A Novel IDEA
Date: Saturday , October 26, 2002
A group of entrepreneurs and professionals recently decided to jump-start Indian entrepreneurship in the U.S. by founding the non-profit Indian Entrepreneurs Organization (IDEA), which provides a forum for Indian entrepreneurs and professionals to network and share ideas in an open, democratic, and transparent manner. IDEA also plans to conduct monthly and annual meetings in which professionals, students, and entrepreneurs can network effectively.
Jyoti Das, founder and CEO of Ask Software Corporation and a founding member of IDEA, admits that there are other organizations catering to the needs of Indian professionals and entrepreneurs but points out that these organizations are not “democratic in the truest sense.”
“They are feudal with different levels of membership. Some members are more equal than others, and only those higher-level members can vote and participate in leadership roles,” Das explains.
By contrast, all of IDEA's members have an equal vote, and it is absolutely free to join: the entrance fee for IDEA's events covers the cost of operation. Das emphasizes that IDEA's primary aim is to promote Indian entrepreneurship in the U.S.
IDEA held its inaugural event at the Hilton Hotel, Deerfield Beach in South Florida on September 26, 2002. There were two high-profile speakers, including Jane Teague, Executive Director of Florida Enterprise Development Corporation, who discussed the challenges of building high-tech companies in South Florida, and Vinnie Mirchandani, founder and CEO of IQ4hire, who spoke about software outsourcing and profit-generation. These lively discussions were very well-attended, with an actively participating audience.
Das is confident that the idea of IDEA will be infectious, quickly spreading throughout the U.S. “Entrepreneurship, not charity, is behind the success of any country or its people. IDEA's aim is to foster Indian entrepreneurship. The enthusiasm and energy of our members is truly infectious, and these qualities will soon position IDEA to be the premier professional and entrepreneurial Indian organization in the U.S.,” Das effuses.