The rise of the entrepreneur in India

The rise of the entrepreneur in India

14 Jul 2008, 1444 hrs IST,TNN

Entreprenueurship in India is attracting individuals with different educational qualifications. Traditionally, Gujaratis, Sindhis and Marwaris were known to possess good entrepreneurial skills. More recently, India has seen the trend of technology entrepreneurs and cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad are becoming home to a large number of start-ups.

India has a large number of ‘icon’ entrpreneurs or role models who inspire many, such as Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Azim Premji, among others. Most of us have seen examples of entreprenuership even on the roads like the ‘mobile hair salons’ operating on pavements. There are a large number of rural entrepreneurs too, for example, someone who has moved from his village to a city to set up a ‘paan’ shop, women who have set up co-operatives to market pickles , papads, and so on.

Entreprenuership in India has flourished as families and communities have seen the success that individuals have achieved by treading a different path. You are more likely to become an entrepreneur if a family member or a close member of your community was one.

Today, entrepreneurs have access to seed money, venture capital and angel investors. There are organisations like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) and industry chambers which promote entreprenuership . There are special schemes and incentives for the small and medium entrepreneurs making it more attractive for people to venture into this domain.

An entrepreneur is someone who is a risk-taker and is ready to face challenges. He/she, therefore, is not daunted by competition. A significant attribute that an entrepreneur needs is a clear focus of objectives and goals. Strong financial management is equally critical . Successful entrepreneurs are very prudent in the way they manage their finances.

An optimistic approach, hard work and the ability to identify and exploit an opportunity that many do not see proves to be valuable. There are numerous examples of entreprenuers who did not give up on their dreams when most did not believe that their ventures would suceed.

In our country, there is a dearth of women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, in many parts of our country, women are not treated as equal to men which undermines their self confidence. If they work, they are encouraged to take up ‘softer’ jobs and assignments. They are not taught to be leaders. On the contrary, entrepreneurs have to be leaders and visionaries.

Women entrepreneurs need to display the same grit and determination as their male counterparts. Additionally, depending upon the kind of industry their business is related to or the city that they operate in, they may have to battle with deep-rooted social prejudices . The will to spot opportunities and take risks in order to realise them is part of an entrepreneur’s overall makeup, which is partly innate and partly a product of his upbringing.

A lot of energy, enthusiasm, team-building and leadership, decision-making , a ‘can do attitude’ are required for an entrepreneur . The ability to grasp details fast or being on a quick learning curve, being well-read and being on top of your business will get you to your goals faster.

The skills required to deal with the competition would be the same as those required by all organisations, which is to offer a unique product or service, competitive pricing, excellent quality, creating brand equity and building good and long lasting relationships with consumers or customers.

India and the the world are full of examples of successful entrepreneurs who had limited formal education . Having said that, it is relevant to point out that qualifications required depend upon the nature of the industry one operates in. If, for example, you want to set up an IT company, then you would need the necessary education and knowledge.

A basic graduation degree would definitely help. Entrepreneurship is not something which can be taught, it requires certain inherent attiributes and a conducive environment to flourish. Experience of working with entrepreneurs or start-ups would be a definite advantage.

The time taken for returns on investment will be different across industries. If you are an entrepreneur who has set up a hotel chain and made huge investments , you may need to wait between three to five years before profits start kicking in. On the other hand, if you are in trading or have a small business created with modest funds, returns could be immediate.

With India’s economy doing well, opportunities in entreprenuership are immense. Funds and capital , even mentorship are available for those who want to set up their own operations.

For youngsters, it is advisable to gain experience in the industry, preferably in small and medium enterprises where they can learn the ropes of business and use the knowledge and skills to launch their own enterprise when they are ready.

Setting up your own company calls for a lot of hard work, so get into this business only if you are passionate about it. Many oganisations now exist to support fledgling entrepreneurs, including government agencies, business incubators, science parks and even non-government organisations (NGOs).

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