CIM SL’s Third Talking Point Discusses Impact of Entrepreneurs and Intrepreneurs Influencing Corporate Growth
CIM Sri Lanka held its third Talking Point Programme for the year recently titled ‘Entrepreneurs and Intrepreneurs Influencing Corporate Growth’ at Jetwing Colombo Seven. Knowledgeable and distinguished speakers including Ahmed Irfan, Founder/Chief Executive, Innovation Quotient (Pvt) Ltd, Gihan Cooray, Group Finance Director, John Keelle Holdings Plc, Heshan Fernando, Co-Founder & CEO at oDoc, Dr. Himesh Fernando, Director- Innovation, Hemas Holdings PLC, addressed the gathering. Graham Marshall, CEO/Consultant, CIC, Industrial Solutions was the moderator for the programme.
Dr. Himesh Fernando, explained the term intrepreneurs, “Employees within companies given the flexibility and freedom to operate like entrepreneurs. Employees get to start their own business within the company. Create a unit to take things to market.” For corporates seeking to drive innovation and entrepreneurship within their own entities he advised on important critical factors such as process, selection criteria, steering committee and an alignment with corporate goals. “The process should be clear and not haphazard. There should be a process in place for idea generation and a clear direction on how to submit the idea and also a mechanism of a steering committee that will drive the programme,” Dr. Fernando noted. Cautioning corporates on the road ahead he said, “Challenges pose a daunting task. Take small steps but one at a time, it’s doable. Get the right balance and you can ride the waves pretty well.”
Addressing the gathering from managerial experience in Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerate John Keells Holdings, Gihan Cooray said, “At John Keells we are on a journey. We look at both organic growth and acquisitions for corporate growth. Employees can be entrepreneurs and at the same time drive innovation as well. It is absolutely important not to constrain them but have alignment of meeting of minds.” He also discussed the many entrepreneurial avenues the company has ventured including its John Keells X Programme which aims to drive the spirit of entrepreneurship. Commenting on promoting intrepreneurs, he said “Intrepreneurs is an area we have been trying to push and guide the spirit from within. Employees with an idea can get together, get time off and if it reaches a certain point then come back. A key thing a corporate needs is patience. Encouraging risk taking behavior is a challenge.”
Pitching a balanced view through experience gained from working at corporates and now as an entrepreneur, Ahmed Irfan questioned the difference between entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs. “Aren’t they both doing the same thing and creating value by doing that?” However, he noted “The fundamental difference is risk and hurdles while an intrepreneur being in an organization faces very different challenges.” Commenting on the role of failure among aspiring entrepreneur, he said, “Entrepreneurs use failure while intrepreneur are not given the chance to use it as corporates fear failure. Therefore persistence is key.” A vibrant and thought provoking panel discussion took place among the speakers and the audience who had views and suggestions on how corporates can strike a balance and guide innovation further.
CIM is the largest community of professional marketers in the world with 100 years of heritage delivering education, membership and insight offerings to the marketing and sales profession. CIM Sri Lanka is the first international branch of CIM UK comprising the largest number of members, both professional and students outside the UK. The regional institute has always campaigned for greater recognition and excellence in the marketing profession in Sri Lanka, through education, training and professional development.