ASCENT Foundation, a not-for-profit, peer-to-peer learning platform for growth-oriented entrepreneurs founded by Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd., witnessed a 61% increase in the number of applications in one year of launching the All India chapter which extended peer learning for entrepreneurs across India digitally, without geographical restrictions.
“ASCENT started as a Mumbai chapter in 2012 and expanded to Chennai in 2018. Members from neighbouring cities for both chapters travelled down to be part of their Trust Group meetings month on month. The pandemic introduced us to a new normal and having witnessed the ease with which members adapted to virtual meeting structure, gave us a leeway to extend the ASCENT Support Pan India. Today ASCENT has over 700 members from across India benefiting from the diverse spectrum of learning and experience of like-minded entrepreneurs,” stated Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd and Founder, ASCENT Foundation.
The composition of these members is quite diverse with a 46:54 split between Manufacturing and Services Industries; 44% Family Businesses; 8% Women Entrepreneurs and in all about 65+ diverse industries represented. The aggregate annual turnover of the ASCENT members is more than Rs. 53,000 crores with individual member turnover ranging from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2500+ crores.
The All India chapter by ASCENT Foundation has extended peer learning through 62 operational Trust Groups spread across various cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Varanasi, Udupi, Dharwad, Indore, Raipur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Sonipat, Cochin, Mirzapur.
The pandemic had left many entrepreneurs in troubled waters. In such times, instead of looking for support from their immediate advisors, entrepreneurs looked towards learning from their fellow peers & their experiences of adapting to unprecedented changes. With the pandemic-induced covid push and subsequent adoption of technology, made it easier for ASCENT to enable access to these Trust Groups across the nation. The “Trust Groups” are ‘unique, powerful and self-facilitated peer-to-peer groups’ that leverage the “power of the collective” enabling entrepreneurs to share and exchange experiences, ideas, insights and learn from each other in a healthy ecosystem and non-competing ecosystem.
With the launch of the All India Chapter, ASCENT has broadened the horizon to include cultural and geographical diversity to the already diverse Trust Groups. This has enabled members to have greater learnings and deeper discussions with a broader perspective from organisations and entrepreneurs from across India. In addition to regular meetings, the Trust Group members also benefit from value-added and initiatives co-designed by ASCENT Foundation like mentoring programmes, academic partnerships, interactive workshops guest knowledge sessions with thought leaders, change-makers and innovators to further upscale entrepreneurship through peer-supported learning.
“Following the launch of the All India chapter we have seen a significant rise of applications from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and non-metro entrepreneurs wanting to join the non-competing Trust Groups to share business experiences and learn and unlearn from peers. This is an encouraging evolvement as it has established regional diversity and enabled richer conversations among members. The impact of the foundation is measured internally through the NPS (Net Promoter Score) matrix and as of June 2021, ASCENT secured 70.1 of the NPS scale which is the highest in the last 5 years. This truly validates the need of a peer learning platform for entrepreneurs across the country, especially during the time of crisis. “ – Archanna Das, Head, ASCENT Foundation