Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group, on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, said our country lacked role models in the entrepreneurial sphere. “India cannot progress if it does not create first-generation entrepreneurs,” said Biyani.
He, along with founder of private equity firm Gaja Capital Gopal Jain and socio-political activist and columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni, spoke on “Entrepreneurship and Nation Building – the threads that bind the two” at the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The discussion, moderated by Rajni Bakshi, a Gandhi Peace Fellow at Gateway House and a Mumbai-based author, was organised by Jagriti Yatra, an arm of NGO Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, which promotes entrepreneurship.
“India needs to evolve. It needs to respect its first generation entrepreneurs,” said Biyani.
“If every citizen spends Rs 2,000 extra every month, it will increase the country’s GDP,” he said, adding that the trick was to identify the customers’ needs and invest in innovations catering to that effect.
While talking on consumption in the Indian context, Biyani said greed, fear and ego led to it. “Consumption is nothing, but a passtime. People want to kill time and that is what gives rise to consumption,” he said. In his opinion, consumption led to job creations and resulted in development, which again gave rise to consumption. “So it is a cycle,” he added.
Jain said as a country, which is the oldest civilisation, his thoughts also pointed at innovation and entrepreneurship as means for nation building.
“There should be enterprise-driven socialism and we need to redefine consumption,” Kulkarni said, while adding that the country’s economy should revolve around the wisdom of culture.
While praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “Swachch Bharat Abhiyan” agenda, he said it was everybody’s responsibility. “Entrepreneurs and people from all segments should make Cleanliness Mission 2019 a success. Clean Indian will be a gift to the father of the nation on his 150th birth anniversary,” added Kulkarni.
According to the NGO, Jagriti Yatra is an “ambitious train journey” of “discovery and transformation” that takes several youngsters, especially those from small towns and villages, on a 15-day tour of the country. “This exercise allows them to meet the role models – social and business entrepreneurs – of the country, as per the project,” NGO officials said.