Harsh Mariwala-backed ASCENT Foundation plans expansion

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on July 27, 2019

ASCENT Foundation, a Mumbai-based peer-to-peer sharing and mentoring platform for entrepreneurs is planning to double its membership base and venture into more cities by the end of 2020, a senior official of the foundation told BusinessLine.

“Currently, we have 460 members together in the Mumbai and Chennai chapters, and we are planning to take this count to 1,000 members by December 2020,” said Archanna Das, Head , ASCENT Foundation.

The Mumbai chapter has 410 members across Pune, Nashik and Nagpur and the Chennai chapter has 50 members from Erode, Madurai, Coimbatore and Mahabalipuram. Ascent targets to have 100 members in the Chennai chapter as part of the membership addition.

“We are also planning to enter cities like Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Delhi as part of our expansion,” Das added.

Launched in 2012, Ascent is a not-for-profit initiative of Marico Chairman Harsh Mariwala. The foundation aims to identify high-potential, growth-stage entrepreneurs and enrich their journey through ideas, strategy, goals and action steps.

Ascent follows a rigorous selection process to identify entrepreneurs and on-board them. It has so far received about 1,500 membership applications.

Ascent, which leverages on the ‘power of collective’, puts its members into a peer advisory board called ‘trust groups’. Each trust group of 10-12 entrepreneurs from non-competing diverse industries.

The member composition will also include first-generation entrepreneurs and owners of family-managed business aged between 25-66 years. Each group will also have at least one woman entrepreneur.

The groups meet every month to share their experiences, ideas, insights with fellow entrepreneurs. Ascent follows a ‘non-transactional business model’, which does not allow any kind of financial or business transactions among the group members.

However, the foundation has conducted a fund raising boot camp to groom the growth-stage entrepreneurs to make a presentation to investors.

Ascent is also looking to induct more women entrepreneurs. It charges an annual fee of ₹10,000 and has a selection process which involves orientation and personal interview.

Published on July 26, 2019

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