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Evangelise the entrepreneurship

Zafar Anjum | April 29, 2013
In a wide-ranging interview, Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, India, speaks of the three pillars of startups, the Singapore scene, the new direction of the Indian IT industry, and corporate governance.

Som Mittal

Som Mittal, President, Nasscom

I had interviewed Som Mittal, President, Nasscom, India, more than a year ago when I was working on my Satyam book (The Resurgence of Satyam, 2012). Nasscom is the premier trade body for the IT-BPO Industry in India.

However, it was a telephonic interview and besides that, we had communicated with each other via email. It's difficult to get hold of Mittal because most of the time he is either flying or is on the road. That's why when I got a chance to meet him in Singapore, I leapt at the opportunity.

Mittal was in Singapore in the first week of April to participate in the global IIM Alumni event, Impact (5-6 April 2013). This was a high powered gathering of the global business leaders and other distinguished alumni of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). I spent some time with Mittal on the sidelines of this event.

Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

What brings you to Singapore?

Well, it's always exciting to come here and you look for an excuse. At this time, I am an IIM graduate myself and the IIM Impact, what's happening, it has been done on a global scale. The topics are very interesting because it's talking about the new opportunities and new frontiers. It's right there so we just thought we would come and share our experience and talk about the opportunities that we have and the influence that all of us can make collaboratively. So, I think that's why we're here. For just the few sessions that I have been here, it's been very exciting.

Is the aim of this event (Impact) to connect with the Indian managers and Indian entrepreneurs or is it to connect with a larger audience?

What is really happening is Singapore has become a very significant hub. A lot of funding happens through this (city state) and also it is a gateway to the markets that are coming in. There are also a lot of people who actually want to contribute to the Indian story in finding out ways in how they can participate in the growing Indian market if looked at from a Singaporean perspective. The markets here can only be limited and opportunities are where the populations are.

We have a very large diaspora in Singapore and I think that provides the connect.... What you normally get in the media, my apologies, (is that) they get some side of it which is typically about what India is not. I think these (events) help us bring to face what India is and in spite of what we are not, there is only so much we can do and I think that we really have some amazing stories of very successful people and I think many of the projects that got funded were from Singaporean companies or funds here.


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