The journey of an entrepreneur is always interesting. However, it can also be a long and lonely road, especially during the current difficult time. The second wave of Covid-19 has greatly affected human lives and businesses. Given the fact that many companies are in survival mode, the ASCENT Foundation, a non-profit initiative of Harsh Mariwala (FMCG President Marico Major), is playing a key role in extending support. relevant to its members and the larger business ecosystem. through the crisis, through peer learning and peer support, and strategies to combat the pandemic.
“ASCENT started as a Mumbai chapter in 2012 and expanded to Chennai in 2018. With the vision of impacting in large numbers and enabling ASCENT’s support to entrepreneurs across the country, I have always wanted to go all out. ‘India,’ says Foundation founder Mariwala. . “The pandemic introduced us to a new normalcy and, having witnessed the ease with which members adapted to the virtual meeting structure, ASCENT launched the India-wide chapter in April. of 2020 with members from across the country forming part of a trust group that meets virtually every month. . The increase in the number of applications and interest shown from level 2 and level 3 cities validates the need for a platform like ASCENT for entrepreneurs across India especially at times like these, ”he adds.
“ASCENT is designed as a peer-to-peer learning platform for growing entrepreneurs and leverages the power of the collective and allows entrepreneurs to share experiences, ideas, ideas through self-facilitated trust groups and an expanded network of facilitators says Archanna Das, head of ASCENT. Foundation. Trust groups have between 10 and 12 entrepreneurs who do not compete on a similar business scale and stage who act as a sounding board for each other.
Now, take a quick look at some of the success stories of recent times. A first-generation entrepreneur in the IT industry and a member of ASCENT for more than eight years had to face bankruptcy in 2018. With his business trip stopped, he decided to leave his trusted group . However, members of the trust group asked him not to go out and it was a sounding board for them. With the support and motivation of the members, he restarted his business and currently runs a profitable business.
Again, an entrepreneur who ran a brick and mortar company was very pleased with a 20% growth in his business. However, his trust group helped him identify his blind spot and see an opportunity to disrupt his own business and start a business in the cloud. This pivot has proven to be fruitful for the entrepreneur.
In the last eight years, ASCENT has incorporated more than 680 entrepreneurs as members (of more than 2000 applications received) who are part of 59 trusted operational groups in the chapters of Mumbai, Chennai and all over India. The composition of these trust groups indicates a 46:54 split between manufacturing and service industries; 42% family businesses; 10% of women entrepreneurs, with more than 65 various industries represented. “The aggregate annual turnover of ASCENT members is more than 27 billion euros, with an individual turnover of members ranging from 1 million to 2000 million more.”
ASCENT has become stronger during the Covid crisis. “In an effort to extend relevant support to our members and the larger business ecosystem through the crisis, a survey was conducted among cohort members and a set of entrepreneurial tools was designed based on the 144 responses (27%) received, with challenges and strategies. fight the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of employee pay, cash flow management and the challenges of working from home, and so on. says Das.
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