Four former corporates have announced the establishment of 'Friends of Ambition', a growth advisory company focused on businesses in Tier II and III towns.The advisory will work closely with ambitious enterprises and guide them to achieve their growth goals over a three to five year period. Out of a total estimated 35 million MSMEs(Medium and Small medium Enterprises) in India as defined by the Ministry of MSME, the company reckons an addressable market of 51,000 firms in sixty-two identified towns.
The advisory has been established by Ravi Kiran, former chief executive officer, South East and South Asia for Starcom MediaVest Group, Suhail Kazmi, former president – retail banking and wealth management, Yes Bank, Sanjay Barkataki, former India chief financial officer – Publicis Groupe Media, and Subodh Srivastav, former chief operating officer – Idea Cellular and MTS. All four opted out of their respective corporate leadership positions between February and December 2010 and founded the venture in July 2011.
Ravi Kiran, co-founder, managing partner,Friends of Ambition, said, “It is our belief that businesses in Middle India have a real opportunity to drive the next few decades of dramatic growth in economic value and societal impact. We are strongly inspired by their aspirations, which have risen manifold over the years. At the same time, we have observed a palpable feeling of helplessness and growing frustration”
Added Suhail Kazmi, co-founder and managing partner, “The frustration arises mostly out of a real access gap that exists today between Middle India and Metro India, which forces most business owners to scale down their ambitions. They feel an acute deficit in access to talent, managerial and functional expertise and private capital, which is available more easily to enterprises in the big cities.”
"It is this access gap, the company will attempt to bridge, in its endeavor to nurture and fuel the dreams of ambitious enterprises. Besides providing a very active, hands-on advisory service and helping implement decisions and strategy, the company will also provide its clients with a growth ecosystem, built on a powerful network of partners under the umbrella of Allies of Ambition. The Allies of Ambition network will consist of several top notch firms across nine chosen functional domains – from legal, technology, human resource, tax consulting & audit and talent recruitment to marketing research, digital marketing, advertising and financial capital."
Subodh Srivastav, co-founder and managing partner, Friends of Ambition, added, “Our allies are an integral part of our value delivery model. We believe their expertise, combined with our guidance, and real world experience in scaling businesses, will work powerfully for our clients. This is classic gestalt effect – the whole being bigger than the sum of parts.”
Friends of Ambition believes that the traditional tag of SME that is put on an ambitious business is inappropriate and probably anachronistic.
Sanjay Barkataki, co-founder and managing partner, elaborated, “We reject the tag of SME. That phrase, no matter how popular and easy-on-tongue, insults ambition, rather than respecting it. We describe our client segment as REMI – Rising Enterprises of Middle India, a phrase we find significantly more aspirational and dignified.”
Friends of Ambition is currently engaged with three clients and 11 alliance partners.