Icon Business Forum
There are many ways in which we can change everyone's lives. One way of doing it is through business. A mission to enable entrepreneurship figures prominently in our work. We aim to accommodate every size and type of business. As men and women seek to bring out the icon in them, we hope to be a part of their journey for our own benefit.
Startup India, Make In India, Digital India campaigns by Narendra Modi has provided the right template to go after our goals.
There are many areas in which we have undertaken projects - entrepreneur conferences, startup education, mentoring, incubation have helped us impact the lives of many. Our popular startup conferences have engaged CEOs, celebrities and experts. Equally importantly, we have given 'speaking breaks' and breakthrough connections to enable people to be on their own.
What interests us is partnering people and firms to help them pursue their next economic opportunity and this takes many forms.
Tarun Agarwal, Founder
Tarun Agarwal is an MBA from Goa Institute of Management. He has worked at Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Indusry (FICCI) as Senior Assistant Director. He has worked at i-maritime Consultancy and Mantrana Maritime Advisory in various capacities which have included advising industrialists and CEOs in the infrastructure sector. He indulges in various forms of writing, teaches startup courses in b-schools, and helps people set-up businesses of all types.
Prem Nadar, co-founder - Startups
Prem is a youngster and a start-up enthusiast. Having studied at SIES, he has done volunteering work at Headstart, he also represents The Entrepreneurs Club in Navi Mumbai as City Mayor. Having worked to help set-up Icon Business Forum, he has started startupcruise.in - a platform that attracts youngsters, investors, entrepreneurs to engage in the making of start-ups.
Mentors & Consultants
A strong team of veterans & youngsters work with us to unlock the potential of our work.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Works and Services
Following are some of the services that are offered by us:-
We have organized popular full-day startup and entrepreneur events where people from all walks of life, strata, designations, ideas mingle in an environment of mutual help. We aim to give new audiences to CEOs, startup founders and celebrities. We pride in the discovery and making of new 'icons' and give platform to new talent. We also take forward the connections made in the event by developing communities around them.
We also do small events, workshops, b-plan competitions, talks at regular intervals at the instance of our sponsors.
Our founders and team conducts startup and various courses at various institutions. The startup courses have seen students get a fresh direction to their business ideas. The startup courses include interaction and talks by investors so that the student gets to test her ideas and sets them up on a path where they can independently pursue their growth.
Incubation and co-founding services
We have developed our model for incubating businesses and helping talented professionals to be on their own. This includes a little education, giving them platforms to showcase their work, providing high-end connections in their marketplace, restructure their businesses wherever necessary and giving them a community that they can reach out to for various forms of assistance.
Business Manifesto - Based on research, interaction with consultants, academicians, entrepreneurs, employees, CEOs, economists, investors, journalists, unemployed folks and a lot of introspection, our founder has written a 'Business Manifesto' that discussed the problems and a road-map for economic development for all. We also made a presentation to Indian Merchants Chamber (Navi Mumbai) on 'Economic Development for SMEs'. With masterminds, writers, accomplished experts in our panel, we are happy to address big problems you may be facing with a commitment to giving it a fresh perspective. The form of delivery is presentations, publication, conferences, focus groups and meet-ups.
We have helped other event organizers with getting key speakers. We have also helped some of the platforms with providing a filtered flow of start-ups for their work.
Factory of Artists
We have incubated a platform which brings out the artist in you. We decided to step aside from the conference format and step into small spaces which get thronged by accomplished and budding writers, actors, poets, authors, theatre persons. We make sure that the easy mood art provides is followed by a discussion on start-up opportunities
Service Provider connections
We have empanelled a wide range of companies and professionals to assist you in your work. Not only the basic services but everything you need to be icon if you already aren't! This includes services such as:
Accounting, taxation, digital marketing, website development, e-commerce training, disability hiring, CXO hiring, gaming, virtual reality, brand activation, publishing, writing, public relations, management consulting, risk management, celebrity and artist appearances, film-making and investment advice.
Following institutions have partnered with us on our entrepreneur events--
Speakers @ Startup Events
Geetu Hinduja, Singer and art entrepreneur
Chandni Sahgal, Managing Consultant, D'Essence Consulting
Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder & President, Venture Catalysts
Atul Kulkarni, Advisor, Indian Ports Association & former CEO, Chowgule Ports
Anand Gurnani, co-founder - AnimationXpress & Founder, Vamrr & 50Young
Shiv Kanodia, Honorary Secretary, Bharat Merchants Chamber
Mayank Shekhar, film reviewer & media entrepreneur
Siddharth Jain, Founder, iRock Films & co-producer, Ragini MMS
Samarjeet Singh, Founder Director, Iksula
Shailesh Kantak, Founder, Flexiport
Sushil Srivastava, President, Gati Ships
Dilip Shukla, film writer
Dr Bigyan Verma, Director, GNIMS & Formerly Professor, XLRI
Satish Kataria, Managing Director, Catapooolt
Anil Amesur, founder, Panchos & Go Delight
Satish Purohit, Journalist & former deputy editor, Life Positive
Shashikant Sawant, writer & rare books' dealer
Dinesh Wakale, Tyre Express
Prof. Parvinder Kaur, Educationist
Karina Pandya, blogger & digital marketing consultant
Surabhi Rao, Miss India Finalist
& several others
Some past tie-up partners
Sydenham (SIMSREE), Hosting partner
Guru Nanak Institute of Management Studies (GNIMS)
Kohinoor Business School
Mantrana Maritime Advisory
India Entrepreneurs' Club
Bharatiya Investors Forum
Shashi books & associates
Events Supported by IBF
'Starup' by Ah! Ventures at IIT-Powai (Outreach partner)
Indian Merchants Chamber (Presentation on SMEs)
Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge Season 2 (Outreach partner)
Inaugural Entrepreneur Investor Meet
Greed Is Good - Entrepreneur Conclave
Ideas, Lessons & Support for all entrepeneurs
Reshaping India Through Startups
Factory of artists I, II & III
Speakers at our Factory of Artists' events
Dilip Shukla, Scriptwriter - Dabangg 1 & 2
Sunil Pal, renowned comedian
Rajeev Nigam, renowned comedian
Sanjivan Lal, film director
Aditya Agnihotri, Content Head, Muvizz
Madan Pal, lyricist
Satish Purohit, journalist & editor
Startup Education Course at GNIMS by Tarun Agarwal
Abhijit Kumar, Ah! Ventures
Nidhi Saraf, Western Region-head, Indian Angel Network
We share some of our experiences and observations in the section to serve as a guideline.
Whys of Startup?
What to see in a business when making an investment decision?
You May Think...
How to startup without any money?
You May Think...
Am I too old, young, uneducated, disabled, rich, poor for startups?
You May Think...
Can startups solve social, cultural problems?
You May Think...
So what are the issues that the startup mission is facing today?
You May Think...
There are many skill enhancement and adjustments required when we change our way of life. In this section, we will just share with you some pointers that have helped some of us.
I don't know English. Can I be a big entrepreneur?
There are billionaires who can't speak english or hindi. The language of money is universal. Everybody understands it. Make a target to learn 300 words if you are want to deal in a language.
I feel speaking in public is a big barrier for me. How to learn public speaking/making presentations?
There are only 3 rules to public speaking:
1. Speaking is an art to be practiced and not a science to be studied.
2. Pick up a model - observe the speech of someone who you like.
3. Once you have fixed someone as your role model, practice speaking and develop your style.
4. Expect extraordinary results in 10-15 days.
I want to understand this opportunity called startups?
While, we cannot be sure if authentic knowledge exists at any particular place, one can read up online to understand the vocabulary of the world. www.indianangelnetwork.com is a site that has shared many resources on the matter.
I am poor, I don't know how to use a computer even. Can you imagine? What can I do?
What you do not know is also a knowledge. Our founder knows someone who does not how to use a computer, doesn't understand English and his education has been in Urdu. Our founder advised him to be an urdu teacher. It made him revenue and he found both venue and mentor.
I am a housewife. I want to start something. Can't take meetings even.
There is a lot you can do within your constraint. You can pick up a product you want to sell and sell it over whatsapp, facebook and ask payments to be made to your bank account. There are companies like www.zepo.com which will make a site for you without your having to meet their executives.
I am unemployed. I am depressed and can't find job. Is entrepreneurship for me?
Once you go out looking for help, you will people anxious to help you. Entrepreneurship can help you create a job for yourself. There are people who with their existing skills, qualifications, circumstances can't find a job. But starting off to do something of your own helps you garner critical skills by way of trying to get things done, by getting people who are qualified to tutor you to be a part of your project. Let me give you some examples of how you it can help:
If you fond of a subject, writing a blog on it can help you develop your skills and prepare a sample for your prospective employers. The blog in itself can be a business some day (some examples are Miss Malini, Angellist). If you want to be in films, making a short film or a documentary can get you a job later as a assistant in studios and in big films
If you work as an independent insurance agent, the skills that you get to polish can help you get a full-time job. There are famous stories of how lack of jobs forced people to become owners of legendary businesses that employ highly qualified folks. Almost all CEOs, legends have been through periods of unemployment. Entrepreneurship or doing your own work will help you remain on the right track.
What's in for Me?
Today the biggest and most resourceful companies have seen their growth come to a standstill. New products are services are replacing the old ones in a very short span of time and this makes growth from existing businesses less likely. If, suppose, your business is petrol, you can invest in a renewable energy startup to be assured of a pie if it grows or at the very least acquire rudimentary know-how of the business if it grows big. By applying your administrative ability, great connections and minimum amounts of investment, an industrialist can make big companies out of small technology-driven startups. It is tough to change your existing business, so why not partner with a startup that brings in the requisite new technology and culture. Done well, getting into a number of startups and enterprises, will get you a stake in the next generation of big companies. As an industrialist, you know how to make a business big, so YOUR startup will grow bigger than that of other folks.
The era of a job being steady, taking care of your children , and your retirement is over. There was a time for decades where increased your company was big and as it got bigger or as your loyalty and experience increased, you received more benefits - this is not that era. Technology is leading to phenomenally jobless growth. As companies grow, they prefer to automate their processes and ask people to leave or accept salary cuts or atleast do not accept the company to take care of you for your lifetime. The economic slowdown, current human resources practices, leaves you with unfulfilling salaries. A startup, or a sidebusiness, can help you get that extra income. Having a company of your own helps you get recognition which often does not come being an employee. Good employers are encouraging employees to have their own businesses - it takes the pressure off them to be responsible for you in every way. The period between two jobs can be very long nowadays. It is thus a good safety net to have an additional business on which to fall back on for your basic needs. It is good retirement planning. As you age, your startup will become more mature too. This will help you use your experience in running your business to pursue freelance income or a business.
It is a force of habit for an employer to write in their appointment letters that your new hire cannot pursue an additional source of income - this was good when your offered dream salaries. Your employee expects you to pay you on time, give your increments even during tough economic slowdowns. Letting them do a startup or an additional source of freelance income will take the pressure of you. If done with a dose of friendliness, you could learn a new business from your employee who includes you in his business in return for your encouragement. Isn't there a long list of employers who have partnered with their ex-employees to make big companies - the list does not stop at Mudra Communications that was started by Dhirubhai Ambani's employee AG Krishnamurthy
Obviously, you would have heard of Mark Zuckerberg, who has carved out an example of a student entrepreneur. Seriously, elders don't know how to handle the extraordinary intelligence of children. People attain big, responsible positions at all age groups - those who start experiencing work earlier, get their big breaks earlier. You can start some businesses without any capital. You can bring in energy and an ability to connect with the world today and your can outsource maturity and management experience to your elders. The job market is not rosy at all. You already know this. Having a startup of your own will give you a source of income and also you having an experience at starting up will make your interviews a lot better.
If you are unemployable for some reason - the reason can be many including living in an isolated, protected world with no training to fit into society, there is some cheer here. Today there are grants from various sources available - this means money also goes into vehicles where there is no possibility of making anything back. Thus, having a startup of your own or in partnership gives you a medium to make money. Also, human beings are naturally born with an anxiety to help the helpless. Having a startup can help the very able ones let you have a piece of their abilities and start a new life.
You have done well all your life but can sense that all is not so well beneath the veneer - social unrest, floods, terrorist attacks, earthquake can completely wipe out your life at one go. If you have lost everything for some reason, startup is easier and less expensive than ever before. Your own startup can help you rebuild your life to the extent that matches your expectations from life. Chances are, your ability will attract the investments too. If you are not satisfied with your business, you can start another one deploying other co-founders, partners, employees. With mobiles, emails etc., you can also look into your new business while holding on to the old one.
Inequality has come to the forefront as a major problem in the world - assets, businesses, investments are concentrated in the hands of the select few. Even though with great wealth comes great responsibility, it will be difficult to expect promoters to change this by suddenly raising salaries and giving better terms to vendors when businesses are on the edge. The most easy route to make an impact for them will perhaps be investing - Ratan Tata has been making investments regularly in the last one year. A firm, Dalit Industry Chamber of Commerce & industry (DICCI) obtains investments for dalit entrepreneurs from Tata companies and makes them vendors. Investments in startups can help the extremely wealthy in many ways - It puts them on a strong moral footing (one of the best ways to protect wealth) of creating much needed opportunities and also makes sure they remain wealthy over a period of time - after all, these companies will grow due to their influence and money and make even more wealth.
Most problems in the world - dwindling resources, water problems, health problems - all of these are innovations take place within small enterprises and individuals. These also Political uncertainties worldwide, states have realized that their impact on their countrymen is limited. Inspite of the support given by central banks and government institutions, USA and China have not been able to satisfactorily run the government. Letting startups and private enterprises flourish can help in critical moments when innovation and citizen support to run the system is required. To the credit of prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, an impetus has given to startups and this will probably be a landmark decision in sowing the seeds for the Indian's economic progress.
Fall in real wages
Wages have just refused to rise. Entrepreneurship thus has turned to be an option where a working professional is able to have enough immediate cash to meet needs and this ensures that upside in the business goes to him. Also, entrepreneurship and freelance opportunities are helping salaried people make additional income to make up for the lower salary levels.
Technology & mass unemployment
Technology has given rise to companies making tremendous profit while not offering much employment. Many of world's most profitable companies have cut jobs as technology helps automate. Thus, co-owning/owning one's own outfit seems to be a way in which ever-increasing unemployment can be handled.
Startups are changing the way we live, talk, communicate, consume, marry, look for jobs, find investments and more. It is possible that they will end up catering to those who are not able to access health and education.
Education at all levels will probably be transformed keeping in mind the requirements of today. It is likely that the innovative solutions devised by startups will show the way to public and private institutions to undertake this transformation.
Skills for tomorrow
Till yesterday, education in b-schools and engineering colleges were able to make graduates who were guaranteed jobs that will enable them to stand on their feet. Their orientation was creating managers or technical jobs in a corporate house. In a similar manner, education will now be required to enable people become entrepreneurs, freelancers and be in a position to fulfill their aspirations through this route.