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TiEcon Southeast: An Action-Packed Day for Entrepreneurs

By Neha Negandhi
June 2016
TiEcon Southeast: An Action-Packed Day for Entrepreneurs

Keynote speaker Sid Mookerji. (Photo: Bytegraph)

“Building a business is good, but a successful business must have an exit strategy,” was the resounding message at the 2016 The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Southeast conference. TiE Atlanta’s annual hallmark conference creates a one-day incubus for networking, idea circulation, and opportunity for collaboration. Held at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North on April 16, as usual the agenda was packed with four key-note speakers, 15 roundtable sessions, with six universities and six high schools pitching business ideas.


Keynote speaker John Cook. (Photo: Bytegraph)

The morning keynote fireside chat had “uberpreneur” Sid Mookerji, global CEO and founder of award-winning Software Paradigms International (SPI), chatting with his mentor, John Cook, co-founder of the publicly held global company, Profit Recovery Group (PRG). The prolific Mookerji talked about the immersion of retail sales in technology like internet, mobile devices, and social media. His mentor, Cook, who is retired from PRG, talked on how to present and integrate successful exit strategies when developing and building a business. “Think ahead and look for the right opportunities,” Cook said, “because a well-planned and well-executed exit can be one of the most lucrative parts of the business.” Both men iterated that giving back to community should be an integral part of business ownership.

Topics for the round-table discussions ranged from “First Time Entrepreneurs: What Lies Ahead”, “Real Estate—Right Time? Right Investment?” to one on “TEN things No One Told Me About Being an Entrepreneur.” Table moderators Marci McCarthy (T.E.N.) and Rahul Saxena (Digital Health Department) elaborated on why it’s important to pay yourself, though cautiously, because “cash is king.”

Simultaneously, university and high school students were presenting/pitching their business ideas to a panel of success-proven entrepreneurs. The TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) program gave students weeks of training and hands-on mentorship to help them develop their projects and present them before the judges. First place amongst the high school pitches went to Team Regen (provides better and cost efficient treatment for burn victims using placental stem cells to regrow natural skin) while Team Banyan Tech (manufacturing next generation nanomaterials for electronic devices) won the university student pitches.

Closing keynote speakers were Scott Ellyson, CEO, East West Manufacturing and Charles Lipman, Chairman, DiversiTech. While Lipman approached risk as “a four-letter word that should be avoided,” Ellyson embraced the ambiguity and the action/reaction process that taking on meaningful risk requires. Lipman advised the audience that companies’ exit strategy should “give voice to the voiceless [employees]; make sure that those that work for the company stay in good shape even if [the] CEO exits.”


TiE-Atlanta President Kanchana Raman (Photos: Bytegraph)

“TiEcon SE can help build entrepreneurial safety nets in the shape of strong peer network and establish social trust. It is a place where the entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged and motivated,” said Kanchana Raman, TiE Atlanta President.

Dana Barrett, radio show host on biz 1190 AM WAFS, emceed the event with the same upbeat vigor she exudes on the radio.

Attendees were encouraged to network, collaborate, and create peer-to-peer social circles. Many raved about the positive experience.

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