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Who will be 'World Entrepreneur of the Year'?

June 06, 2006 12:39 IST
This week Monte Carlo will be on the fast track once again. Famous for F-1 racing, the spotlight this time, however, will be on the World Entrepreneur of the Year award, which is coveted by 32 countries and will be held from June 6-11.

This year is unique in that the award function and the World Summit of Ernst & Young will come together at the same place for the first time. The WEOY recognises significant accomplishments of entrepreneurs around the world.

The world summit, which has been billed as the 'Davos for Entrepreneurs', was established as a platform for past global winners to meet, share ideas and forge networking ties across the world. This is just the second year that it is being held.

If the Davos summit of the World Economic Forum earlier this year had 'India Everywhere' as a key theme, at Monte Carlo too, the country's participation will be celebrated in many ways.

For starters, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal is the chairman of the nine-member jury that will interview winners from 32 countries over three days this week before the global winner is announced in an Oscar type function on June 10.

More importantly, this is the first time an Indian gets this honour, though Infosys' N R Narayana Murthy has been the World Entrepreneur Award winner.

Says Mittal, "Our job is to select the right candidate. The E&Y Award is highly regarded worldwide and its credibility is high. There are a number of business awards globally, but this is the only one exclusively for entrepreneurs. Therefore, it has a special stature among global businesses."

The chairman of the Aditya Birla group, 38-year-old Kumar Mangalam Birla is India's candidate this year at Monte Carlo. Says Birla, "It is a great privilege to represent the country. Further, it will be interesting to meet entrepreneurs from other parts of the world. One will get to debate different issues."

There is a small group of business leaders from India participating in the deliberations this year, including Ajay Bijli of PVR Cinemas, BK Goenka of the Welspun group, Sanjeev Aggarwal of IBM Daksh, Sajjan Jindal of JSW Steel, Rajinder Gupta of Abhishek Industries and Rajiv Memani of E&Y India.

There will also be an exclusive session, 'Access India', during which about 70 business leaders from across the world will deliberate on the reforms process and the India story at a closed-door meeting. This session will be led by VV Ranganathan from India and US-based Donald Streizheim.

Of course, there will be more to Monte Carlo than just a focus on India. While the main theme of the summit this year will dwell on Central East and Eastern Europe, like the India session, there will be another one that looks at China. Clearly, the next few days will put entrepreneurship on the high pedestal at Monte Carlo.

George Skaria in Monte Carlo