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Sirisha, CEO & MD, Lloyds Technology In Conversation with Sadguru Sai


“Compassionate capitalism” is about ensuring profits but not at the cost of the environment, ethics, governance, or the less privileged. It’s about real solutions to genuine problems and using the generated profits to contribute more than just taxes – to reach out to the overlooked segments of society.
-Sadguru Sai

In a captivating fireside chat, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, renowned for his profound understanding of entrepreneurship and its connection with the spiritual world, was hosted by Sirisha, CEO and Managing Director of Lloyds Technology Center India. The session shed light on how entrepreneurs can perceive and address challenges in the business world through a spiritual lens. Before the profound discussion, Sirisha initiated the interaction with icebreaker activities, engaging Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai with thought-provoking one-word questions and seeking his perspectives.

Q1. Wealth and money. What are your views?
Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha represent the four primary goals of every human. Whether one is from India, America, or any part of the world, these principles hold. Artha pertains to wealth. It should serve to elevate us towards higher aspirations, not just our welfare but that of everyone, ultimately leading to union with the divine. Wealth, if not used selflessly, can hinder one’s spiritual journey. In modern times, unfortunately, Wealth is often seen as the ultimate goal.

Q2: That’s profound. Another topic: force multipliers in today’s world.
A force multiplier is an action that benefits many, not just oneself. It can be in any form— wealth, business, or education. Today’s gathering exemplifies this, with investors uniting to uplift entrepreneurs, create jobs, contribute to the GDP, and indirectly enhance public welfare. Every action should aim to enhance the lives around us.

Q3 Who, in your opinion, is an entrepreneur who has significantly impacted this country?
There are many. However, from an economic standpoint, the Tatas stand out. They started during a time of adversity and consistently prioritized solutions over mere profit. Entrepreneurship is about solutions; it should aim to address societal issues accessibly and affordably.

Q4 Indeed. And on that note, while many emphasize business valuations, you champion value creation through free education, nutrition, and healthcare. How can such a model be sustainable?
While the services are free for beneficiaries, they aren’t free for 32 Dharma & Business
Sadguru Sai Inaugurating Startup Stall at ISF 2023 My Startup Life ! organizations. The aim is to provide fundamental human rights like education, health, and nutrition to those who can’t afford them. The community should ensure these rights, not just the government or NGOs. Our efforts have been successful because of generous individuals who share their wealth for the collective good.

Q5 This year, ISF’s fundamental theme closely aligns with rural startups, especially focusing on agritech, health tech, and clean energy. Can you shed light on why these areas are crucial for rural startups?
I believe that to understand the potential of agritech and rural economies, we need to recognise that India isn’t just one homogeneous unit but can be divided into three segments. The top 10% are affluent, then there’s the middle segment from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and finally, there’s the vast bottom segment of the pyramid, primarily consisting of agricultural communities While the top two tiers have their own challenges, the bottom segment offers scalability. Scalable solutions will always find success in India. The potential in the agriculture sector, especially when considering everyone needs food, makes it a pivotal area for startups.

Q6 Given the different economic tiers in India, what opportunities lie ahead for startups, especially those focusing on rural economies?
The bottom of the pyramid, though having a lower per capita, presents a unique opportunity for startups due to its sheer volume. With the likelihood of income increase over the next 25-30 years, this segment will compete more with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, naturally opening up more opportunities. Additionally, while many problems are at the bottom half of the pyramid, every problem represents a potential business opportunity.

Q7: What is the government’s stance on supporting the agriculture sector?
The government is introducing progressive policies for the agricultural sector. Investments are pouring into sustainable agriculture, and concepts like the circular economy are gaining traction. The focus on agriculture is vital, 33 Dharma & Business My Startup Life ! especially when considering its universal need.

Q8 Many startups grapple with the divide between capitalism and socialism. Can you elaborate on your perspective on compassionate capitalism?
Capitalism in developed countries has often led to a significant social divide, while socialism hasn’t always succeeded either. India’s ancient teachings, like the Arthashastra, have always emphasized the welfare of all. Compassionate capitalism is about ensuring profits but not at the cost of the environment, ethics, governance, or the less privileged. It’s about real solutions to genuine problems and using the generated profits to contribute more than just taxes – to reach out to the overlooked segments of society.

Q9 Can you explain more about the principles of compassionate capitalism and how businesses can adopt it?
The foundation of compassionate capitalism should be Dharma or the righteous way of doing things. While businesses should earn profits, they shouldn’t compromise on ethics, governance, the environment, or societal welfare. This approach requires businesses to provide real solutions, not just market-driven products. While paying taxes is mandatory, companies practicing compassionate capitalism should go beyond that, reaching out to those still struggling. This is not just about meeting government mandates but about genuine societal contributions.

Q10 Given the lessons from Western and Eastern countries, what is your message to Indian businesses regarding their approach to growth and success?
Western and some Eastern countries have made significant progress, but only sometimes in the right direction. India now has the chance to set a precedent and show the world how to achieve growth correctly. If businesses focus on inclusiveness and compassion, everyone can prosper together.

Q11 The next topic of interest is Viksit Bharat, which has been gaining momentum lately. India aims to reach a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. How 34 Dharma & Business My Startup Life ! can startups present here today play a role in achieving this goal?
The trajectory towards a 5 trillion dollar economy has been underway for the past 20 years. Unless a calamity, such as another pandemic, hits, we’re poised to achieve it. But there’s more to it. We have a large young population, but are we being inclusive of women and rural areas? Our growth could be greater if we included all demographics. We can leverage a cost-effective and highly productive workforce by focusing on rural geographies and skilling the youth there. Businesses need to consider rural areas and women for more inclusive growth.

Q12 Your endeavors have undoubtedly made a profound impact. As we wrap up, do you have any final insights for our audience about fostering inclusive growth?
Startups and businesses must think beyond tier-one cities. The true potential lies in tapping into rural areas, ensuring the participation of women, and understanding the unique challenges they face. By doing so, we boost the economy and uplift the fabric of our society.

Q13 Amazing. Shifting gears a bit, in our competitive world, especially for corporate leaders, how can one balance work, personal life, and spiritual growth?
Sadguru: A pertinent question given today’s high-pressure environment. Developing a spiritual core early on helps navigate worldly pressures. This doesn’t refer to religious rituals but rather believing in a higher power within oneself. This belief system will foster humility and resilience against failures, helping leaders to thrive amidst challenges. This spiritual grounding will help leaders find happiness in their actions, leading to long-term success. In our organization, we find strength in our purpose, and I believe corporate leaders should, too. Companies that prioritize purpose over mere profit witness happier employees and leaders, reducing issues like employee turnover.

Sirisha: I believe the insights you’ve shared today will resonate deeply with our audience.
Sadguru: It’s all about the collective good and selfless action.

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