i3: KT brings together think-tanks, decision-makers to innovate, inspire and influence

Shashi Tharoor highlights the role the UAE and India have been playing in promoting innovation and creating an ecosystem that supports the startup industry

by

Waheed Abbas

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Dr Shashi Tharoor delivers the keynote address at i3 event. 'There is a proliferation of startups with India boasting the third largest startup ecosystem with over 900,00 firms registering last year. There is a similar story that can be told here in UAE as well in their endeavour to diversify the economy and reduce the level of oil-based revenues,” the writer and member of the Indian Parliament said. — Photos by Neeraj Murali
Dr Shashi Tharoor delivers the keynote address at i3 event. "There is a proliferation of startups with India boasting the third largest startup ecosystem with over 900,00 firms registering last year. There is a similar story that can be told here in UAE as well in their endeavour to diversify the economy and reduce the level of oil-based revenues,” the writer and member of the Indian Parliament said. — Photos by Neeraj Murali

Published: Mon 11 Sep 2023, 10:02 PM

Khaleej Times, the UAE’s first English newspaper, recently organised a one-day conference, where diplomats, thought leaders, decision-makers and CEOs from the biggest conglomerates in the UAE came together.

People from different walks of life attend the i3 conference. Hundreds of people turned up to listen to insightful discussions of panellists and speakers.
People from different walks of life attend the i3 conference. Hundreds of people turned up to listen to insightful discussions of panellists and speakers.

The Innovate, Inspire, Influence (i3) event hosted panel discussions, interactive sessions and networking opportunities.


Amin Nasser, private business senior advisor, PwC Middle East; Neeraj Teckchandani, chief executive officer and director, Apparel Group; Suresh Vaidhyanathan, chief executive officer, special projects of Ghassan Abboud Group; and Venkat Mahadevan, head of Consumer Business and Retail Wealth Management for the UAE at Citi, speak during the panel discussion. Udaya Indrarathna, ambassador of Sri Lanka to UAE, moderated the penal discussion on  “nurturing legacy - the strengths and challenges of family-run businesses”.
Amin Nasser, private business senior advisor, PwC Middle East; Neeraj Teckchandani, chief executive officer and director, Apparel Group; Suresh Vaidhyanathan, chief executive officer, special projects of Ghassan Abboud Group; and Venkat Mahadevan, head of Consumer Business and Retail Wealth Management for the UAE at Citi, speak during the panel discussion. Udaya Indrarathna, ambassador of Sri Lanka to UAE, moderated the penal discussion on “nurturing legacy - the strengths and challenges of family-run businesses”.

Indian politician, diplomat and bureaucrat Shashi Tharoor delivered the keynote address, highlighting the leading role the UAE and India have been playing in promoting innovation and creating an ecosystem that supports creativity and the startup industry.

Ravi Tharoor, chief executive officer of Khaleej Times, receives Dr Shashi Tharoor ahead of the beginning of the Innovate, Inspire and Influence (i3) conference. Ravi delivered a welcome address while Shashi gave a keynote address.
Ravi Tharoor, chief executive officer of Khaleej Times, receives Dr Shashi Tharoor ahead of the beginning of the Innovate, Inspire and Influence (i3) conference. Ravi delivered a welcome address while Shashi gave a keynote address.

He said the UAE has emerged as a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, crediting the widely available capital in the country for fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.


Diplomats, businessmen and professionals attentively listen to Dr Tharoor’s keynote address at the i3 conference in Dubai.
Diplomats, businessmen and professionals attentively listen to Dr Tharoor’s keynote address at the i3 conference in Dubai.

A number of discussions highlighted the role of family-owned businesses and the challenges they face; and how startup CEOs find their way to success, among others.

Nirj Deva DL, senior advisor to the president of Sri Lanka, gives a presentation and a glimpse into the future port city of Colombo. He highlighted the opportunity the Sri Lankan capital can offer to potential investors in the UAE.
Nirj Deva DL, senior advisor to the president of Sri Lanka, gives a presentation and a glimpse into the future port city of Colombo. He highlighted the opportunity the Sri Lankan capital can offer to potential investors in the UAE.

Nirj Deva DL, senior advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, also gave a glimpse into the future of the port city of Colombo to the audience.

Ravi Dhariwal in conversation with Dr Shashi Tharoor at i3. The musings of two intellectuals on innovation sparked inspiration among the attendees for half an hour.
Ravi Dhariwal in conversation with Dr Shashi Tharoor at i3. The musings of two intellectuals on innovation sparked inspiration among the attendees for half an hour.

At the close of the event, Shashi Tharoor and Ravi Dhariwal, Advisor to Boards, had an interesting and insightful conversation on innovation.

Tharoor said creativity is not necessarily creating something very new but could be enhancing the quality of an existing product or improving an experience that meet the needs of the customers or society.

Ravi Tharoor, CEO, Khaleej Times, and Dr Shashi Tharoor, engage in a conversation ahead of the opening of the i3 summit.
Ravi Tharoor, CEO, Khaleej Times, and Dr Shashi Tharoor, engage in a conversation ahead of the opening of the i3 summit.

Citing an example, he said people in Indian villages could not afford Rs75 shampoo bottles. Retailers then introduced shampoo sachets for Rs5 to reach a wider consumer base. “It was sensed as a market opportunity and that is a very legitimate way to put something forward.”

Christiana Maxion, founder, Maxion; Ibtissam Ouassif, co-founder, Cashew Payments; and Jamil Shinawi, co-founder and managing director of Ahoy, speaking during the “navigating CEOs journey in startups – step-up, start-up”. Lloyed Lobo, co-founder, boast.ai, moderated the panel discussion.
Christiana Maxion, founder, Maxion; Ibtissam Ouassif, co-founder, Cashew Payments; and Jamil Shinawi, co-founder and managing director of Ahoy, speaking during the “navigating CEOs journey in startups – step-up, start-up”. Lloyed Lobo, co-founder, boast.ai, moderated the panel discussion.

He also highlighted that with the advancement of technologies, it is becoming easier to use new apps and gadgets, even for the elderly and those who are not tech-savvy.

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