MANY may ask: What makes a successful entrepreneur?
According to YEO International president Vijay Tirathrai, the three core ingredients are a winning business model, a passion for business as well as understanding and fulfilling customer needs.
“It may vary for different people but in my opinion, these would be the common ingredients,” he said, adding that entrepreneurs would also have to constantly re-invent themselves and the business to remain on top.
“This is where YEO provides tremendous benefits as we get people from different industries, culture and in different business cycles together. The fusion of learning and ideas exchange is a boon to the members,” he added.
Vijay said the organisation was growing at 20% per annum with close to 1,000 members recruited worldwide yearly.
“We plan to open eight to 10 chapters around the world annually, with focus on the Middle East next year. We currently have a chapter in United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Oman,” he said.
As president, his theme this year is Reaching Out Globally and he intends to put in place several initiatives to deliver value to members around the world.
Some of the initiatives include setting up a resource database of experts in various fields for the chapters to choose and invite them as speakers, to use the YEO experience to build leadership and to create a more dynamic business model with different revenue sources like company alliances and sponsors.
He said the long-term perspective of the organisation was to create different niche markets for people with different needs.
“We are currently looking at new brands to add on to. We also see a market for the non-profit organisations/charities and we want to serve these needs as well,” he added.
Vijay said some of the challenges faced by the organisation were maintaining a fresh appeal for young entrepreneurs, sustaining membership growth, getting connected in countries that were culturally challenging because of language and coming up with programmes that were world class and cutting edge as entrepreneurs had a short attention span.
The organisation was founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, who were either in college, or who had started their own business to come together and connect with each other.
“For a lot of young entrepreneurs who have just started their business, getting a group together would enable them to share their trials and tribulations and experience and this accelerates the learning curve, enabling them to find short-cuts to solutions and access to resources,” Vijay said.
YEO International is a non-profit organisation, headquartered in Washington DC, with 40 employees and service centres around the world. It also has a sister alumni organisation, the World Entrepreneurs' Orga- nisation (WEO) for YEO members aged 40 and above to “graduate” to.
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