coelho, Jude Rajesh Ferrao, Nolan Pinto, Shelly Xavier, Vivek Cornelio, and Robin Coelho who were profiled before the audience before being formally sworn in as members and inducted into KE.
The meeting ended with the concluding address by the president and the fellowship continued over cocktails and dinner, where the members networked with each other.
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