India’s cultural products, be it Yoga, turmeric latte and gourmet experiences, handwoven clothing or handcrafted utilities, need to be brought to the forefront from the periphery of modern Indian entrepreneurship. This will enable the growth of India’s cultural economy and Brand India to flourish. The increasing global wants for healthier, happier and better lifestyles has created unprecedented market opportunities for branded, innovative, contemporary, cultural products and services. For example, the worldwide yoga market alone is $80 Bn in size while the food services industry is $3 Tn in size.
Network of Indian Cultural Enterprises (NICE), a Section 8 company, was therefore created to fulfill two major objectives. First, to foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, industry and domain experts, policy-makers, academia, NGOs, corporations and institutions. A vibrant community of individuals, platforms and institutions will facilitate knowledge sharing, networking and collaboration across domains.
Keeping with this, NICE has partnered with TiE Bangalore, Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurs, the Wadhwani Foundation and YourStory.
Second, to nurture cultural and creative entrepreneurs by equipping them to build scalable, valuable “cultural and creative brands” associated with India. Towards this end, NICE aims to launch its first program, “Aarohana” in early November, that will help cultural entrepreneurs plan, develop and scale their businesses.
NICE was established by Hari Kiran Vadlamani, the founder of Indic Academy. Sharing his thoughts behind NICE, Hari Kiran said, “there are two crucial factors for bringing about a global renaissance of Indic civilizational thought: Education & Entrepreneurship. At Indic Academy, we are focussed on education and imparting traditional knowledge systems across disciplines and student categories. However, for our culture to thrive and advance it has to become a living experience and this can only happen when we convert such indigenous knowledge into a product, service or an experience that is authentic, immersive and transformative. Globally too there is a new emerging class who are conscious of their spiritual wellbeing and are only consuming craft based products that are made in an environmentally sustainable fashion. India with its rich civilizational heritage is a natural home to cater to these trends. NICE with its focus on cultural and creative entrepreneurship can play a crucial role, not just in the revival of our traditional knowledge systems but while doing so cater to increasing global demand. After being incubated by our Center for Soft Power, NICE is now hived off as an independent entity to bring about a cultural and economic change and harness this opportunity for India to become both a global economic and soft power.”
In July 2020, Sanjay Anandaram, upon Hari Kiran’s invitation, joined as co-founder. “entrepreneurship is the vehicle to create jobs, economic value, drive governance and enable societal change. By partnering with various ecosystem participants, we hope to put our learnings and experiences of working with entrepreneurs to build successful cultural businesses and ultimately Brand India” said, Sanjay Anandaram.
NICE is governed by its Code of Conduct, advised by a Board of Advisors on strategic and governance issues, and guided by an Industry Experts Council on industry trends and opportunities“.
The Board of Advisors include Dr. V Anantha Nageswaran, member of PM Economic Advisory Council, Mr. Jaitirth Rao, entrepreneur and investor, Amb. Preeti Saran, Member of UNESCR and former Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs, Amb. TCA Rangachari, former diplomat, Prof Rishikesha Krishnan, Director and Professor of Strategy at IIM Bangalore and Mr. C Srinivasa Raju, Chairman of ILabs group.
On the occasion of its launch, Amb Preeti Saran said “NICE seeks to redefine and revitalise creative and cultural entrepreneurship, based on India’s rich tradition of cultural goods and knowledge. This will not only help to monetise cultural assets, but also give a huge boost to preservation, protection, promotion and development of India’s traditional medicines, wellness-related knowledge, arts, crafts, weaves, cuisine, and myriad other related industries. It will also further Brand India’s image, both nationally and abroad. I would like to congratulate NICE for its efforts and wish it the very best for its noble and innovative endeavours”.
The Industry Experts Council comprising of business leaders and experts include of Mr. Anchal Jain, Faculty Co-Chair of the Cultural and Creative Business Programme at IIM-A, Mr. Rajiv Vasudevan, Founder of Ayurvaid Hospitals; Ms. Rashmi Shukla, Business Head of Jaypore, Aditya Birla Group; Chef. Sanjeev Kapoor, internationally acclaimed chef; Mr. Saugata Gupta, MD of Marico Ltd and Mr. Siva Devireddy, Founder of GoCoop.
Commenting on the launch, Chef. Sanjeev Kapoor remarked, “I am really excited to be a part of NICE, a team of creative enthusiasts working towards making our country proud. I gladly look forward to giving my best in supporting, motivating and emphasizing the values, mission and vision of the organization. Together, we can achieve new milestones and express our vibrant culture in a new light”.
NICE is now an independent entity with a separate governance structure.