Startup tips

10 useful tips for entrepreneurs from theatre veteran Ashvin Gidwani

10 useful tips for entrepreneurs from theatre veteran Ashvin Gidwani
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Ashvin Gidwani is one of the pioneers in commercialising the Indian theatre industry. After being trained by industry stalwarts like Ronnie Screwvala and Hosi Vasunia in Mumbai, Gidwani established his own theatre production company ‘Ashvin Gidwani Productions’ popularly known as ‘AGP’ in Mumbai in 1995.

Back in 1995, the honcho’s passion for theatre led to commercial bankruptcy thrice. Later, change in strategy with return-on-investment resulted in progress. He remarks, “Dire circumstances often teach you what success can’t. After going bankrupt, we had nothing more to lose and only experience to gain. I realised commercialisation was the only way to function. That is when I started seeking profit margins and brand engagement vehemently.”

His unconditional passion for theatre plays and an eye for detail have created a new benchmark for the theatre Industry in India over the past 19 years. With presence in 17 cities across India and 12 countries globally, AGP promotes Indian theatre and unique experiences for corporate, cultural organisations, public performances and other associations.

“At AGP, we create, conceptualize, produce, market and promote new ideas constantly with our proprietary SPV’s (Special Platform Vehicles) exploring various genres, such as Best seller series, Bollywood on stage, Comedies, Spoofs and thrillers,” Gidwani adds further.

In an interaction with Entrepreneur, he shares some useful tips for emerging entrepreneurs drawing insights from his valuable insights and industry experience:    

Be hungry

When you’re hungry to learn, you make it a point to understand the nuances of how something functions. Strive to know as much as possible. You never know when something you once learnt could bring you out of a messy situation.

Listen to your inner voice

Somehow your gut knows it all. Your inner voice is your light house. Your inner voice can only be experienced when the mind body and soul come together in a unified strength to be able to turn the most impossible situations into possible.

Fill the gap

Gaps are all around us. Realise those and fulfil a need. Every business that does well has fulfilled an opportunity that no one saw. There are a dozen doors left to be opened. Starting commercial theatre by tapping brands and corporate, including Banks (Private Equity and NTB customers), Tourism Boards, Business Associations, Airlines among others was how I realised that theatrical plays and experiences could provide them an opportunity to engage with their customers and build their brand.

Create your own territory

Create your own territory and slowly take off one after the other to become a global entity. The journey to this doesn’t have to be the one that is roughest but the smartest path one needs to take to reach one’s goals.

Build bridges

Build bridges to build relationship. Then cross and start over it. Business is built on relationships.


Travelling opens you to a new world. You learn about different people, what they eat, drink and believe in, why they behave the way they do. Every person you meet teaches something new. What you learn, you apply in business. That way it opens newer possibilities.

Learn from other’s mistakes

Learn, learn and learn. Don’t repeat and look for the wise and older for their advice.

Have a soul

It is good to make money. But it is equally important to utilise your strengths to create opportunities for others. For Instance, under the AGP World CSR arm, we facilitate various fund raisers.

Look after yourself

Health, Family, Work and then everything else has been my mantra. Realise that your body is your temple.


Let them be parameters of change, so you can break through all of them and achieve what you sought out to.