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Future Focused: Naveen Bhardwaj, Group CEO, Trescon Bharadwaj is leading his enterprise into newer business realms by leveraging the opportunities offered by emerging technologies.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Thomas

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Naveen Bhardwaj, Group CEO, Trescon

"Our purpose is to help the world embrace emerging technologies in a sustainable and inclusive manner by bringing communities from different parts of the world together." With this single statement, global business events and consulting firm Trescon's Group CEO Naveen Bharadwaj encapsulates the vision that drives his enterprise.

Since its launch in 2016 in India, Trescon has been at the forefront of putting out a number of business-to-business (B2B) events that have focused solely on emerging technologies. These include, but are not limited to, the World Blockchain Summit (24 completed editions), the World AI Show, the World Cyber Security Summit, the World Cloud Show, the World Metaverse Show, and the World Fintech Show. "We also host B2B events for specific government entities or large companies based on the objectives and goals of either the organization itself or the country/region," Bharadwaj adds. "Additionally, we do a lot of in-house B2B events -such as boardroom discussions, roundtables, workshops- which are a lot more bespoke, and have fewer participants compared to our future tech events or the managed events. And the final part of our model is the knowledge and training division where we offer both public training classes as well as private in-house training classes on topics related to emerging technologies, sustainability, leadership, and more."

While a major chunk of Trescon's teams are based within the Indian cities of Bangalore, Mangalore, and Manipal, the enterprise has also set up a head office in the UAE in Dubai, besides having representative offices in Mauritius, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. With such a well dispersed set of teams, Trescon has been able to cater its events to a wide number of geographies as well. For example, the aforementioned World Cyber Security Summit has been hosted across the MENA, India and Southeast Asia, while the World Cloud Show has taken place in Dubai, Manila, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.

"All our events are special, and the experience is amazing, but what makes us very happy is we got into these topics and started hosting these events quite early," Bharadwaj notes. "We've been in this B2B events space for emerging technologies for over seven years now. But we now finally see that there's a growing appetite for these topics, and a lot more people are coming to these events, as opposed to our earlier years. To see those many people coming together, for them to find value at this event, for them to walk away having established contacts that will help them one way or the other- I think that sums up the type of experience that we want to offer."

Now, one may assume that with such an increased interest for emerging technologies, Trescon may be working towards increasing the output of its yearly events. But Bharadwaj says that he and his team have decided to focus on quality over quantity. "Until a few years ago, we did a lot of events," he says. "On an average, we've been hosting around 20 events a year- a good 70%-80% of these are our own future tech events, and the remaining 20%-30% are the managed events that we host for our government and private sector partners. But as we've moved into the second half of 2023, and as we enter into 2024 in a few months, our goal is to consolidate these 20 events, and come down to probably 10-12. And so, in the future, you will see the number of events reducing, not necessarily increasing, but within those events, we will cover more topics than what we cover today with those 20 events."

The Trescon team at the inaugural Dubai Fintech Summit- an event hosted by Trescon from May 8-9, 2023 following a partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre. Source: Trescon

Related: Follow The Leader: Mohammed Saleem, Founding Chairman, Trescon

Now, for Trescon to deliver content that truthfully reflects the trends and realities of emerging technologies today, it is important for the enterprise itself to be at the forefront of such shifts. So, how does Bharadwaj and his team manage that? "First, we have an advisory board comprising people from the government and private sector, as well as academia and the innovation space," Bharadwaj replies. "Secondly, we keep in regular touch with the participants of our events to find out their pain points, the regulations that affect them, and to then make an assessment of the positive as well as negative sentiments that are running in the market. Next, we also work very closely with industry specific associations, consortiums, and councils. So, we take all of that input, we produce content, we acquire speakers. We have a full-fledged content production team, which has researchers in it, content producers in it, as well as people that acquire these thought leaders as speakers. Because ultimately, if you can't give them something unique, and if it's the same that they can find in YouTube or in their offices, then there's no point in them coming and engaging with you physically. The content production team's job is to prepare that compelling agenda."

While all Trescon events deal with global technologies, it's worth noting here that they are being delivered in a diverse range of countries. With that comes an added responsibility for Bharadwaj and his team: aligning with local traditions and cultures. "Language can be one of the key considerations for us in this regard," Bharadwaj says. "In some of the countries, knowing Arabic or having people that speak Arabic can be an advantage, but not a necessity. Similarly, in Southeast Asia, there are a few countries where people know English, but that's not a language they are comfortable in. They would rather first go with their own local languages for which, again, we might have internal capacity, and if we don't, engaging partners becomes absolutely important. In addition to all these things, some countries are very much focused on diversity and inclusion. I think every country is, but some countries are doing a lot more. Therefore, in those markets, we also make sure that our teams are diverse and inclusive, the topics are diverse. That customization, that curation of what's relevant and necessary locally is absolutely important to us at Trescon."

Here, if you go back to the quote with which this article started, you will realize by now that Trescon's underlying vision has been ingrained across its services. But Bharadwaj adds that his company is now revving up for an altogether new goal. "Another most important element is that we at Trescon are driven by what the future holds for us- which is why we've created our vision called Vision 2025," he explains. "Through this, we want to achieve a bunch of different things. The first point of action within that, of course, is from an events standpoint. We have multiple events coming up in Singapore, Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and a couple of other countries. We are also launching our flagship expo called Digital Acceleration and Transformation Expo (DATE) in India. DATE will be a 3000-5000 people affair, although I personally feel that it's going to be a 10,000+ people affair, where we co-locate 10 of our different event brands under one umbrella. Using the DATE brand, we plan to scale next year as well as penetrate a few new markets."

But there is a lot more to what Trescon's renewed vision entails. "Aside from the events, as part of our Vision 2025, we are also launching a few new businesses," Bharadwaj reveals. "We're going to set up a venture capital fund, which invests into emerging technology companies as well as sustainability-based companies. We're also launching Trescon Academy, or Trescademy, which will be an institutionalized setup where we train people around the world, and address the capacity building and the talent shortage issue by training people on technologies. We're also launching a dedicated division focused on sustainability. And finally, with the massive growth in blockchain adoption around the world, we've decided to build our blockchain and metaverse community where project owners, blockchain consulting firms and development agencies, as well as individual developers can exchange ideas, collaborate, and create projects in an immersive metaverse experience. These are just some of the different things that's cooking in our kitchen, leading up to our vision 2025."

As Bharadwaj pauses for a moment, having elaborated on the many projects his enterprise is working on, I ask him what Vision 2025 means for Trescon at this current point in time. "It's our future," he replies. "That's where we want to be. Vision 2025 has two major objectives, which we believe benefits everybody within Trescon, as well as stakeholders in the wider ecosystem. Objective number one is to scale our existing events in size, and then in markets that they are currently present in. Objective number two is leveraging our events as a hub to launch new businesses. That's what Vision 2025 is- it is solidifying our base, and then creating new opportunities. It's growth for the company, our employees, for people that are joining us, as well as for the different ecosystems and stakeholders that associate themselves with us."

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Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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