English business news channel ET Now has announced Season 8 of ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’, a platform featuring start-ups and small businesses. With the theme ‘Small to scalable’, Leaders of Tomorrow Season 8 will focus on empowering upcoming businesses with relevant information and access to experts. Anchored by Sunanda Jayaseelan, the new season started airing on September 9 at 10.30 pm.
With a yearlong content series, ET Now brings some inspiring stories of businesses and the people behind them through topical panel discussions, interviews and feature stories. Leaders of Tomorrow’s first episode will see Nitin Gadkari, Minister for MSME and Minister, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India, in an exclusive two-part sit-down interview, where he discusses the recent hit on lending by banks to small businesses and what the government is doing to help alleviate the situation.
The first week of the season will also see a two-part panel discussion on the overarching theme for the new season of Leaders of Tomorrow, Small to Scalable with Ashish Chauhan, MD and CEO, BSE, Ajay Kela, President & CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, Samina Vaziralli, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Cipla, A Velumani, Founder, Thyrocare and Roopa Kudva, MD, Omidyar Network discussing and debating on what are the biggest challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs this year.
Nikunj Dalmia, Managing Editor, ET Now, said, “Over the course of seven years, Leaders of Tomorrow has risen to become India’s largest entrepreneurship platform that brought the biggest government and business stakeholders and most innovative small business on to one platform. This year we celebrate some of the most inspiring start up success stories, addressing the entire value chain of empowerment – Inspiring, Showcasing and Recognising.”
Speaking to ET Now on the launch episode of the show, Gadkari said he is confident that the share of MSMEs to GDP will go up to 50% from the 30% right now and his vision for Bharat Craft, an e-commerce portal exclusively for MSMEs being set up the government. He added, “Entrepreneurs must accept the problems and convert them into opportunities. Innovation and research will play a pivotal role in the future for MSMEs.”
V. Vaidyanathan, MD and CEO, IDFC First Bank, said, “Embracing digitisation is going to be crucial for growth. Also, the government's role as a facilitator for the growth of small businesses is important."
Kela said, “With exploding youth population and meagre job creation in India today, the Wadhwani Foundation seeks to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs across India. Hence, I am extremely pleased with our association with Season 8 of ET Now’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme, which provides an opportunity to evangelise and champion entrepreneurship at a national level. Additionally, we hope to leverage our global entrepreneurship knowledge and expert resources to enrich the programme content that would provide SME entrepreneurs and start-ups with fitting advice and learning to help them thrive.”
For the first time ever on one platform, Leaders of Tomorrow Season 8 presents the Knowledge Council, which will act as the ‘Powerhouse’ of guidance and learning for the sector. The council of experts includes Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys; Deep Kalra, Chairman and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip; Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation; Samina Vaziralli, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Cipla; Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and MD, Nestle India; Sangita Reddy, Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals; A Velumani, Creator and MD, Thyrocare; Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, Rasna; Anupam Pahuja, MD, PayPal India and Rahul Chari, Co-Founder and CTO, PhonePe. These experts will mentor the best entrepreneurs over the course of the season.
Season 8 will also introduce a nation-wide challenge where entrepreneurs stand to become the best in the country and stand the chance to win funding by impressing the biggest investors and venture capitalists in the business. The pitch will be made at the four zonal rounds and culminate at the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards.
Bringing an expert panel to interact with small businesses to understand their aspirations, concerns and questions, the season will continue to host Leaders of Tomorrow Entrepreneurial Connect, an extensive mentoring workshop across 16 cities.