ETNow Leaders of Tomorrow award won by Devdas Y Naik

Planet – Goa,

Highland Chairman Devadas Y Naik won the ETNow – IndiaMART Leaders of Tomorrow award in the Travel and Hospitality category at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai on November 28, 2011. This brings Naik’s awards tally, both national and international, to five within a span of seven months.

The Leaders of Tomorrow award salutes the spirit of entrepreneurship and celebrates the success of India’s best, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in carving a niche for India in the global market. MSMEs contribute to 19 percent of India’s GDP, generating 16 million jobs. These are success stories of entrepreneurs who have turned stumbling blocks into stepping stones, driven by their passion for what they do.

The ETNow- IndiaMART Leaders of Tomorrow was not an easy award to win. With other major awards the nominees make a single presentation and a jury makes its selection. The Leaders of Tomorrow Award is an obstacle marathon. In a massive nationwide nomination drive 60,000 candidates were shortlisted. They had to undergo a rigorous elimination process by three teams of jurors at three different levels of the competition. The jurors are the cream of the corporate crop. To make the team behind the awards even stronger, Ernst & Young was the independent process validation partner for evaluating the nominations.

The Highland story
Naik’s innovation at Highland Beach Resort, Candolim, wowed the jury panels at every level with the sheer scale of his venture. Highland is a unique need-based concept: combining the need to build assets with the need to holiday with family. They sell apartments to second-home buyers, who then rent the apartments back to Highland. They maintain, manage and market them as a resort, with the top three international tour operators ensuring the rooms are booked for the season.

The resort has been built following principles of ‘Passive Development’. The natural tree-cover has been preserved and maintained. The 448-apartment resort over 15 acres has been built around seven 100-year old trees, 8 wells and a natural pond. It gives guests the feeling of living in their village home. The resort has created wealth for many small businesses in Candolim. The staff too are so committed that guests who come year after year, embrace them and are in tears while leaving. This commitment could be directly related to Devadas Naik’s policy of Hire-and -No-Fire, which has won him at least three HR (Human Resources) awards this year.

Naik was called to Mumbai for the Intermediate Presentation and drew V.P. Kamat as his interviewer. Kamat was so engrossed in Naik’s story that he waved the time-keeper away and stretched a 7- minute Q & A session to more than half an hour. In the final round in New Delhi, Devadas Naik was interviewed by Prasoon Joshi, and later by the jury panel Chairman Sam Pitroda, who told the 67-year-old Naik, “Promise me that you will keep innovating for the next 20 years, Mr Naik!”

The Jurors
The Final Jury members were Panel Chairman Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation; Prasoon Joshi Executive Chairman, McCann World Group India, Regional Creative Director – Asia Pacific, McCann Erickson; Vikram Bakshi Managing Director, McDonalds India; Akhil Gupta Deputy Group CEO & MD, Airtel; D. K. Jain Chairman and President, Luxor Group; Gita Piramal Chairman, BP Ergo Ltd., Managing Editor, The Smart Manager Magazine; Shivinder Singh Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare and B. S. Nagesh Vice Chairman, Shoppers Stop.

The Intermediate Jury rounds in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore were presided over by
Delhi: Paratha Sarthi Guhapatra (VP Strategic Initiatives & Offset Programs, Wipro); Raja Balasubramanian (VP Marketing, Master Cards) Aashish Sethi (VP and National Head – Partnership, Apollo Munich); Rajesh R (Independent Consultant)

Mumbai: Sunil Madhok (Director Business Operations, Pfizer) ; Naresh K Gupta (VP Finance, Deutsche Bank) ; Bharat Parwani (Sr. Director Business Development, Sanofi Aventis); VP Kamath (COO, Wockhardt); Vipul Prajapati (Director, SME Division West , Citibank)

Bengaluru: Snigdha Rao (Partner, VenturEast); Rahul R (Partner, VenturEast); Indranil Chowdhury (VP & CFO, Volvo India)