Entrepreneurship – the Engine of Asia Economy
Post from Vamsi Parchuri M’14, member of the 2013 BAEF Team
Babson Asian Entrepreneurship Forum (BAEF) would like to thank all those who supported, volunteered, and attended the forum. It was not easy competing against the Red Sox’s victory parade, and it was indeed a pleasant surprise to see such an overwhelming turnout for the event. So a big thank you to all of you!
President Kerry Healy started off with her inaugural speech highlighting the importance of recognizing Asia’s potential in today’s global economy. She encouraged Babson students to leverage the strong relationships built with fellow students from Asia and explore opportunities in Asian markets. The inaugural speech was then followed by the first key-note speaker of the day, David James Brunner. Brunner is the founder and CEO of a Silicon Valley based tech start-up called Module Q that is hoping to disrupt the way the world uses email.
Brunner’s encounter with Asia occurred during his doctoral studies in Japan, where he was studying its entrepreneurial ecosystem. The audience was taken aback when he mentioned that the culture of technology oriented entrepreneurship was virtually non-existent, and that Japan is more about “intrepreneurship”. He mentioned the story of a successful “intrepreneur” who revolutionized the way Japanese Banks implemented their back-office IT servers by leveraging the concept of modularity.
Brunner took keen interest in this concept of modularity and used it to develop ModuleQ. He encouraged the aspiring entrepreneurs at Babson to look at Modularity to generate innovative ideas and even business models. His parting advice to all those looking East for their entrepreneurial adventures is to just get up and go! He said that there always is some English speaking Japanese business person who would be more than happy to meet with enterprising people from the west. So don’t just look East, Go East!
As we moved on to panel sessions, Stan Fung, the managing director of Farsight Ventures, laid out the harsh reality of entrepreneurship- it is not easy! He spoke about how the surge in demand for offshoring has led to excess capacity in the Chinese manufacturing industry and that it is only going to get worse. He foresees a significant shift toward the services sector particularly in Healthcare, Financial, and Travel related services. In addition, he is also quite bullish on the domestic consumption play in China and sees good opportunities in Retail, Consumer Discretionary products, and Entertainment sectors. However, the panelists cautioned Babson students to not expect that western business techniques and principles will work just as well in Asian countries. For example, Sanjay Mandava, an American citizen who started a real estate enterprise in India spoke about how he had to unlearn his western business training, and adapt to and accept the local business culture.
The conference ended with an inspiring keynote speech by our last speaker- Mr. Santhana Krishnan, a former entrepreneur, and currently an Angel Investor. When asked about what opportunity Asia holds, Mr. Krishnan pointed out the following interesting facts
- Asia has 60% of the world’s population and is expected to have 40% of the world’s middle class consumption by 2030.
- Asia has 2.5 billion of the world’s 4.3 billion mobile phone users, and the mobile ad space is expected to rise from $2.7B to $13B by 2017.
- $8 trillion worth of investments expected to be made in Asian countries
So, get up and go to Asia, meet people, explore, learn and adapt to local ways, and most importantly do not be afraid to ride the wave of the world’s next big opportunity for entrepreneurs.