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Enriching the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Jaya Smitha Menon
Friday, October 1, 2010
In the year 2000, when Jassi Chadha told the CEO of his previous employer that he wanted to quit his job and create marketRx, the CEO was so impressed by the idea and so confident of Chadha’s success that he wrote him a check for $200,000 and joined marketRx a year later. The rest is history. In three short years, Chadha had opened two offices with over 170 employees and realized a tenfold return on the initial investment. What Chadha had seen was an obvious need for a solution provider that could transform the pharmaceutical sales and marketing paradigm as dramatically as the market and industry were changing. Today, marketRx is a part of Cognizant as Chadha made a successful exit. But the entrepreneur in him had this unsatiated thirst and he has begun his second innings with Axtria.

However, Chadha’s interests do not end here. Apart from steering his own venture, he is also fostering entrepreneurship and growing the ecosystem. Currently, as the President of TiE-NJ, Philadelphia, a relatively new chapter of TiE Global, Chadha is fostering entrepreneurship in NJ-Philadelphia area through mentoring, networking, and education. “TiE has a major role in making me an entrepreneur,” says Chadha who used to be a regular attendee at the various events organized by TiE Tristate at NewYork in his initial days. Later he began to take an active role in the activities of TiE Tristate and became a charter member.

TiE NJ-Philly is an offshoot of TiE Tristate. New Jersey and Philadephia had quite a lot of entrepreneurs who would often find it difficult to make it to NewYork for various events of the Tristate. Hence the need for a chapter in this geographic area became a necessity. Today under the leadership of Chadha, the TiE-NJ-Philly Chapter is helping the budding entrepreneurs in this geography to realize their goals and dreams by conducting various events, providing mentoring, and networking opportunities.
“There are aspects of entrepreneurship like optimism, excitement, energy, and a sense of adventure that is inspiring to read and get excited. It also drives people to do more and pursue big dreams. However, the path of entrepreneurship is often lonely, hard, and the journey hectic with challenges of different sorts. That’s why entrepreneurs need to be supported and find the right support in programs that TiE offers,” says Chadha.

The story of TiE-NJ-Philly is incomplete without the story of Raj Lakhanpal, a doctor turned entrepreneur and the founding President of the chapter. Lakhanpal had set his entrepreneurial dreams when he was doing his graduation in medicine. The budding doctor could see a major gap in the healthcare system and his dream was to fill the gap. He realized his dreams through his association with TiE. Lakhanpal was mentored by Kanwal Rekhi, one of the founders of TiE, who shaped his entrepreneurial dreams. When Lakhanpal shared his business idea with Rekhi, the mentor became a venture capitalist to his first venture Health A-Z. The idea hit the space and his company became a success and he made a profitable exit in 2006 to start his new venture SpectrMD. Talking about his journey, Lakhanpal says, “In your journey as an entrepreneur, there will be a lot of people who will tell you why your idea will not work. A successful entrepreneur never gets disheartened and strives towards his goal.”

The success stories at TiE are a result of Chapter activities focused on the three pillars ? networking, mentoring, and education. TiE-NJ-Philly also holds various events to initiate these activities at both New Jersey and Philadelphia areas in its journey to foster entrepreneurship, the engine of growth of the economy.

Entrepreneurship is a hot topic these days. It features frequently in discussions among policy makers, academic researchers, and even in more mundane talk shows. There is a large consensus that entrepreneurship is good and should be encouraged. There is also growing scientific evidence that entrepreneurial activities matter for employment, productivity, and ultimately economic growth.

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