Entrepreneurship and the Great Indian Tamasha
[Guest article by Kushal Arora. Regarding the article, it is a take of commoner who aspires to be an entrepreneur one day but are clutched into "The Great Indian Tamasha" on why are we not producing the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and goes onto the state a solution for which the author thinks is simple enough to easily implement and can really bring a change in the way undergrad student community view entrepreneurship.]
India is a land of entrepreneurs and there is no questioning this well preached and worshipped fact. Every top notch company CEOs to State Premiers and Presidents visiting India does mention about the entrepreneurial capabilities of India.
There are symposiums conferences highlighting way they see India coming out to become the next big giant in building top notch companies and leading the world by providing employment opportunity to the rest of the world, but a moment of introspection, a little bit of history, a pinch of analogies and analysis, and you realize do we really expect next Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon coming out of India? So if we historically have been entrepreneurially driven society, level of education getting better by the day and being a country to boost one of the youngest and smartest(debatable but I stand by it) population, why can’t we be the country to produce the next world or at least segment dominating company?
The answer to the issue lies firstly in the social fabric of the country and moreover in the education system we comply to. The entrepreneurs, yes we are talking about those Subjjiwalas and chaiwallahs and grocery shop uncle next to your place, they aren’t entrepreneurs by choice, they were entrepreneurs by lack of employment opportunities. Struggling to find a decent job they decided to fend there life by taking up these businesses. Given a choice they surely would have opted for a comfortable job that can give them a dignified living. So taking into account the historical aspect of our entrepreneurship, it comes from the fact that our society considers taking entrepreneurship (rather as we term it doing bizzzness) as a failure on the front of securing a decent enough job (Same is the case about teaching but I will take it up independently some time).
A few of my friends quit their job and decided to venture out moving out of their hefty paying jobs right in the first year of their career and at the dinner table discussion first comment from my parents is Weren’t they employed? Shocked at the empathy of the question itself, I told them about their plans and how they were one of the bestest people from one of the bestest of Institute in the country, the thought still doesn’t sink in, still ending it up with “whatever, they shouldn’t have left their jobs”.
This is not just one of the cases this is the general mentality of the parents and so was with the parents of those friends who forcibly gave up to the wishes of their children. So what is flawed in child taking up entrepreneurship discarding jobs following the “destiny’s call” that parents and usual clichéd “India Middle Class household” is worried about. This basically comes from the basic moral fabric of child supporting parents after a certain age and this insecurity of them failing which makes our risk aversive society discourage their sons and daughters from moving out of comfort zone. (The Biography of Kishore Biyani, Chairman Future Group makes a good read touching this topic.)
Second part of my concern was regarding education system. Honestly speaking all the fuzz and talk about entrepreneurship at undergrad institutes you see is there on papers only. The students are being groomed to be dumber and to fall into place with the present job scenario. One of the most hi-tech jobs that people in tech school dream of, are regular mundane uninspiring work and that is what our higher education system is designed to do, to groom us to think less and do more, to question less and listen more. The name of even venturing out gets you skeptical cornered eye views and lambasting with “Why you want to spoil a bright career?” question. How many undergraduate institutions have a fully working active E Cell and how many startups incubating from these E cells have gone on to be successful. The issues lies in the way a student is molded into, our undergrad institutes get one of the finest brains in the world, only if they are given the freedom to think, imagine and execute there surely can be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs coming out of them. ? (There will be questions and arguments of need of E Cells at undergrad level as this is not where you want so young, inexperienced people to jump onto entrepreneurial bandwagon but one thing to note is that your mentality and perception about careers is formed at this stage only, if we don’t promote it at this level there is a little benefit of doing it at Grad level as by then people have had made their notion of career they want to be in.)
So the issue doesn’t end up with listing down the problem the motive should be take this opportunity to if not resolve, at least give some thought provoking solutions to the problems. So can we really bring on the change? Yes we can, by the support of fellow entrepreneurs, and that is the only way it can be done. Solution I feel is to have the people who have treaded this path of entrepreneurship, have matured their company to be producing enough of surplus of cash and in search of new ideas can flock to campuses meet students having some of the brilliant ideas, hire them , giving them freedom to be creative in their way in lieu of stake in the company they plan to form.
Even if they fail, the probability of which is highly reduced as they are being mentored by already successful entrepreneurs who know and understand the hiccups and challenges most first timers face, they still remains the best brain with the knowledge of what all can go wrong, superb hire for a lot of startups by better and well experienced entrepreneurs. This concept of mentorship can really give the security to lot of budding entrepreneurs to dream big and start the implementations of their ideas from the college days itself, reducing the time to market and creation of better bonded teams (Colleges are certainly a place where most of the entrepreneurial teams are formed.). This can bring into market bestest of the innovations and can give students an opportunity to take risk and nourish a dream to be the “I am the CEO….. B**ch” person.