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Professional Development: ThinkStartup
If you have an idea for a business or simply want to meet fellow entrepreneurs, then plan to attend one of the sessions in this year’s Entrepreneurship series! Successful entrepreneurs will share their experiences as well as provide one-on-one advice during the workshop.
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” - Siddhartha Gautama. Learn how to develop your ideas for a business into a reality from those who have done it! Ankur Jain, Entrepreneur will be among the panelists with expertise in developing business ideas.
Meet the Entrepreneurs with Expertise in Developing Business Ideas!
|Dina Patel, Co-Founder & CEO, Didi’s Wardrobe
Dina Patel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Didi’s Wardrobe. She launched Didi’s Wardrobe, a marketplace for new and gently used Indian clothing and accessories in November 2011. She has created an active platform for the South Asian community to buy and sell new and barely worn personal clothing.
Prior to following her passion and launching Didi’s Wardrobe, Dina spent 10 years in Investment Banking focused on equity and debt offerings and mergers & acquisitions. Ms. Patel began her career in New York City working for UBS and Deutsche Bank. Prior to Didi’s Wardrobe, she was at KeyBanc Capital Markets as a Vice President for the Restaurants investment banking team.
|Shradha Agarwal, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-founder, ContextMedia
ContextMedia co-founder Shradha Agarwal has always had a passion for communication. While building the media company from the ground up with Rishi Shah, Shradha looks at their patient care media platforms as existing for a social benefit. She helped brand the company as for-benefit, marrying the concept of a successful for-profit enterprise that exists for social benefit.
While merging her expertise in marketing and media, Shradha makes sure ContextMedia keeps up with the latest in product development strategies throughout various technologies.
|Anand H. Sheth, President and Founder of Mon Ami Jewelry
President and Founder of Mon Ami Jewelry, Anand H. Sheth has created a premier jewelry brand known for its sophisticated and innovative designs and impeccable quality. A graduate of The University of Chicago Law School with deep family ties in the jewelry industry, Anand has grown Mon Ami Jewelry from a single showcase jewelry kiosk as a law student to one of the largest jewelry wholesalers and retailers in the Midwest with a flagship store in Downtown Chicago and affiliate offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles as well as abroad. Anand’s designs have been showcased on NBC’s nationally acclaimed Today Show and his high-end custom line has adorned athletes and celebrities alike including stars such as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Ozzie Guillen, Jessica Simpson and Lupe Fiasco.
In addition to his jewelry business, Anand is involved in multiple other endeavors, including heading Mon Ami Ventures, a real estate enterprise which owns and manages commercial and residential properties through the Chicago-land area. A strong believer that private enterprises should also be good citizens, he has actively worked with and supports local and national non-profit organizations and charities such as The Mercy Home, The Primo Homeless Center, Found Chicago, and The NBA Players Association.
What steps do entrepreneurs need to take to start a business? Experts will share the trials and tribulations that are part of the process of starting and expanding a business.
Meet the Entrepreneurs with Expertise in Expanding a Business!
|Keval Mehta, Founder & CEO, INRFOOD Inc.
Instilled with an entrepreneurial spirit, love of medicine, business, and technology, Keval Mehta has been aiming to make some serious reforms in healthcare. He believes that to make progress in improving the healthcare system, one must empower individual people to realize healthcare is not a right but rather, a responsibility. In the last 3 years he has founded, launched, and successfully exited 2 companies, PetSaver and GotoAID, a first aid and disaster preparedness system. His latest startup INRFOOD, is the most challenging and revolutionary company yet. INRFOOD aims to identify the ingredients in food and the corresponding health effects of those ingredients. He aims to solve health concerns by providing tools and resources that allow people to be more proactive rather than reactive about their health. Keval currently serves as the CEO of Jaargon Ltd. and INRFOOD Inc. as well as the VP of Advanced Technology for the Health and Safety Institute; the largest privately held first aid training company in the world. Three times a year you will find Keval volunteering in developing countries; working with local governments and charity organizations to educate locals about improving their health conditions.
|Niles Patel, Entrepreneur
Niles has a proven track record of success with executive management that thrives when building business and driving results are valued. His acute awareness of the growth curve of an organization allows adept adjustments to satisfy business needs. Specialties include marketing visions, sales management and strategy, revenue generation, growth, operations, outsourcing, leadership, motivation, and momentum.
In his previous companies, he averaged 120% of a $18M goal, led 6 sales managers and 40 sales representatives increasing sales 200% per year. He closed several of the company’s largest deals in history and was the top closer for over 33 consecutive months. He also Instituted new sales programs bringing new accounts, increasing customer base by 75%. Niles has launched a financial division securing new accounts in a market where we had not before operated, creating an additional 250K per month of net profit.
His strong relationship creation skills help to penetrate and close new accounts. These skills were used to exceed a $1.5M goal for an Account Executive in Q1 of 2003 before his promotion to Vice President. In the first 8 months of employment at the same company, Niles increased direct sales in the company nearly 100%.
Niles has experience running an Advertising Consulting company and turned around declining company sales performance to exceed a $5M goal.
Niles has recently started a marketing company and co-founded a real estate firm in Chicago.
First impressions count and funding is key! Experts will share tips on how to develop your business through investments, funding, and the perfect pitch!
Meet the Entrepreneurs with Experience in Funding!
|Rishi U. Shah, CEO & Founder, Contextmedia
Rishi U. Shah, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Contextmedia, is a successful media and technology entrepreneur. Rishi started ContextMedia in 2006 to help patients with chronic diseases live healthier through contextually relevant media services. The company’s DOOH networks and mobile media offerings are now used by over a million patients monthly and the firm’s clients include more than half of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies.
Rishi advises several early stage companies and serves on the Board of Directors of many civic organizations including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Institute for Student Business Education at Northwestern University and serves as a mentor for Chicago’s technology start-up incubator, Excelerate Labs. He was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a member of their 40-Under-40 class in 2009 and is an active member of the Executives Club of Chicago, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the Illinois Technology Association.
He is past founder of the Northwestern Business Review, a Northwestern University-based collaborative publication distributed to more than 60 leading campuses nationwide. Prior to that, he founded a home computer consulting firm whose clients were acquired by Best Buy. Rishi has also founded several non-profit initiatives at the intersection of youth, education and media including the Urban-Suburban Domestic Exchange Initiative, a program sponsored by the Gates foundation to facilitate cross-school interaction.
|Rishi Roongta, Senior Associate, New World Ventures
Rishi joined New World Ventures in 2010 having previously been a consultant with Bain & Company in Chicago. While at Bain, Rishi worked with clients in various industries including technology, retail, consumer packaged goods, food services and healthcare. Rishi advised senior management teams on topics such as growth strategy, customer acquisition, sales force effectiveness and business process redesign. Prior to Bain, Rishi held internships with Deloitte Consulting, General Electric and Siemens.
In his spare time, Rishi is either working on his own business ideas or advising other entrepreneurs and their startups. He is a regular attendee at national tech meetups and events. He is also on the junior board of the non-profit organization, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
Here's your chance to learn how to make your business dreams come true. Don't miss out on a personalized opportunity to work with successful entrepreneurs in small groups and receive advice and tips to help see your vision through. Dina Patel, Co-Founder & CEO of Didi’s Wardrobe and Keval Mehta, Founder & CEO of INRFOOD will be amongst the panelists.
Meet the Entrepreneurs with Expertise in Making Business Dreams Come True!
|Ankur Jain, Founder, ThankLab
Ankur is working on his 4th startup, ThankLab, a social consumer and corporate gifting app. Ankur's startup experience began in 1999 at UConnections.com where he launched a food & grocery delivery business. He helped rollout a similar program across 50 schools nationwide until the dot com bubble burst.
From 2001-2004, Ankur joined HedgeFund.net, a Guggenheim-owned startup that connected HNW individuals with hedge funds. Within a year, he took over and revived a distressed business unit as the youngest Vice President of the company. He turned the $1 million/year loss-leading unit into the most profitable division at the company producing $3 million in positive cash flow within 18 months.
Ankur spent the following 6 years as an investor at two prestigious multi-family offices. At BBR Partners, a Goldman spin-off, he was a member of the senior investment team allocating $4 billion across hedge funds and private equity funds. After 5 years there, he started Gift Side Story to help men everywhere stay off the couch by finding great gifts for their significant others. ThankLab is a natural evolution in gifting that helps individuals and companies maintain relationships more efficiently.
Ankur has been actively involved with Streetwise Partners, a non-profit that helps low-income individuals develop skills to find better jobs.