Dialog with NICE Friends on Oct 26th 2020

Chitra Aiyer 29 October, 2020

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We are happy to share the first dialog we hosted with NICE friends on Oct 26th. Despite being the Dussehra festival holidays, over 70 NICE Friends joined us at 5 pm. We are extremely grateful for the time everybody took to attend our meet and for staying the entire duration. Very many thanks from all of us at NICE.

The purpose of this meeting was to introduce NICE and its core team that came together these past three months, to talk about the plans, answer questions, receive suggestions and comments on NICE and its plans.

Hari Kiran Vadlamani, founder, and Sanjay Anandaram, co-founder of NICE, introduced the organization and the people behind it. It was an engaged conversation with many questions from our friends – it was heartening to see everyone being eager to know more and contribute towards the building of NICE as an open ecosystem that would foster cultural entrepreneurship and ultimately build Brand India.

The conversation and the Q & A sessions are summarised below:

About NICE 

  • What is NICE? 

Network of Indian Cultural Enterprises (NICE) is a unique platform to enable businesses that deliver branded products, services and experiences based on India’s cultural heritage, practices, traditions, and know-how to grow and flourish. Think of NICE as it evolves as TiE + Nasscom + Angel investment forums for the cultural sector.

  • How do we intend to accomplish this? 

We are building an ecosystem that offers education & awareness, mentorship, networks, opportunities to access capital to our entrepreneurs who build businesses across our focus categories. Over time, we intend to have groups that will work on relevant research and policy advocacy.

  • What will guide us? 

At NICE, we are driven by our code of conduct and values. Our focus is on the cultural entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur

  • Cultural entrepreneurs are those who (aim to) build successful businesses that deliver branded products and services based on India’s cultural traditions, practices, heritage and know-how.

We have put out a short blog post about what we define as a cultural enterprise. Read it here.

  • Our raison d’être is the cultural entrepreneur. Here’s what we do:
    1. Connect entrepreneurs with investors, mentors, industry experts, service providers, other entrepreneurs, and partners.
    2. Create different forums and events for entrepreneurs to share and collaborate with different parties.
    3. Accelerate learning through workshops and training for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
    4. Provide information on markets, trends, possibilities and challenges by building a resource repository for entrepreneurs to take informed decisions.
  • Our blogs and interviews will bring stories from the real world that are relevant, educational and aspirational for entrepreneurs.

Community

  • It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, for any large mission to succeed, it needs the support and involvement of a large number of people who passionately believe in the mission. It is heartening to see all of you wanting to commit time, expertise, knowledge and effort to make the mission come alive. The mission of building Brand India through cultural entrepreneurship is like how IT entrepreneurship played a big role in developing Brand India. We implore you to think of this as your effort as well. We will do the heavy lifting.
  • Much like organizations such as the Rotary, LIONS Club, TiE that have many groups across multiple cities but are guided by common governance and goals, NICE too will grow to open city chapters with distributed leadership. In due course, we will invite NICE friends to take the lead in making this happen. Please write in with your suggestions and ideas.
  • As a non-profit company, NICE is always in need of volunteers. If you want to contribute towards any of the activities – strategic marketing, social media marketing, content, visuals, communication, or anything else you can think of – please write to us at namaste@niceorg.in

Mentoring

  • Our mentor groups will be a crowdsourced effort. Many of you are already speakers at our upcoming NICE Aarohana program. We seek people with mentoring experience to engage with our entrepreneurs and assist in their growth.
  • We will be publishing the process for mentoring on the website. We are still putting together the organization (we are just 3 months old!). In the meanwhile, please email us if you are interested in mentoring.
  • We will not curate entrepreneurs – it is not our job to pick and choose. There is no selection process. If you are an entrepreneur, tell us about your business. Let us know what help you are seeking, what you are looking for and we will help make the right connection.

NICE Categories

  • We are a brand new outfit and our focus right now is on the five categories. Culture has infinite possibilities. Our focus is on enabling successful cultural businesses to be built. Over time, we see ourselves expanding the categories of focus where successful businesses can be built.
  • Performing artists are welcome to be part of the community. However, as mentioned, our current focus is on the five categories. Joining the community will provide opportunities to learn, build relationships and access to mentors and experts that could be beneficial as you build out your business.

Other Matters

  • We will educate, inform entrepreneurs on the importance of copyrights, branding, trademarks, patents, GI tags and help in understanding IP-related laws. Our upcoming program, NICE Aarohana, will cover some of these aspects.
  • To those of you who want to create committees to take up specific initiatives including policy-related work, or be in-charge of city chapters, please let us know and we will reach out in due course. It will be a gradual process, but we will surely make it happen with your support.
  • We are open to partnerships with all those who help us achieve our goals.
  • We plan on announcing a business plan competition in December.

NICE Arohana

  • NICE Aarohana is a free, online, 3-month program, designed and delivered by experts, entrepreneurs and practitioners! Launches on 31st October.
  • The program is open to all. There is no selection process. The registrations have been on in full swing and we have had an overwhelming response – from more than 100 cities, across 13 countries and counting.
  • If you wish to be a mentor and want to participate, you are most welcome. Please participate in Aarohana and subsequently, if you want to meet an entrepreneur, we will facilitate.
  • All sessions, speakers, dates have been confirmed. Please look through our speakers and sessions lists.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, register and attend sessions at your convenience. Be curious. Learn. Network. Build relationships. Ask questions to grow your business. Register NOW.

Our first session, Entrepreneurial Mindset by Sanjay Anandaram sets the ball rolling. We look forward to seeing you.

Once again, thank you all very much for meeting us at the tête-à-tête. Thank you for your time. We look forward to more such dialogs and conversations.

Thanks also to many others who have written in with suggestions and recommendations. We will certainly reach out to you all. And please do keep all of these coming.

You are a part of NICE. Let’s together build Brand India. 

Write to us at namaste@niceorg.in

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Chitra Aiyer