Thursday, 1 March 2007

Entrepreneurship in India

Everyone embarks on the journey from student life to their first job with enthusiasm and a rosy picture of making an impact with powerful decisions along with path breaking and intellectually stimulating work. Pictures of board rooms, influential contacts, travel, meetings and important decisions flash in front of us and we see a successful career ahead of us. Some cherish the secret desire to earn enough money to start their own business. Reality sinks in quite soon and we realize that we are very small pawns whose moves are in the hands of the company management. Many people give up at this stage and resign themselves to a mundane career that promises job security and a steady income. But, hopes shouldn't die that soon. After all, this is just the beginning and once climbing up the corporate ladder is successfully achieved, it will indeed be possible to have a greater role in business decisions. If the role models from the business world like Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jack Welch and Steve Jobs were to compromise their dreams and reconcile themselves to the fate of being small fish in a big pond, would global and successful companies like Microsoft, Google, Reliance, Tata, GE and Apple have existed now?

Entrepreneurship and the desire to try new business models has not caught up in India as much as it is prevalent in the western world. There is no better way to gain the power and status that everyone craves for than to build your own business and turn it into a success. The money and fame that come with success of such an endeavour is definitely much more valuable than any fancy salary that you earn from your employer. Indians are still wary of taking big risks. It could be partly because of our upbringing where we see our parents opting for security and a steady income that comes from a job rather than face the apprehensions, uncertainty and risk of failure of new businesses. Traditionally, in India, children are supported by their parents until their marriage. This probably reduces the pressure on them to be financially secure at an early age. The environmental and social influences prevalent in our country that shape a person's attitude to life and to work are partly responsible for squashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian youth.

Indian companies take a very cautious approach to new business ideas. Although companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS and Satyam are well known names in business circles, they are known more for offering IT services at competitive prices than for their research and development, new products and innovative technology. Let us however not take away the credit these companies deserve for making India a haven for foreign investment. Their efforts are commendable as India has come a long way and established itself as a successful economy. It has the fifth largest GDP in terms of purchasing power parity. The expected growth in economy and the political stability that comes from its being a democracy have given the confidence and incentive for foreign investment. However, I believe that only when Indian companies start investing in research and development and come up with innovative products at par with, if not better than, those offered by foreign companies and market them successfully is the battle truly won. Indian entrepreneurs should rise to the challenge and strive at achieving excellence with new business ideas, new products and powerful marketing for India to be become a global super power and an extremely strong economy. I am sure that they will rise to this challenge and put India right on top in the global business arena.

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