Friday, December 14, 2007

The London Business School Kicks of its Annual India Trip

Conference on "Exploring Business Opportunities in Rural India"
topic often discussed in India is the rural-urban divide and how the two economies of the country are increasingly growing apart. The popular belief remains that urban India is growing at the cost of rural India. The reality is that over the past two decades rural India has grown significantly faster than urban India - the rural economy is estimated to have grown on an average of 7.3% as compared to a 5.4% in the urban economy. India's more than 700 million villagers now account for the majority of consumer spending in the country. A new prosperity is being witnessed.

Speakers at the conference include: Ajay Piramal (Chairman Nicholas Piramal) Nachiket Mor (President, ICICI Foundation), JJ Irani (Director Tata Sons, Dr. Viral Acharya,( Professor, London Business School), Priya Basu (The World Bank), Sanjeev Asthana (CEO, Reliance Retail Agri Business) Sanjay Kapoor (President Bharti Airtel Mobility) Vijay Mahajan (CEO ,BASIX) Naveen Jindal (MD Jindal Steel, Member of Parliament) Abhijit Banerjee (Professor, MIT) Amit Mehra (MD, Reuters Market Light) Madhu Yashki (Member of Parliament), Dr. Gita Piramal (Managing Editor, The Smart Manager) Richard Stagg (CMG, British High Commissioner to India)

The conference approaches the theme in 3 ways through its interactive panel discussions-

-- Rural Markets and Entrepreneurship: This panel seeks to explore the issues faced by entrepreneurs in setting up and starting a business focused on the rural Indian market. It tackles issues such as raising capital, drafting a workable business plan and incubating the business. Speakers on this panel are Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs who evaluate and execute these investment opportunities.

-- Financial Products for the Rural Consumer; Despite having an elaborate network of public banks vast majorities of India's poor are excluded from the formal financial sector. This panel explores the challenges and opportunities in addressing financial services needs of the rural consumer. In particular it explores the size and the viability of the Microfinance market, the risk profile of the rural borrower from a theoretical perspective, a policy view of institutions operating in the market and a comparison of returns versus the urban market. The panels constitute speakers from local government, the World Bank, and heads of large Indian banks.

-- Supply Chain and Logistics: As the Indian retail and manufacturing sectors open up, there are new challenges in logistics and supply chains in rural areas, particularly to source farm produce and delivery of goods and services. This panel deals with the challenge of connecting rural production centres to urban markets with a specific focus on infrastructure and information challenges. Speakers on the panel include Presidents and CEO's of FMCG and telecommunication companies, entrepreneurs, MP's and academics.

Each Panel has been conceptualized to provide three distinct views on the sub-theme. The first is a practitioners view (representing this view is a successful entrepreneur or CEO/president of a large FMCG/Bank/VC fund). The second is an Academic/theoretical view provided by a professor of the London Business School or MIT. Finally each panel has a member of parliament or a representative from the World Bank to provide a government or policy view on the issue. Panels will be moderated by - Suhel Seth managing partner of Counselage, Vivian Fernandes of CNBC, and Phil Smith of Reuters.

Founded in 1965, the London Business School has a rich portfolio of degree and non-degree programmes to suit students and executives at every stage of their career. Both the School's full-time and Executive MBA programmes are counted among the world's best according to the Financial Times and BusinessWeek business education surveys.

The India Business Forum (IBF) is a student run organisation conceived under the guidance of the late Professor Sumantra Ghosal in 2002-2003. IBF serves as a confluence for global business leaders, noted academics, keen investors, outstanding entrepreneurs, and aspiring students. The organization aims to stimulate debate on key business issues in India.

The India trip "Yaatra" is an annual event organised by the student community at the London Business School, this year over 20 students from around10 nationalities will travel across India to experience the country's distinct culture, history and learn about business opportunities in India at the conference.

Imperial Hotel, Registration Details
Dec 16th, at 8:30 AM

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