The Indus Entrepreneurs Conference, TiEcon, one of the biggest entrepreneur conferences in the world, took place May 15-16 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. One of the biggest changes this year was that there are no longer separate tracks and sessions for women and men. Women played a bigger role in the conference, which focuses highly on the effects of technology on the entrepreneur world.
The Indus Entrepreneurs or TiE is a volunteer organization that started about 22 years ago by entrepreneurs from India who found success in the entrepreneur world and wanted to give back and help others.
“They thought that the best way to give back was based on three principles. The first one is wealth creation is a noble goal. It solves a lot of problems in the world. The second one is that the best way to create wealth is through entrepreneurship. And the third one, which is really unique and this is what separates this organization from everything else in the world, is that the best way to support entrepreneurship is for successful people to work with those who inspire to be successful,” Venk Shukla, president of the TiE Silicon Valley Chapter, said.
TiE has more than 60 chapters located in 17 different countries and its annual conference always pulls in thousands of people. Approximately 4,500 people attended from 27 different countries this year.
Though they have many members, there is a smaller section of members called chapter members, which is comprised of about 350 people. This is how Shukla started in TiE.
“People who are invited [as chapter members] are people who are successful enough that others might want to learn from them and the second condition is that [they] should be willing to give what is most valuable to do which is [their] time for the benefit of the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Shukla explained.
It is this quality that makes the organization very unique. It is a group of entrepreneurs who are both successful and who are starting out in the field. The purpose of the conference is to share their success while mentoring others.
“There are about 250 people involved in putting together this conference and almost every single one of them is a volunteer, including me. We spend an enormous amount of our time, about four to five months to put together this conference,” Shukla explained.
Prior to TiEcon 2015, there were separate tracks for women and younger members called TiE Youth and TiE Women.
“In the previous years, we had a separate track for TiE Youth and a separate track for TiE women. And I thought that tokenism and instead of having a separate track for women, let’s try to assimilate women in all the different tracks as speakers without compromising on the quality of the statue of speakers,” Venk said.
They reached out to members to put in submissions for entrepreneurs who’ve had outstanding success in their fields. At the conference, 20 percent of the speakers were women, including Blanca Treviño, CEO and president of the IT company, Softtek.
“Softtek is a globalized IT service company with a presence in the three continents, America, Europe and Asia,” Blanca noted.
Softtek was founded in 1982, and according to its website, “helps improve time-to-time-business-solution, lower costs of existing applications, deliver better engineered and tested applications, and produce predictable outcomes for top-tier corporations in over 20 countries.”
Treviño is from Mexico and has traveled all over the world, representing and speaking out for Latin America’s technological world, which was her purpose at TiEcon.
“It was difficult. We enjoyed it but if you think 30 years ago, talking about technology in Mexico, it was not something that was easy. Forget about using technology or developing technology. At the beginning, it was not necessarily an important thing,” Treviño recalled of the industry’s beginnings.
At TiEcon, Treviño talked about overcoming this struggle and the importance of the technology field in Latin America.
“What was difficult was the position, not just for Softtek. It is about the position of Mexico in the IT field. We managed because we were so convinced that Mexico did have and we do have the ability to support this field,” Treviño said.
Shukla said of this year’s TiEcon speakers, “We are really pleased with the sample of speakers we have this year.”
“I thought it was important to speak [at the conference] when TiE decided to have this conference in [Santa Clara],” Treviño said. “I do think it is important to give attention to business that is happening in Latin America. We are always thankful to be part of it. There are always so many things happening in different industries and not necessarily everyone knows about it. The reason I decided to participate is that to be able to share with the audience what is going on in Latin America.”
Treviño also added about her keynote speech, “I do believe that part of our culture is an instructive culture. It is about self-determination. I like to teach obstacles and opportunities. The angle that [we gave] in my speech is about opportunities and how you will have more opportunities than obstacles.”
For more information on TiEcon or Treviño, visit tiecon.org; additional information about Softtek may be accessed by visiting softtek.com.
Kaylene Hersey is an intern at Lioness and is currently a senior creative writing major at Western New England University. She is from Colchester, Conn. Besides writing, she has a passion for baking and dancing, and she hopes one day to work in the Editing and Publishing world. If that fails, she plans to open up her own bakery.