TiE Melbourne: developing conscious entrepreneurs

How a non-profit is helping entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs

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When Prakash Gupta and his wife Seema migrated to Australia in 2000 as skilled professionals, they were in search of job opportunities. They felt privileged when they successfully secured reliable jobs with their strong overseas qualifications.

However, Prakash always dreamt of starting a business. In 2007 when he was made redundant, he took on the challenge to start his own business.

Within 15 days of his redundancy, Prakash had taken the next step on his entrepreneurial journey. With help and encouragement from Seema who also threw in her job, he established a company that offers technical optimisation solutions for business processes.

Fast forward to 2013. The duo faced a dilemma that all business owners experience. They questioned why their business was not growing and did not know what to do. Open about their lack of business experience, Seema candidly recalled that they desperately needed help and guidance.

Prakash contacted TiE Melbourne and sought mentorship. Having run the business for approximately 6 years, Prakash and Seema knew that they did not know everything about running a business. Their awareness and honest reflection about certain lacking capabilities meant that they had made one of their best decisions in life.

TiE Melbourne connected them with a mentor who selflessly gave up their time to guide and support the Guptas. The mentor’s support meant that the business did not fold. Instead, Prakash and

Seema found the motivation to continue operating their business, following their mentor’s advice.

“Running a business can be lonely,” Prakash ruminated as he spoke to Indian Link. “At the beginning, you do feel isolated because you are learning on your own about how to operate and grow the business.”

“There isn’t someone else doing that for you, like when you are an employee,” Seema added. “When we knew we needed help, we got up and sought it.”

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TiE Melbourne is a chapter of the global not-for-profit organisation The Indus Entrepreneurs, established in 1992 out of Silicon Valley. Initially launched to mentor Indian-origin entrepreneurs in the US over their entrepreneurial journey, TiE has grown into a global association of more than 12,000 members and over 1,800 charter members with 61 chapters across 12 countries.

TiE Melbourne board: (From left) Saurabh Mishra, Treasurer; Sheela Edwards, President ,and Subhash Challa, Vice-President.
TiE Melbourne board: (From left) Saurabh Mishra, Treasurer; Sheela Edwards, President, and Subhash Challa, Vice-President. Image supplied

Sheela Edwards, President of TiE Melbourne, explained that over and above fostering entrepreneurship, the core focus is now on developing conscious entrepreneurs.

“Being aware and mindful of your situation, goals and purpose, is crucial to running a successful business,” Sheela explained.

Since 2003, TiE Melbourne continues to assist entrepreneurs in understanding their purpose. Their focus is on the individual, not the business, and their program and events are driven by purpose-led activities. These activities are developed and run by charter members.

Current charter members cumulatively have decades of experience as entrepreneurs in a variety of industries including health tech, FinTech, education and Edtech, AI, mobile apps, and supply chains.

After engaging with TiE Melbourne in 2013, Prakash became a charter member in 2019. To qualify as a charter member, one must have entrepreneurial experience and meet certain criteria. It is a charter member’s role to give back to the community and support the organisation through mentoring, events, engagement and network development.

TiE Melbourne’s new Vice President, Dr. Subhash Challa reflected on his own journey and the charter members’ role with TiE and explained, “Having crossed the bridge from being an academic to becoming an entrepreneur with the help, support and mentoring I received from TiE, I felt that it’s my time to give back to the community of entrepreneurs and play a positive role in shaping future entrepreneurs.”

Only a few weeks ago, TiE Melbourne hosted its first in-person event following easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Commenting on the occasion, Sheela Edwards said, “It was wonderful to be given the opportunity to meet our charter members face to face and celebrate the progress of TiE Melbourne. 2021 has been an eventful year, with the success of several programs including TiE Women Entrepreneurs and TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and increasing members.”

TiE has become a vibrant platform for entrepreneurs, professionals, industry leaders and investors to interact with one another and forge long-lasting relationships. Collaborating with schools, universities, industry and government, TiE Melbourne is open to any entrepreneur regardless of their time in their entrepreneurial lifecycle.

Encouraging positive gestures by Melbourne’s entrepreneurial cohort, TiE Melbourne helps the business ecosystem leverage experience and wisdom from others willing to share their time and motivate others to not give up.

“We don’t end up where we are without others,” Sheela Edwards emphasised.

For more information about TiE Melbourne, its events and global network, and to become a member, head to its www.melbourne.tie.org.

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Carl Buhariwala
Carl Buhariwala
Carl is a freelance reporter who has a passion to promote community events, the work of not-for-profit organisations and new ideas. He enjoys meeting people and documenting their work for others to read.

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