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‘Age-Defying Entrepreneur’ gives Business Lessons to Students at SIBF 2017



By Solomon Nda-Isaiah, Dubai

…Seventy-four-year-old Ashok Soota imparts entrepreneurship advice to youngsters at book fair

He’s known as the ‘age-defying entrepreneur.’ After serving in senior positions in India’s IT industry for over 30 years, Ashok Soota went on to become co-founder and executive chairman of ‘Happiest Minds Technologies.’ Students from across schools in the UAE gathered to take some entrepreneurship lessons from the business start-up star during his appearance at the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Monday.

Turning 75 this month, Soota was greeted with a cheerful rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by a hall full of aspiring young entrepreneurs who had gathered to hear the IT veteran speak about his new book and to find out more about his secret for success mantra.

“My book ‘Entrepreneurship Simplified: From Idea to IPO’ is a tool for anyone who is planning on starting their own business. In the forthcoming years it will be the small and medium businesses that will drive economies across the world. I am delighted that so many young people are interested in creating their own companies because this is the time when the money is chasing ideas, rather than the other way around,” he said.

Answering a question on effective leadership, Soota said, “You are a good leader if your employees are like your family. If you take care of their happiness and their growth – as you would do your own family – you will see your company prosper. There are some rules of thumb for good leadership and these are: enjoy what you do, deal with your employees as if they are your family, lead a holistic life and never give up on seeking challenges, no matter what.”

The serial entrepreneur said that the opposite of the saying ‘You learn more from your failures than your success’ was true, stating that he believes that one must take away and build upon successes, not failures.

Elaborating on the topic he said, “You must evaluate your strong points and build upon these. Another important thing is that when starting a new venture it is wise to have the finances for the next period of five to seven years in advance. That will help if your idea doesn’t at first succeed.”

Soota also explained to the students that they should follow a systematic and well-researched approach towards an idea that they want to develop it into a viable start-up.

Sessions by cultural luminaries and personalities in the field of literature and the arts are taking place throughout the 11-day SIBF 2017, which runs until November 11 at Expo Centre Sharjah.





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