Pandemic opens up digital opportunities for young entrepreneurs: Harsh Mariwala

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on October 06, 2020

Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman, Marico   -  Kamal Narang

Innovation, pioneering and differentiation are key to business success, said Marico’s Founder and Chairman Harsh Mariwala, at TiECON Chennai 2020.

Addressing an online session on the theme Right to Win, Mariwala urged entrepreneurs to identify the right business model where they can innovate, be a pioneer and a differentiator in the marketplace to overcome competition.

For instance, identifying the right opportunity by pioneering a segment enabled Marico to earn a large market share. It is important for entrepreneurs to identify what will work in the marketplace. Otherwise, it will become difficult to compete with just another “me too” product, he said. “The innovation of converting tin to plastic packaging for coconut oil played a very important role in the company’s success,” he said. “I am a firm believer in prototyping. Start with consumer insights and find out what they want. Discuss your product with consumers; incorporate their feedback and then launch it in a test market to get a feeler. This will help entrepreneurs launch their business on a much larger scale. The quality of oil was also crucial,” he told entrepreneurs.

It is important to create the right employee value proposition. Entrepreneurs have to win this war in a highly competitive talent market by identifying what is the unique thing they are offering that will help to attract talent. Empowerment, agility and a flat organisation structure helped Marico attract the right talent, he said.

Covid trends

In an interactive discussion with Meenakshi Ramesh, Executive Director of United Way Chennai, Mariwala said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated many trends. In the FMCG segments, it was difficult to launch new products and create a brand because of the distribution infrastructure and the need to advertise on television. However, with the digital spread, e-commerce and modern trade, there are new opportunities for young entrepreneurs to launch brands that are created and sold digitally, he said.

While building an all India distribution network will be a challenge for young entrepreneurs they can co-exist based on their offering and also by identifying a niche where the bigwigs don’t operate. With removal of distribution and advertisement barriers in the FMCG sector, newer niches are getting occupied in the segment providing a scope for co-existence, he said.

Published on October 06, 2020

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