JOIN ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK – INDIA! Held for the first time, Entrepreneurship Week India will celebrate today’s opportunities and work to improve the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial people through activities and awareness campaigns.

Entrepreneurship Week India will be run concurrently with Entrepreneurship Week US that has been sanctioned by the US House of Representatives, and initiated by the Kauffman Foundation, the New York Times and Inc. magazine.

To be truly successful, this initiative has to become a nationwide movement. Your partnership steers us closer to that and will also go a long way in generating the kind of momentum the Week needs to truly be a success! To learn how to partner with the growing movement to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem, click here

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What stops me from being an entrepreneur?

Before I touch upon the topic, I think its apt to write a little about who qualifies as an entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur is - someone who has an “idea”, works out a business strategy, gets the strategy approved by financiers, secures the dough, gets a office, sets up a business and living beings (staff), revels in skyrocketing profits, sells the brainchild for no less than some crores and enjoys life thereafter! :-)

But does this happen in reality? I m afraid I have to say “not always ” though there are some success stories.

Anyone can have an idea but it takes something special - An “out of the box” idea coupled with determination to become an entrepreneur.

What stops me? I would love to start my own business but do I have the time to even think of an idea? Even if I did, I don’t have enough money and say, I managed funding, I would probably not see any income for years and I might be scorned by my parents and peers, probably be labeled as a “failure”. So I guess... the fear of “losing” is enough to shatter my dreams of being an entrepreneur.

Kingshuk Nag
St. Xavier's, Kolkata

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Role of Indian Entrepreneurs

I would like to discuss the role of entrepreneurship in the Indian economy, and what needs to be done to so entrepreneurs can play an optimal role.

I believe that the entrepreneurs in India play a different role from thier counterparts in an advanced economy. For instance, entrepreneurs in an advanced economy enable early stage innovation, and we have seen this in limited measure in India.

1. In India entrepreneurs are not pushing the technological envelope
2. They do not focus on different customer segments
3. They prefer to diversify into new business rather than expand
4. Small units in India lack the scale to acquire and use advanced technologies
5. Startup capital required by the entrepreneurs might be high, and not as easy to access

Why is this so?
In India entrepreneurs operate small units in domains that in the developed world would be dominated by large companies. For e.g. retail.

Several factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start sub-scale units and to avoid growth are
1. Govt. reservations for small units
2. Tax system
3. Inefficient use of capital
4. Acquiring premises instead of renting them
5. Purchase of equipment instead of leasing them
6. Production of goods & services instead of sourcing lower-cost options
7. Defects in the regulatory and legal systems

Countries like India have to get the big picture right and fix the pain points in the system. At this juncture India needs to reform the tax system, create a more favorable environment for entrepreneurs to think of large scale operations, and provide infrastructure that will support such growth. The only way to discover what is and isn't critical is through a close, systematic study of the current situation, followed by recommendations to the government on what can be done to ensure we create a favourable environment.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

Some entrepreneurs share their thoughts...

"Entrepreneurship is about the ability to create something. It starts with the passion to build and continues with the desire to stay at it against all odds. Contrary to what most people think its not about a billion dollar idea which somebody has in their garage and then becomes a company. On the other hand its more about someone's desire to make a difference or do something better or solve a problem and then the idea they have invariably changes over time as the market forces dictate the evolution of the idea. True entrepreneurship is about the ability to adapt and grow the original idea as the market changes to the point where your original idea may no longer be the driving force. SO flexibility and persistence are more important than brilliance in the original idea."
D.P. Venkatesh,CEO, mPortal Inc

“Entrepreneurship is about identifying new opportunities or unmet need and creating a unique solution to solve those needs. It is also about creativity, passion, enthusiasm and zeal to create something different. It’s really encouraging to see number of young entrepreneurs coming out of comfort level and willing to take risk and the respect entrepreneurs are getting from society. Also the initiatives taken by organizations like TiE and NeN for creating an ecosystem for supporting and helping entrepreneurs is playing a big role in promoting entrepreneurship in India and creating a string positive attitude of “I can. I will.”
Manish Agrawal, Founder,

“Entrepreneurship is realization of one’s true potential”
Manjula Sridhar, CEO & Founder, Virefree

What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Do post your thoughts and win exciting prizes!

Sir MVIT students get a taste of experiential learning

Students from Sir MVIT, Bangalore report on the activities undertaken on Sunday...

As part of the activities and events being organized by Sir MVIT as a partner in the nation wide campaign -- the Entrepreneurship Week India, the students of the college underwent an interesting day-long exercise in experiential learning to help develop entrepreneurial skills and traits in them.

The exercise that comprised fun games and activities to train students on soft skills, was conducted by Pegasus, a leading outbound training company that started 9 years ago and has more than 2000 development programs to its credit! Pegasus is well known for its training sessions with the Indian cricket team.

A representative of Pegasus said that they believe that there is a big difference in knowing and doing things!
After the games, followed an open discussion on entrepreneurship for students that touched upon issues such as whether students need to wait till they get work experience before they can start their own venture or if they can start off while they are still in college.

The panelists comprised new and successful entrepreneurs that helped add a wide range of perspective to the discussion. Panelists included Captain Ravi, Founder of Pegasus, Mr.Devananda, COO of Squarecircle Event Management, Mr.Rajeev Talreja, Founder of Quantum Leap and Ms. Bhavana, Founder, Club Eventology.


Buying, selling, negotiations, hard bargains and bending the rules were rampant at IBAB on Feb 26, day 3 of Entrepreneurship Week India, as student-teams competed to outdo each other at the entrepreneurship related business game.

The event was kicked off by Dr. Gayatri Saberwal dividing the students into eight groups, each of which constituted a virtual company, which was further distributed among two countries having four teams each.

Each 'company' was provided with incomplete pieces of four jigsaw puzzles and some amount of virtual currency. The winner would be decided by counting the largest number of joined pieces. Since the pieces of each puzzle was equally distributed among the companies, it naturally put them in a situation where they had to buy, sell, barter and negotiate to get their hands on the pieces they needed.

Mayhem reigned as companies tried to figure out what they needed and matched wits with other companies to get the best deals for the lowest prices. Spice was added to an already tasty mixture with the 'government' introducing a slew of changes in the 'government policy'. Companies struggling to increase their value were now forced to survive in a different environment. This session came to an end after two exciting hours. A well decided merger, excellent team work, smart negotiations and of course, some luck, were the deciding factors for the winning team.

All of this was followed by a discussion where everything the different teams underwent during the game was related and compared with real life situations. Students realized how different factors like environment and luck can affect the success of a startup enterprise along with important factors like communication, planning, team work, proper distribution of duties, initial investment, and negotiation. Overall, it was an enjoyable learning experience which gave everyone something to ponder about entrepreneurship.

Govind M. Nair, IBAB

A young Indian's thoughts on E Week India activities

Sunitha Yadav writes after participating in a fun-based puzzle activity organised at Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology , which exposed the participants to some of the critical aspects of entrepreneurship like team building, adapting to changing scenarios, new idea generation and negotiation.

From the time entrepreneurship week has begun, I am more inclined to believe that it's actually possible for one to start an enterprise. And I guess the best way to get people to start thinking about something is to start making them hear about it.

I always felt that it was a herculean task to start one's own company. But the enthusiasm I see has made me believe that to accomplish one's dreams, one has to start believing in them. And awareness programmes such as these sow the seeds of hope that we should not discard an idea as something inconceivable.

Because I think that something that is just an idea today can evolve into something extraordinary and significant tomorrow. Many a lesson have I learnt today at IBAB! Working together in a team, how to manage people based on their temperament, not to appear too imposing but at the same time making oneself heard, working together as a unit.

And this morning's activity made me understand that how important it is for some people to just quieten down and focus on work without getting distracted even when team members of the same and other groups are contributing to the already existing chaos. There was this huge furore as to which team would do better. So on the whole it was a very interesting exercise and it was fun going back to puzzle fixing!

Welcome Walmart, but empower the local kirana

E Week is about celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit in our people... so we thought we'd ask some researchers what they thought about entrepreneurship in India.

We spoke to Rafiq Dossani, Executive Director of the South Asia Program at the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. Dossani's research interests include Asian entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and financial, technology, telecommunications and energy-sector reforms in India. His views on entrepreneurship in India are quite thought provoking...

"Not everyone wants to be, or should be, an entrepreneur. India's urban tragedy is that there are fewer firms started than there are entrepreneurs, just as the rural tragedy is the reverse: there are too many unwilling small farmer-entrepreneurs who would prefer steady employment to the pervasive risk that small-farm agriculture offers.

The logic for entrepreneurship is simple: an entrepreneur has a vision for the long-term growth of his idea. Converting that to reality means facing obstacles in accessing start-up finance, understanding markets and distribution and training to build his own and his fellow-employees' human capital.

Converting those visions to reality is most urgent at this time: India has opened its doors to large, private established businesses, both domestic and foreign, that will quickly demolish the lakhs of me-too small businesses that currently dot the Indian landscape. If those entrepreneurs, and thousands of new ones, can be empowered through networks of knowledge, they can access what they need to build competitive businesses. Of course, the government must do its part, building the sensible regulatory institutions that will protect the entrepreneur without hurting entrepreneurship; institutions such as university-industry partnerships, venture capital regulations and the like.

The message is clear - While India's reforms and liberalization must progress as planned, it is imperative to create an environment where the small entrepreneur is empowered to become competitive.