Work your network and make your network work. The agenda of the conference was to instill the lost entrepreneurship legacy and facilitate networking opportunities among fellow nagarathars. Venue: Singapore. This was a fascinating conference and as one of the delegates put it ” The conference of 2 days was resonant to doing an MBA for 2 years”. Three hundred plus business folks across the globe attended the event and it was inspiring to chat with the attendees.

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There were great learning’s these 2 days (November 23 and November 24, 2013) and the Who’s Who that matter attended the event. ‘Tamil Murasu‘ a leading Singapore daily covered the conference in its first page. S.R Nathan, former president of Singapore and K. Shanmugam Foreign Affairs and Law Minister of Singapore were the special invitees to the event. It was humbling to see President S.R Nathan find time for the conference. The delegates were eager to meet and take a picture with him. I was enthused to see the body language of Minister K. Shanmugam. The style with which he presented himself the 30 minutes he spent @ the conference left a lasting impression.

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Great Learning’s, I would pass on to my children, family and friends.

M.V Subbiah: Teach kids about Entrepreneurship. Open a bank account for your children by age 4 and have them manage it. Offer them a sum of money that you could afford ($2000/$5000/$1000) at age 10. Let them invest , multiply and pay for their college education. A key take away for me personally, – ‘no man you transact with will lose, then you shall not’ (from Arthashastra).

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Datuk Dr R. PALAN: Star Speaker of the conference and he kept the audience tuned through the entire speech. He stressed on the need of economic power being aligned with political power for businesses to sustain and perish. Ask questions, rely on Information, Succession Planning, need for Chettinad Institutions / VC’s and celebrate success. One of the questions asked by the delegates, what is the best time to exit a business? — The best time to exit is when you are at your peak.

Ramanathan Vairavan: A lot of speakers & delegates referred to his grand-dad Vallal Alagappa Chettiar, his legacy, entrepreneurship and philanthropic activities. He stressed on the need for case studies on failures, creating a better platform for the youth. He offered a lot of insights from his personal experiences, had modern thoughts,was forthcoming to accept,adapt change and also urged one to do so. It was also nice to see his mom ‘Umayal Ramanathan’ be active and attend the event.

Datuk P. Kasi: It was humbling to listen to his story. Started from scratch, grew and spread. The art of delegation (being out of touch(on a vacation) for six months and the business still thrives better and bigger.

Soma Valliappan: He is such an excellent speaker and have watched him speak several times. Working your network and making it work was his thought. It was also interesting and meaningful that he referenced several of the delegates who attended the event. Knowing someone is not adequate and when you network on conferences, provide your 100% attention to hear the person you are networking with.

Nagappan Valliappan: This was an entertaining speech from his life experiences. He was spontaneous and right on. I liked the fact that he quoted examples from his personal experiences right from childhood with his dad and how it shaped his business career. He was provided a sum of money to manage at a very early age and this aligned with the thoughts M.V Subbiah had talked about.

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Ramasamy Chockalingam: “Money is round to go around” What a thought! Life experiences, Integrity and learning’s from his ‘Ayya’ (grand-dad). On a need to make a decision, he never compromises on values and asks himself a question, How would have his Ayya done it if he was put in a similar situation.

Manickam Ramasamy: This was the last keynote session of the event. Great way to end the conference. Correlating spirituality, hindutva with business was amazing. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and set a time frame to get things straight was pragmatic. His references with the operating systems, technology with respect to business, human life and Philanthropy , an outcome based on happiness gives contentment / otherwise it would end by being a strategic CSR (which is also fine).

There was a plethora of great speakers . Anna Sundaram (listening to his Thirukural was refreshing, meeting his family (we had known each other so well, however never met until this conference), Nallakaruppan & N.S Narayanan from 711 Singapore (how to setup a franchise) , Meyyappan Annamalai (practical lessons he learnt from running his business), Ramu Veerappan, Sethuraman Sathappan (he offered to assist on import/export laws), Pari Annamalai (shared his experiences on Exit Strategy), Chockalingam Palaniappan ( invited folks to return to India and do business) , Solai Adaikalavan ( a networking portal was launched at the event).

The session of the achi’s (Lakshmipriya (she was the youngest to speak) and the preparation that went onto her speech was good. Valli Muthiah – She reiterated the power of woman, the role they play in the success of men (evident in today’s society) and her singing ability kept the momentum with the audience. Seetha Thenappan , a woman entrepreneur with her spices business in the UK and how the support system (especially her husband) helped fine tune her and be successful.

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Chettiars by nature are low key people. The delegates were speakers themselves. It was humbling to see business leaders doing great work. It makes no sense to judge a person by his looks. I also bumped into a lot of folks in this conference . S. Muthuraman (Lakshmi Ceramics), he was a delegate speaker and an inspiring story starting from nothing, having failed many times and established a very successful enterprise. You would just bump into these people in the coffee / lunch breaks and be told that they run a large enterprise, worth several hundred crores.

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IBCN – 2015 is being held in Coimbatore. A spirited team volunteered to organize the event in the industrial city and were geared to scale IBCN to greater heights. Another reason for me to be excited, my four years of engineering was @ GCT Coimbatore.

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Congratulations to the President of IBCN, Dr. K. Vellayappan, IBCN Secretary- Suba Arunachalam & entire IBCN team– Singapore. Your hospitality was chettiar style, you took care of us like a bridegroom visiting the bride’s residence in Chettinad and scripted the success of this Wedding(Conference) forever. Many Congratulations and a BIG THANK YOU.

What a place to be? I am glad I made it.

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