Why being an Entrepreneur can be the best thing today in India?


Entrepreneurs are beginning to make an impact on India today. I like the way Guy Kawasaki put it “The entrepreneur’s role is to make the world a better place and reap some economic rewards for doing so.” True entrepreneurs are evangelists and revolutionaries in a way. So many of them are told they are crazy, their ideas will never work, what they propose can’t be done. And yet, time and again, they seem to do the impossible.

As an entrepreneur you can make an impact, take charge, build wealth for the community, create jobs, and solve problems. If you choose the space carefully – something you are passionate about, work becomes fun. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Entrepreneurship is the way to go. Fortunately, entrepreneuship is on the increase around the world.

Look at some statistics from the most entrepreneurial country – the US. One out of every 12 person starts a new business; 7 out of 10 students want to build their own businesses when they grow up. More than 50% of new jobs are generated by new entrepreneurships. I am not sure of the data in India; but I guess it is getting interesting.

To be an entrepreneur, it takes guts, creativity and innovation and an ability to survive in chaotic uncertainty. Indians seem to be beginning to do rather well as entrepreneurs. On a lighter vein, a Singaporean friend of mine said – “No wonder Indians can make great entrepreneurs. Life itself is so enterprising here. There is so much chaos and still you function. All your faculties have to be very alert.” Take just crossing the road in India. The text book way says look to your right and then to your left and when you see a lull in traffic, cross carefully. In India, in most roads it is not that simple. The traffic never comes down. You look at your right and look very quickly to your left (You may find a scooterist dashing down at high speed from the wrong way) and when the traffic offers you a few milliseconds, just dart across. And don’t forget to look right and left alternately extremely fast. The fast dashing car, scooter, cyclist, phenomenon could occur any time from any direction. And if you are lucky and made one third of the road, just take a quick look, for the next one third may be a far more difficult one. While crossing, you may have to make real-time computations and determine the odds of going forward or backward. You may have to dart back and start all over again. And while looking left and right on the journey, don’t forget to take a quick look ahead, there may be some other soul trying to cross the opposite direction looking right and left and come dashing at you. And it may be a good idea to look up for some falling debris from the windows above. Also, don’t forget to look down for craters in the middle of the road. If you succeed in your venture of crossing the road, thank your luck and set forth on the next journey. With simple things like crossing the road needing so much enterprise, no wonder Indians are turning out to be good entrepreneurs. Winston Churchill aptly described India as a “functioning chaos” and if you could successfully function in that chaos, your entrepreneurial spirit gets kindled so well. I pity the Singaporeans, crossing the road there is so very easy. Everything happens so very predictably.

The opportunities are huge in India. I end this posting with an example:

About three years back, on a Friday afternoon in one of India’s biggest steel plants, a senior executive found the neighborhood of his building required some good cleaning. He asked one of his junior colleagues to find a contractor and get his plant area cleaned up over the week end. The younger executive thought about it. He called half a dozen young men from his village – poor agriculture laborers who were pestering him for a job. He ensured that the team was well organized, made a clear work plan and a simple but effective process to ensure a good execution. When the senior executive returned after the weekend, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He simply asked his junior to hire whichever agency he used for the whole plant. To cut a long story short, the young executive today runs a company of his own with revenue touching $ 20 Million and growing fast. If you visit his core team you will find them as savvy as the core team of Infosys, the most admired Indian tech company. What they specialize is just “Jadu Pochcha !” Ie. The “bucket and broom”. But he does it damn well and is very successful. He does it for all top industries, and utilities. The moral of the story is: We are just waking up. A lot of things need to be done. Every problem is an entrepreneurial opportunity. Some of them huge! There are opportunities galore waiting to be tapped. That is what makes India so exciting today.

And it is just beginning. We are only 14 years old as an entrepreneurial country today. It all started with 1992 with the liberalization of the economy. Prior to that we were a semi socialist economy. Entrepreneurs were bad boys then. Not any more. We just poosted a 9% plus growth last quarter. Economically, this is probbably one of the best times for India over the past 300 years. It is one of the greatest of times to live in India. Potential entrepreneurs must grab the opportunity with both hands, and build wealth for the country and for themselves.


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