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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Inspiring young entrepreneurs

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The Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN) recently hosted one of Asia’s most successful tech start-up entrepreneurs Sundeep Sahni, in Melbourne at the marquee event How to Build a Tech Startup.

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Just days after his speech it was announced, the former Lazada Indonesia managing director, Sahni has been appointed Vice President of embattled Indian taxi firm Ola.

At the YSPN event though, Sahni gave nothing away. Delivering a keynote speech drawing on his experiences transitioning from the very lucrative but cut-throat and competitive field of investment banking at Credit Suisse in New York, to private equity, and finally, to co-founding Lazada, South East Asia’s biggest e-commerce website, often described as Asia’s version of Amazon, Sahni was open and frank.

Sahni’s journey with Lazada began in 2012. Today, that same company is worth more than one billion dollars, operates in six countries and employs more than 4000 people.

Sahni inspired the Melbourne audience while imparting his top secrets to success.

“The idea is only 10 per cent of the game,” he said. “Execution is the key.”

Despite his own educational pedigree, having an MBA from INSEAD, a top global business school, when looking to hire for your business, Sahni suggested, “Go for attitude over expertise.”

Perhaps most importantly, Sahni instilled courage in the audience.

“As an entrepreneur, you will be alone, you will doubt yourself and you will get rejections. The key is to believe in yourself and be thick-skinned.”

Nowhere is this advice more important. In an industry where over 90 per cent of businesses fail within the first three years, it takes a considerable amount of confidence to face those odds and surmount them.

Having launched in 2013, this event continued YSPN’s efforts in Melbourne. In the past few years the organisation has successfully delivered six marquee events with hundreds of attendees.

This particular event continued the conversation initially begun by Ash Singh in July 2014, about embracing the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of the Sikh community, and the changing nature of work, careers and success.

YSPN is driven by its mission to ‘create the conditions for young Sikh professionals to succeed and amplify their influence’.

Further events are planned for the remainder of the year, and more information can be found at their website www.yspn.org.au.

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