Raj's Lab

Strategy and Entrepreneurship


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Announcement: “How to start a business?” Workshop

Too many times during my interactions with aspiring entrepreneurs and students I am asked to handle sessions on “How to start a business?” It is a rather obvious question that every serious wannabe entrepreneur ends up facing. Since there are not too many people well versed in the regulatory affairs and equally adept at teaching them, I find it difficult to refer them anywhere.

So, when Kalyan (a dear friend) called in to share details about his training company (Ace Academy) offering a one day workshop by the title “How to start a business?” I voluntarily accepted to share the information amongst my network.

If you are a serious entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur or a curious student wanting to know what kind of enterprise to set and the related regulatory requirements, then this is the workshop to attend. The details are below:

The workshop will be held at ACE Academy’s training centre at Mylapore on Saturday, 22nd February, 2014, between 10 AM & 5 PM

The workshop will be interactive and will cover the following steps-

1.0    Analyse the business                                                                                                                            -

- Classify according to manufacturing, trading or services

- Know your peers and competitors

- Decide what operations to outsource and which ones to retain in-house

2.0   Decide on the location

- Closer to the customer or closer to the resources

3.0   Decide on the funds  required and means of funding

- Prepare Business Plan

- Decide fund requirements

- Decide on sources of funds

4.0   Decide on the entity

- Decide based on flexibility, speed, credibility, limited liability, cost, etc

5.0   Decide on the name

- Tips on naming

- Booking the name

- Relationship between name and entity

- Apply for trade mark / copy right

6.0   Form the entity

- Proprietorship

- Partnership

- One Person Company

- LLP

- Private Limited Company

- Public Limited Company

7.0   Obtain PAN & TAN

- PAN

- TAN

8.0   Open bank account

- Type of account

- Type of bank

- Documents required

9.0   Registration under tax laws

- Applicability Matrix

- Income Tax

- Central Excise

- VAT & CST

- Service Tax

10.0            Import Export Code and MSME registration

- Import / Export Code

- MSME Registration

The fee for the workshop is Rs. 2,490/- (Including service tax)

Those interested in benefitting from this workshop can contact +91 44 2498 1027 or 97109 28701.

Please contact the above numbers to register! Good Luck and Happy Learning!


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Announcement: Launchpad Challenge 2014

If you are a student interested in Entrepreneurship then you may want to explore this competition. These days competitions truly serve as a launch pad for start-ups in numerous ways. They include validation of concept, finding co-founders, raising funds for bootstrapping, etc.,. So if you are one such entrepreneurial soul living on any campus in India, here is one more chance for you not to miss. For details and links read below:

Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad, and the National Entrepreneurship Network are delighted to invite you to take part in Launchpad Challenge 2014 – an initiative that celebrates and supports breakthrough innovations from students across all disciplines! 

If you are a graduate or post-graduate student in India with an exciting idea/product/prototype to share, enter the Challenge to win national recognition and fast-track commercialization support, including:

  • An opportunity to attend an intensive business plan workshop tailored for you
  • An opportunity to pitch your idea/product to leading investors
  • Recognition at the Launchpad Challenge Grand Finale at EDII, Ahmedabad (to be held on 7th March, 2014)

To enter the Challenge, please submit your completed nomination form (available at link below), on or before 15th February, 2014

Eligibility: The EDII-NEN Launchpad Challenge 2014 is open to all graduate and post-graduate students in India, affiliated to recognized universities or colleges. 

Process: Interested and eligible students are requested to submit their completed nomination forms on or before 15th February, 2014. A national jury will review the nomination forms and select the most innovative ideas/products – which have the highest potential for impact. Selected candidates will be informed by NEN representatives and invited to attend the Grand Finale at EDII, Ahmedabad on 7th March, 2014, where they will take part in an intensive workshop on building effective business plans, and have an opportunity to fast-pitch their ideas or products to investors.

http://eweek.nenonline.org/page/edii-launchpad-challenge-2014


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Launch of MGR Alumni Association (MAA) at Dr MGR University

This weekend I had the honor of being one of the dignitaries at the launch function of the Alumni club of a young university. The alumni club of the Dr MGR University met for the first time on the 26th of January 2014 and set into motion a formal alumni club. Apart from the various guests the committee that convened the event provided me the great opportunity to share the stage as one of the guests and share my thoughts on the occasion. Being one amongst them I felt it was a great chance to speak on behalf of my fellow alumni. When we were students it was an engineering college affiliated to the University of Madras and the same has now grown on to become a Deemed University.

After listening to a host of talks from various guests and taking away a lot of useful inputs for how alumni can associate with the alma mater, I spoke on the importance of living up to the mission of the institution through which we all passed out – ‘To encourage our students to be Job Creators rather than Job Seekers” To my surprise a lot of us had turned entrepreneurial. It was inspiring to see classmates, seniors and juniors gather in large numbers and acknowledge the happiness of being part of the same community. I enjoyed sharing my ideas and opinions on how the alumni club itself can act entrepreneurially and create a network that will not only enhance the value of the University but also provide a strong leverage to all the alumni.

We all went around the campus that had changed over the last decade. It was great meeting our faculty members who sacrificed their weekend to be with us on a Sunday evening. One more round of inspiration from the community (teachers) who are why we are where we are. Every successful person always quotes a teacher in his / her life who had shaped their careers. This shaping also seems to have happened in subtle ways.

An interesting part of the event was to recognize successful endeavors of alumni in a variety of domains including academic excellence, research excellence as well as business excellence apart from corporate excellence.

I enjoyed the event and came back with a lot of thoughts and questions on how entrepreneurship can be applied to areas beyond business enterprise creation. I hope to reflect and write on them in the coming days.

Thanks to the Dr MGR University Management and the MGR Alumni Association (MAA) for giving me this wonderful opportunity. It was truly an honor and experience that I will remember for a long time.

Look forward to meeting more friends and alumni in the next meet up on 26th of January 2015. Hope more people can make it!


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Business Today’s 22nd Anniversary Issue dated 19th January 2014

Due to constant travel and much demand on my time (personal and professional), my reading of magazines has taken a beating in recent times. While I still manage to catch up on a few magazines, it is extremely selective. After a long time I ended up picking a magazine that I read fully (cover to cover).  I also ended up reading it in almost one sitting (I think two in all).BT 22nd Anniv Mag Cover

The issue is interesting for the collection of articles by interesting minds. Right from Al Ries and his clarion call for ‘narrowing focus’ (a topic very close to my heart) to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s interesting statement “I don’t know who Rahul Gandhi is…” the issue contains a good number of articles covering a whole range of domains including but not limited to: urban transportation, Indian toys, Tourism and Kashmir, Inequality and Sufi Music.

You are bound to get a view from top thinkers in their respective fields, interviews with practitioners, evolving trends, facts, figures and sources of information that you may find interesting from your interests. Go ahead and consume this little gem of an issue! Thanks to Business Today to create such a lovely 22nd anniversary issue of their magazine. Congratulations and Hope to see many more lovely issues such as this. Best wishes for the future as well!

For a complete list of articles in the issue and the articles themselves please do look up here: http://businesstoday.intoday.in/issue/334/1/


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How did Raj’s Lab perform in 2013

Seasons Greetings and New Year Wishes 2014!

I enjoy reading the report that WordPress sends on 1st January. It gives a summary of the year’s happenings on the blog. Since this was the first year where I attempted to write regularly I decided to look at it closely. It seems to have been an interesting year and I truly look forward to writing more, having more inputs from readers and more conversations across the world.

Here is a summary of the report that I received and I truly enjoyed reading it…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

334 posts (I am becoming a regular writer)

285 pictures (Looks like my blogs are getting some visual lift)

Page titled “Books” seems to have been getting some regular visitors (Hope to add a few more this year) – http://rajshankar.wordpress.com/books/

Visitors from 127 countries (Going Global – as though we have a choice)

Very interesting stats but the most useful thing that the report does to me is – motivate me to write more! Hope to have another year of writing and conversations!

Seasons Greetings and New Year Wishes for a lovely and peaceful 2014!


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Announcements: Tata First Dot powered by NEN 2014 Edition

Entrepreneurship is gaining momentum across the country. In fact with the economy not really in great shape, everyone is looking to entrepreneurship as a tool to catalyze socioeconomic development. In this context, this unique event ‘Tata First Dot powered by NEN’ deserves attention.

My work in the area of entrepreneurship both as a writer and teacher gives me a chance to travel the length and breadth of the country. While working closely with educational institutions, I am seeing a marked interest from all stakeholders towards entrepreneurship. Even traditional and conservative educational institutions are now exploring the avenues that entrepreneurship can open for their students. What initially started as an extracurricular activity amongst students has now resulted in students running enterprises on campus. And now we have an event, which provides all these student entrepreneurs and campus companies to compete for national level acknowledgement and exposure. The hope is that this will catalyze the creation of entrepreneurs with many (if not most) of these student entrepreneurs graduating, along with their enterprises. This will not only enable growth of small businesses, provide the basis for a few more high growth ventures as well as, create jobs.

We must appreciate the good work initiated by National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) as ‘First Dot’ in 2010, which is now being run by the Tata Group. The event ‘Tata First Dot powered by NEN’ is a unique event as it provides student start-ups a chance to showcase their efforts. It is a big motivator for those who are treading the not so comfortable path.

I am happy to be involved in this event, right from the first year of its inception till date. I am happy to see the progress, reach, and impact that it is having on entrepreneurial students across the country. I am sharing this message regarding the 4th edition, to spread the message in my own small way. Please ask your student entrepreneurs to participate and spread their wings. For details look up the following web sites:

Tata First Dot – http://www.tatafirstdot.com

National Entrepreneurship Network – http://www.nenonline.org

Good Luck with your efforts!


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Announcements: Demise of Mr Venkat Ramani on 03-Nov-2013

News appeared in The Hindu on 05th Nov’13: http://www.thehindu.com/obituary/05th-november-2013/article5317088.ece

So many people die every day. Why am I writing about this man’s passing away? Because I knew him, I met him, I interacted with him and I had discussions with him; but he is no more there for any of those. This is why I am writing this!28383_129417323750068_7156775_n

When we started ichiban (my entrepreneurial venture) I met a lot of people, but no one was willing to give me a chance to kick-start my work. Mr Venkat did, not easily, but he did. He was professionally demanding, but when we crossed over his high bar, we saw his kind personal side. We worked with him and his team for years. We learnt a lot from him. We had a common interest as well – philosophy! I met him at Swami Parthasarathy’s Chennai lectures about 18 months ago. His sense of humour is not common. He pulled my leg and we had a good laugh outside the Music Academy hall during the lecture days. We parted that evening hoping to catch up soon, which we did. We met up with some new business proposals once, and then decided to follow up on them, which was never to be. I heard he had taken ill and was not to return to serious work again. He was fighting a tough phase of his life. I left my thoughts about taking on the new opportunity that we had discussed and prayed for his early recovery.

Man proposes, God disposes – isn’t it so true? Heard a few days back that this man who got me started, inspired me by his approach to business was no more! It was a kind of shock even though I had kept myself abreast about his deteriorating health. May his soul rest in peace!

Earlier, when we had started ‘ichiban Academy’ and started running courses for aspiring entrepreneurs, I made it a point to get inspirational speakers into the classroom. In one of our early batches, I invited Mr Venkat to speak. The little classroom was filled to the brim, some even standing on the edges to catch a little glimpse of the talk. He spoke about ‘The Secret’ and how he had applied the law of attraction and positive affirmations in his life to recover from a serious health challenge. His story was moving, inspiring, meaningful, and motivating for the young minds who had gathered to listen. Here was a man who changed the lives of a few that evening! But today he is no more and I wish to share this with all those who listened to him that evening, so that they can say a little prayer for his soul.28383_129417320416735_7214104_n

Life gives us opportunities to learn. The divine uses every opportunity to send lessons to us. The vehicle chosen can be anything or anyone – people, objects, experiences, sounds, illusions, visions, etc but the message is delivered. Sadly we have in the course of our busy lives forgotten the way to listen. We ignore these messages of truth, hoping that all that happens around us is not something that will happen to us. This is one of the fundamental errors, all of us commit. This does not mean we become pessimistic with life, but we must take efforts to lead it with greater meaning. Even finding meaning in life does not happen these days! On this occasion, I did not want to miss sharing this message. I am sure a person who used to attend Gita lectures (Mr Venkat) and one who inspired us that evening with his heart warming personal story, would have happily shared this.

Thanks Venkat for inspiring us! We will always remember you and your wishes. I am sure all the students who you inspired will remember you and your message always as well. May your soul rest in peace!


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Announcement: International Conference on Entrepreneurial Approaches to Librarianship 2013

As a person associated with Entrepreneurship both in theory and practice, I am happy to have the pleasure of associating with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), Ahmedabad. I have presented papers at their conferences, handled sessions at their programs and also continue to work along on number of initiatives. The importance this institute plays in the economic and social development of this country is vital. Apart from the impact, the hospitality and the friendly atmosphere at the institute, the high intellectual stimulation that one receives when one is on campus and also the lovely campus facilities makes a visit to the campus fruitful on many counts.

A conference from a reputed institution is a great place for intellectuals to assemble, learn, share and discuss. The topic of the conference makes it all the more interesting not just to people in Entrepreneurship, but also to Librarians, Book Lovers, Bibliophiles, amongst others. I am sure many of us would find value in the conference.

MANLIBNET 2013 Conference Details

Block your dates if it appeals to you! Be there in whatever form you wish to be! If you have ideas to share, this is a wonderful event to get it published, if you want to learn, this is the event to learn from the experts, and if not anything else, it is a great chance to spend a few days just thinking about the ‘libraries’, ‘books’, and all about the love to spread it.

To know more about the conference such as objectives, themes, dates, etc.,. And to register please look up: http://manlibnet.in/manlibnet2013/index.html

Organizing Institutions and their websites:

www.ediindia.org or www.manlibnet.in


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My Third Book – Essentials Of Entrepreneurship

With humility and immense gratitude, I wish to share with you the news of upcoming release of my third book – “Essentials of essentials of entrepreneurship.rpgEntrepreneurship”.  

After the release of my Second Book “Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice”, I got many requests from academicians, students and associations for an introductory level primer on entrepreneurship.  It is this encouragement and enthusiastic response from the faculty and students, that launched me on the journey of putting together this book. This book has been created with the intention of providing a run through of the essentials of the subject. The book is slated to release by end of June 2013.

This book has been created with the intention of providing a run through of the essentials of the subject. An organized study of entrepreneurship has always been debated, because of the great degree of the ‘doing’ aspect of the subject. It also has emerged from the area of management science. Though the subject is at its infancy, it is also assuming its rightly deserved place as an inter-disciplinary rather multi disciplinary science. Hence the subject undergoes changes, rather rapidly in comparison with other older subjects. The book attempts to provide the reader a sound introduction to the various aspects that comprise the subject of entrepreneurship.

The book is structured to mimic the real journey of entrepreneurship – from opportunity sighting to managing and growing the venture. The book intersperses concepts, frameworks, examples, statistics, references and illustrations to help students understand and connect to the topic that is being studied. The caselets and the profile of entrepreneurs provided towards the end of the book aims to ignite and inspire thoughts around entrepreneurship. Apart from chapter end review questions, there are an ample number of solved question papers and a fully solved paper to help students negotiate the demand of the curriculum. Designed to align to the undergraduate syllabus of many leading universities, this book will serve as a primer for the uninitiated students, taking the subject for the first time.

For more information on the book, please feel free to contact me (ichiban.raj@gmail.com) or the publishers Vijay Nicole.


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Announcement: Talk On Ramakrishna-Vivekananda: A Sacred Relationship

Vivekananda&RamkrishnaParamsansaIn today’s world many relationships are getting redefined (not necessarily refined). But one relationship that is still held sacred by many is the relationship that exists between a student and his guru. Being a teacher myself, I am constantly moved by the dynamics of student-teacher relationship. Every interaction with a student, goes into defining me as a better teacher and a better person. 

The relationship that existed between Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekanada is one that transcends any humanly perceivable notions of a guru-shishya relationship. The mutual admiration, love and respect serves as an inspiration even for a common man, who stumbles upon just snippets about the equation. I consider it a great honor to be able to share some of my thoughts on this sacred relationship between the Master and the Master Disciple of all times on 19th May 2013. The talk titled “Ramakrishna-Vivekananda: A Sacred Relationship” is being organized by Friends Of Same Wavelength, Annanagar.

If you are in Chennai on 19th May 2013, you may want to drop in for the event. It would be great to have you there

The details of the event is as given below:

Title: “Ramakrishna-Vivekananda: A Sacred Relationship”

Date: 19th May 2013, Sunday

For:  Friends of Same Wavelength, Annanagar (FOSWL)

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Venue: Natesan Institute of Cooperative Management, 4th Avenue, Annanagar at 5:00 pm.

Contact:  Dr.VS Sarma, President FOSWL, Annanagar 9941328377

Admission: Free

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