This article is being shared by Tanmay Pant , Juet Guna Winner of Evolve 1.0!!
When Richard Cantillon (1697-1734) introduced the word Entrepreneur, he wouldn’t have an inkling about the gamut of activities the word would encompass in the coming centuries. He wouldn’t have known either, that the word might become a “game-changer” for some upcoming economies of the world. As it stands today, the much battered, the much beleaguered and the much unemployed Indian youth looks at Entrepreneurship as a solid medium to achieving their epiphanies. But sadly that is it, as far as the conversion of an idea into glory is concerned. A lack of support system, further plagued by an uncertain landscape (read recession and its lingering effects) has put paid to the hopes of a teeming lakhs, if not crores of youth who otherwise don’t have the wherewithal hitherto known only to some of the developed nations of the world.
Let me look at the problem from ground zero. Picture this- A skillful, young, suave, smart and unassuming fellow who just happens to be at the cusp of achieving bigger things, is turned off by the fact that there are no takers for his brilliant idea. Numerous rounds of talks with district level authorities have left him disappointed and sulking in a corner. An incisive analysis would reveal that the individual, in spite of his technical credentials rues that the environment per se was not conducive to taking entrepreneurship as a means to development. But read on- this is only one side of the story. At a time when accessibility and dissemination of knowledge are more now than it has ever been in the past, the mere assumption that support systems don’t exist would be fraught with dangers. In fact, the new government under the able directorship of Shri Narendra Modi has gone all out to promote “Skill development & Entrepreneurship” and a full-fledged ministry has been dedicated to its cause. At times, it is also about the conviction in an idea that smoothens the transition from idea to reality. That conviction is conspicuous by its absence in today’s aspiring entrepreneurs. May be some of it stems from the diktats of the Indian households where even today a secured job ranks on the highest priority for parents. The parents have tended to generalize some failures of budding entrepreneurs of the past, knowing little about the entrepreneurial ecosystem that has been developed of late. On rarer occasions they even seclude themselves from the budding entrepreneur when it comes to facilitating financial arrangements. The oft repeated scenario mentioned above dents the aspiring entrepreneur and a brilliant chance of seeing his creative credentials goes abegging. Having said that, today the parents are relatively more supportive and a lot of that has to do with stories galore of the young moguls making it big with their ideas. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and their ilk have certainly impacted the way parents now view their ward’s action-plan.
A GOI data (2014) clearly indicates that that the small businesses in India creates about 1.3 million jobs every year. Equally mind-boggling is the fact that they provide the largest employment after agriculture and henceforth contribute handsomely to the GDP. A booming middle class with a rising disposable income, changing customer tastes & preferences, untapped market in some sectors, and finally a government doing its best bit to promote Entrepreneurship; are reasons enough for Entrepreneurship to be a way of life in India. It’s a chance to be your own master, providing employment to hordes of unemployed, contributing to the GDP and what not..well the list is endless! A quick look at why Entrepreneurship has mostly failed-despite the earnest efforts of all involved- would unearth some genuine reasons. And these reasons don’t emanate from the last discussed ones. It has something to do with understanding the psyche of the customers that are to be catered to. Having an idea is alright but it’s commercialization and sustainability is what gets overlooked by the aspiring entrepreneur. The entrepreneur has to literally put himself into the shoes of the customer and think like him. You cannot force your product to the customer at a time when customization is the name of the game. Apart from this, there are certain legal implications about starting a business or about selling the products and also about the type of products. Though the government is doing what it could do best, the fact remains that the government can come up with some planning to fund ( even if partially) capital required-which is a deterrent for most entrepreneurs- and weed out corruption. Rampant corruption at all levels have hampered the progress of schemes like the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana. Juxtaposing India’s situation with that of the U.S.( which incidentally has only half of the small industries compared to India) will bring to the fore, bitter truth about government involvement and funding in the U.S.
With the above discussion perspective and given India’s peculiar problems, it would be interesting to pinpoint as to how Entrepreneurship would alleviate India from the shackles of unemployment, gloominess, dependence, large-scale poverty and reclusive growth. The following points are an attempt to illustrate why Entrepreneurship will help India in leapfrogging other nations of the world-
- Employment generation– With an amiable business environment, increase in the number of new businesses would translate into growing employment numbers and shall be seen as a harbinger of hope.
- Customization– Under it customization as well as catering to a varied and geographically spread customer base would entail of products and services that meet the requirements of each class of customers. Who wouldn’t want to see a happy and smiling customer?
- World-Class Infrastructure– The Entrepreneurship culture would obviate the existing and archaic infrastructure and give way to an all new experience of a world-class infrastructure. After all it is an important dot which when connected with other dots ( read employment generation, customization etc.) would complete the circle of prosperity of India.
- Increased awareness and diffusion- The coming of age of Entrepreneurship would herald in an era where awareness of customers would be at an all time high and dissemination of information would be fast à la developed nations of today.
- Co-ordination between stakeholders- Entrepreneurship process with all the means and resources would augur well for the stakeholders of the business as small size of operations would account for proper co-ordination. This would further smoothen the transition from small business to an MNC( a case in point being Google).
All the above mentioned facts would spur growth in all spheres and lead to an enhanced GDP and “inclusive growth” as envisaged by our P.M. Shri Narendra Modi. For all of the above to happen, everyone at the family to societal to governmental level has to play the main protagonist as an agent of change. This would mean more EDP programs by the government, increased spending, introducing Entrepreneurship modules at school and college levels, and most importantly inculcating in self that Entrepreneurship is a way of life. Why to work under somebody when you could employ a few? Who would not like to see a vibrant India standing shoulder to shoulder with the best of them all at the back of being called a great nation truly evolved in “ Entrepreneurial skills” and poised to be the best of the lot.
– Tanmay Pant , Juet Guna