16% of ASCENT entrepreneurs from Chennai, expected to cross 140+ members by 2023

ASCENT Foundation to increase Chennai Chapter to 140+ members in 2023
● From 25 Chennai members in 2 trust groups in 2018, ASCENT today has 103 members from
Chennai divided in 9 Trust groups
● 25% y-o-y Increase registered by ASCENT in entrepreneur members from Chennai
● Increased peer learning from young entrepreneurs: ASCENT Chennai Chapter consists of 66%
First Generation business owners
● ASCENT will be hosting 7th edition of ASCENT conclave with 1200+ entrepreneurs from
across India in Mumbai on November 27, 2022
● Success Stories of Chennai Entrepreneurs: Gayathri Viswanathan, Director, Maarga Systems
Pvt Ltd., and Mahim Gupta, Managing Director, PPMS Field Marketing Pvt. Ltd. – Chennai
based leaders share their opinion on the entrepreneurship growth in Chennai and the key
reasons behind it


Chennai, September 29, 2022: ASCENT Foundation, a not-for-profit, peer-to-peer learning platform
founded by Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd has registered over 25% increase in members for
the Chennai chapter. ASCENT had started its Chennai Chapter in 2018 with 25 members and
currently consists of 103 members. The trust groups allow like-minded, growth-oriented
entrepreneurs to learn and unlearn through peer learning and support. A recent event hosted by
ASCENT in Chennai with Harsh Mariwala, Chairperson, Marico, and Founder ASCENT, Archanna
Das, CEO, ASCENT and its cohort members from Chennai Gayathri Viswanathan, Director, Maarga
Systems Pvt Ltd., and Mahimm Gupta, Managing Director, PPMS Field Marketing Pvt. Ltd discussed
the importance of peer learning and support to build resilient leaders of tomorrow.


ASCENT has been actively reaching out to growth-oriented entrepreneurs from Chennai requiring
peer support since the past four years. In 2018, the Chennai Chapter started with 25 members in
two trust groups. The entrepreneurial interest from Chennai saw exponential growth, recording a
25% year-on-year increase in members for the Chennai Chapter. At present, ASCENT consists of 103
members from Chennai divided in 9 Trust groups with 66% First Generation Entrepreneurs seeking
peer support to navigate through the dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. The key aspects of
adapting to brand building, evolving family businesses, adapting to emergence of technology, and
need for a sounding board for clarity lead Chennai entrepreneurs to seek peer learning.


“The entrepreneurial market of Chennai has always been thriving and with the right mindset of
entrepreneurs” quoted Harsh Mariwala, Founder, ASCENT at the event, “the market has seen
exponential growth of existing businesses and increased uptake of entrepreneurship among young
business owners. This is the key reason why this ecosystem has been a focus of ASCENT for more
than 4 years with its first Chennai chapter. The state offers opportunities for entrepreneurial
development not just from Chennai but other uprising markets with potential like Coimbatore,
Puducherry, Theni, Salem, Mahabalipuram, Erode and Madurai, etc with a focus on both personal
and enterprise growth for entrepreneurs.”


Chennai makes up 16% of the total members in ASCENT with 66% Family owned and 61% service
from various industries like Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Rubber Plastic Manufacturing, Banking &
Finance, Textiles, Logistics, and Technology. Through the ASCENT Trust groups of likeminded leaders
of tomorrow, Chennai entrepreneurs have received access to a pan India viewpoint, operational
efficiency, and a diverse network. This has enabled a sense of quicker adoption of the drastic
economy, higher peer support and tangible growth in business. Consistent peer support is the key
ingredient to tap the potential of the rising entrepreneurial spirit in the Tamil Nadu market.

The Chennai entrepreneurial market is witnessing rising interest from young/ first generation
entrepreneurs as well as third generation entrepreneurs who are building the business for tomorrow
or joining their family businesses. The entrepreneurial uptake in the Tamil Nadu market has been
seeking likeminded peer support to navigate through some key challenges like:
Brand Building in a traditionally muted market: While new social networks powered by digital
technology have emerged across the nation, Chennai has majorly developed its technology
businesses in solitude. It’s the time for businesses to also focus on their overall Brand building which
has undergone a massive transformation and has become a key ingredient in a business’s growth
potential. Traditional companies from Chennai who continue to operate on conventional processes,
lack proper branding for the enterprise as well as the entrepreneur. In order to service today’s
aware consumers who are extremely interconnected- one has to adapt to communicating right.
“Chennai has a lot of quiet entrepreneurs and seems to be very subdued where entrepreneurs do not
talk about their organization, size, growth, and development especially in B2B business where
building a brand is not the area of focus. The peer learning groups help in reiterating the need to
focus on brand building with a solution-oriented approach of its execution” said Gayathri
Viswanathan, Director, Maarga Systems Pvt Ltd.


Evolving Family Business: Traditional, family businesses that have been operating profitably for
more than 30- 40 years are also feeling the brunt of adapting to the significantly transitioning
economy and way of doing business. In order to ensure business’ radical evolution, third-generation
entrepreneurs as well as the young business owners joining the family business need to go through a
rigorous process of learning and unlearning with like-minded entrepreneurs across India to be able
to build resilient and future-proof businesses.


Adapting to emergence of technology: Chennai had a homogenous technology ecosystem of mostly
IT services and BPO companies leveraging the market’s domain and technology talent. A long and
thriving financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail heritage has helped Chennai in
stealing a march on the other IT hubs and has attracted some of the top 10 IT services companies’
operations in the city. Mahimm Gupta, Managing Director, PPMS Field Marketing Pvt. Ltd added
that, “With a strong drive towards digitization and tech integration into all nature of businesses,
there is a need for entrepreneurs to quickly learn how they can incorporate technology into their
operations and be relevant for the future. Peer experiences, coming from a small group or a wider
national network, can help guide entrepreneurs in evaluating solutions/partners, avoiding pitfalls
and there by integrating technology in their businesses at a lower cost and with higher efficiency.”
Sounding board for clarity: Lastly, for entrepreneurs running organisations with various hierarchies,
it can get lonely at the top, especially for the ones emerging from markets who have traditionally
operated in silos. With the growth of entrepreneurial interest from young doers, peer learning
platforms like ASCENT become all the more important to act as a sounding board for entrepreneurs
to allow free sharing of knowledge, success and failures in a trusted, open and transparent
environment. “We have in fact witnessed peer learning requirements from entrepreneurs across
India with more and more queries from emerging markets like Chennai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur,
Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, etc. To create this All-India access, we launched our All-India chapter in
2020 to be able to act as a platform that can connect leaders of tomorrow with each other without
the restrictions of geography. Chennai and the neighbouring cities like Coimbatore, Madurai,
Mahaballipuram continues to be a focus area for us, with a dedicated chapter well established here,
we believe in the potential of the market to produce growth-oriented business owners, leaders, and
peers.” concluded Archanna Das, CEO, ASCENT

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