Till two decades back, entrepreneurship in India was largely limited to family-owned businesses. ‘I want to grow up into an entrepreneur and start a business’ was a statement we hardly heard from children in the 1980s or early 90s.
However, with the technology and communication revolution radically changing the country’s economic environment, the ecosystem for entrepreneurs also saw a change. Young and enterprising individuals who had interesting ideas broke into the scene and brought a new startup revolution in the country. Flipkart, Snapdeal, Zomato, Paytm, Ola and Practo are some red hot examples of startups that have emerged in just the past decade and have completely re-written the rules of the game.
According to the NASSCOM ecosystem startup report 2015, India is now the third leading startup originator in the world, with $5 billion worth investment in 2015 and three to four startups emerging every day. The report suggests that the number of active investors in the startup ecosystem in India grew from 220 in 2014 to 490 in 2015, a more than two-fold increase in just one year.
The entrepreneurship revolution has brought a radical shift in the ever-evolving world of career and employment. Ideas are the new bedrock of revolution, and students today are also realising it as they see the rapid developments in the world around them. Entrepreneurial development has emerged as an important factor for growth of the economy and students are looking at it as a strong career option, much like they look at the traditional fields of medicine, engineering, law and architecture.
Economy and social development – on the same track
The evolution of the Indian economy can be divided into three aspects era wise. While the 60s saw the agricultural revolution help India overcome famines and hunger, the 80s ushered in a new technological and communication revolution. In this continuity, the era starting from the new millennium can readily be termed as that of the start-up revolution in India.
Today, educational institutions have started offering courses in entrepreneurship and small business management. Similar growth has been witnessed in the field of development with the rise of the idea of the development economy. With greater reach of mass media and greater awareness about existential problems, there has been a steady emergence of students who desire to use their careers to not just earn a living but also contribute to social development. New career fields have opened for students in areas of development studies, child development, rural development among others.
Interestingly, a range of India’s development issues can be suitably addressed by producing innovative low cost solutions suggesting an amalgamation of the twin fields of entrepreneurship and development. For example, lack of universal irrigation facilities can be overcome to some extent by developing innovative rain water harvesting solutions that can proliferate across the country; the burden of water-borne diseases can be reduced if social entrepreneurs develop low cost water purifying mechanisms and market them in rural areas and urban slums.
Believe in yourself
With the growth of technology, there have come up many avenues and industries for people to choose their career options from. However, for any industry to bloom, prosper, and grow the potential of driving the economy, it is important for it to incubate strong enterprises within enterprises. This further requires the management and other higher institutes to produce human resource that is not only skillful but also efficient and effective for the industry, and bring new ideas to the table.
As per a study conducted by International School of Entrepreneurship Education and Development (ISEED), while 90 per cent of surveyed Indian students saw entrepreneurship opportunities in the country, 87 per cent aspired to become an entrepreneur at a point in their lifetime
The survey revealed that most of the youth today believe in entrepreneurship as it implies moving away from the conventional and creating something new. Amidst their passion to carve an untraveled path, these aspirants are not afraid of failures and risks. Hence, the study surprisingly revealed students from tier III cities to be ahead of tier II, tier I and metros in the race of becoming entrepreneurs.
Go beyond conventions
With the government too launching programmes to boost small enterprises, education institutes and centers are also providing courses on entrepreneurship and have set large number of incubators and business accelerators. While well-known institutions like IIMs and IITs already have successful incubation centers, modern institutions like IMS Noida have also set-up smart incubation like Incu-bay on the lines of Silicon Valley of US Bay area.
The academia in India has to align with the advanced concepts of innovation and incubation within its four walls and extend it to the students, alumni, faculty as well as the industry. The same should not be limited to government institutions but should also take along selected private institutes that can drive it. It is time for the Indian Institute of Incubation or Indian Institute of Data science with data centric approach of the entrepreneurship opportunities, rather than simply being the anachronous IIMs and IITs.
Key skills/ courses for entrepreneurship & development:
Certificate/diploma/degree in Business Entrepreneurship
Certificate/diploma/degree in Development Studies
Certificate/diploma/degree in Marketing
Certificate/diploma/degree in social entrepreneurship
– authored by Dr KJS Anand, Executive Director, Institute of Management Studies Noida and Fellow IIM Ahmedabad
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