India’s young business turks are lining up in the company of former president APJ Abdul Kalam at the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF). This time, with ‘India Imagine’ theme, Wharton appears to have gone after India’s young entrepreneurs from the country’s hottest sectors, from infrastructure to real estate and microfinance.
The forum is expected to serve as the platform for Indian leaders to envisage the next phase of India’s journey to success while being mindful of potential roadblocks. This year’s WIEF edition is an attempt to see the future of India through the eyes of some of India’s young business leaders.
The list of speakers at Park Hyatt Philadelphia on March 22 include GV Sanjay Reddy of GVK Industries, who is spearheading modernisation of Mumbai airport, Vikram Akula of SKS Microfinance, one of the most visible faces in the fledgling domestic microfinance sector, and Nitesh Shetty, a 31-year-old real estate entrepreneur who shot to limelight sewing up back-to-back eals with PE giants like Och Ziff and Citigroup.
Other speakers include Vinod Dham, MD of NEA-IndoUS Ventures; Suneeta Reddy of Apollo Hospitals; Rajiv Gulati, chairman and managing director of Eli Lilly Company (India); and Sumir Chadha of Sequoia Capital India.
This year contrasts with the earlier editions of the forum with the line up of young tycoons. Previous WIEF conferences have featured prominent speakers such as finance minister P Chidambaram, McKinsey MD Rajat Gupta, industrialists Rahul Bajaj, Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal and Mukesh Ambani, technocrats NR Narayana Murthy and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor, and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Other speakers this year include Nasser Munjee, chairman of Development Credit Bank, Shanta Devarajan, chief economist of World Bank’s South Asia Region; and Sunil Dutt, Country Head for Samsung Mobile India.