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TiECON 2009 Delivers Again With Its Entreprenuerial Focus On Sustainability

Ranjani Saigal and Nirmala Garimella

Despite tough economic times TIECON-East was a resounding oversubscribed with over 650 people in attendance. Titled Sustainable Innovation - Creating Opportunity in Today's economy, the conference was held at The Westin in Waltham on May 21 and 22.

The conference opened on May 21 with welcome address by TIECON East Chair, Kedar Murthy followed by comments from Arjun Malhotra who is the Chair of TIE-Global. Malhotra commended TIE-Boston and said that this chapter has always served as a leader in many ways. The TYE program initiated by TIE-Boston is now planning to be replicated globally. State treasurer Timothy Cahill was the keynote speaker for the evening. Cahill described his own entrepreneurial career as a restaurant owner which he said he started at a time when the economy was down and he could not find a job. He exhorted people to use the downturn in the economy as an entrepreneurial opportunity.

The following morning the opening keynote was presented by Christina Lampe-Onnerud, Founder and CEO of Boston Power.Onnerud is a a well-known authority in the battery industry gave an overview of opportunities in the energy sector. Rory Cowen President and CEO of Lionbridge Technolgies followed. Governor Deval Patrick spoke about the Commonwealth's keen interest in promoting entrepreneurial activity and keeping talent in the state which spoke of their appreciation for local entrepreneurs and the work TiE Boston is doing in supporting the growth and well-being of the state's economy.

In addition to the traditional Information Technology and Life Sciences track, two new tracks focusing on Clean Tech and Social Entreprise were included. The Information Technolgy track chaired by Sunil Kadimdiwan had panels focused on cloud computing, Green IT and opportunities in the Mobile Market. Life Sciences track chaired by Pravin Chaturvedi had panels focused on opportunities in the area of Medical Devices, Drug discovery and development and opportunities for IT innovation in the health care field. The Clean Tech track chaired by Ravinder Shan presented an overview of the next wave in cleantech,ideas on getting financing clean tech ventures and suggestions on building green business. The social enterprise track  chaired by Vithal Deshpande had panels focused on Health Care Innovation in a Global Village, Information and communication technology for developing countries and sustainable solutions for food.

A touch of media glamor with NPR’s Tom Ashbrook and Meghna Chakraborti  added to the action packed banquet evening at TIECON East 2009 on Friday May 22nd.

The hall was packed to capacity as attendees sat down to be entertained after two days of cerebral stimulation combined with social networking at the conference where panel discussions ranged from clean tech to  life sciences and social enterprise.

The evening keynote was delivered by Colin Angle, CEO of IRobot, a company that is defined by its most popular product, Roomba the vacuum cleaning robot and the PackBot military robot. Angle took the audience back to the early days of the company’s efforts to build Robots when ‘nothing much happened’ till Roomba successfully came along.  This was followed by an address by Al Kapoor, President of TiE Boston who outlined various initiatives within the organization that would actively involve its Charter members.

Cloudsoft, a cloud computing company with budding entrepreneurs Naman Bharadwaj and Vishrut Gupta won the 10K business plan competition. Entrepreneur of the Day was Mark (aka Steven) Bao. Mark, a 16-year-old web, software and advertising entrepreneur and TYE alumni, and the President & CEO of Avecora  responded to questions posed by Geetha Ramamurthy, on how TYE program helped him start his business.

A Fireside Chat between Tom Ashbrook, NPR’s On Point host and Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athena Health kept the audience entertained as Bush in a flurry of one line repartee, dramatic gestures and constant flow of words talked about how he and his co-founder Todd Park purchased a birthing practice in California where problems related to claims and billing led them to start Athena Health. The audience were in splits as Ashbrook and Bush kept the conversation lively and sometimes downright funny.

To top it all, the evening ended with a fashion show titled ‘ Sustainable Couture’ directed by Shubhra Chandra, a local fashion designer whose clothing was modeled by local  talent of attractive and elegant young men and women.Check out http://shubrah.com/newsletter/newsletterMay09.htm

The audience was very appreciative of the effort. “There was a wonderful energy and a cerebral feel to this year’s event" said Anupendra Sharma while Shikar Ghosh felt  everything about the program - the content, speakers, organization, and atmosphere - was top notch. 

Congratulations to Kedar Murthy , Vanita Shastri and the entire TIECON team for a fine event.


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Designer Shubhra Chandra with models

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