Author Ravi Venkatesan Discusses India’s Future at AIF Event in DC

The American Bazaar

WASHINGTON, DC: India is a land of opportunities for global multinationals despite the myriad challenges they face in the country, said corporate leader and author Ravi Venkatesan.

Speaking at an event organized by the American India Foundation in Washington, D.C. in partnership with Accenture and TiE DC, on Wednesday, the former Microsoft India chairman expounded the themes he advanced in his critically acclaimed book Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere.

The companies need to have a long-term plan to succeed and learn to adapt to the Indian market, he said. Those companies that are looking for a good time to enter India, or those that don’t want to stay longer, they better not invest in India, he added.

Indian companies might not be ingenious and innovative in a way American companies such as Apple and Microsoft are, but when it comes to delivering good products that are unimaginably low cost, they are second to none, he said.

He listed systemic corruption and poor infrastructure as some of the biggest challenges in India.

In the talk, titled “India: Mouthwatering Opportunities, Eyewatering Challenges,” Venkatesan also mentioned the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also cautioned against having “unrealistic expectations” about the government.

During the question and answer session, Venkatesan, who founded Social Venture Partners India, talked about venture philanthropy, among other issues.

The talk was moderated by Richard Rossow, who is a Senior Fellow and Wadhwani Chair in U.S. -India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Bangalore-based Venkatesan, who is on the board of Infosys and the German giant AB Volvo, is a venture partner at Unitus Seed Fund, which invests in social enterprises. The event was hosted by Jones Day.

Among the attendees were Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Suresh Shenoy, executive vice president at the Virginia-based Information Management Consultants, Inc, Geoff Stewart, Partner at Jones Day and Ricarda Ganjam of Accenture.

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