Why should we in India (or for that matter anyone) think of being an entrepreneur? Why not work as part of a larger organisation where the opportunities and resources to scale ideas out are perhaps far greater? Why take on the risk of failure? What about personal security? All of these are valid questions that any person considering the path of entrepreneurship will and should ask.
I believe entrepreneurship is important for two reasons. One, it furthers innovation and state-of-the-art. Two, it offers far greater opportunities for wealth creation than anything else. Let us delve into both of these areas in greater detail.
History has shown that most breakthroughs emerge into the marketplace from entrepreneurs who are willing to bet it all on the belief that their idea can change the world. It does require that entrepreneur or an acquiring company to then build out the organisation to roll out the idea. Innovation is what furthers progress especially, disruptive innovations which open up new markets and bring in new customers.
India is at a fascinating juncture. As it grows, a wide variety of opportunities open up. From telecom to retail, from software to restaurants, from airlines to coffee shops the old way of doing things is giving way to new possibilities. This is probably like being in America in the early part of the 20th century or in China in the 1990s. Things are changing. As incomes grow, so do desires and needs. Entrepreneurs can bring with their ideas to bridge the gaps.
The same is true even in technology. A number of disruptions are changing the old order. Different industries are converging. Some industries are being fragmented. By looking at India first, Indian entrepreneurs can leverage a market close to them and then take their solutions to international markets especially the emerging nations.
The opportunity in India is for real. What will the mix of cheaper computers, more mobiles and next-generation networks mean for business, media, entertainment, education, healthcare, governance? Put on the thinking caps!
The second reason for entrepreneurship is perhaps more profound. Entrepreneurial companies offer the greatest opportunity for wealth creation. Creating and sharing wealth can enable entrepreneurs to do what Indias government has failed to do since Independence things like transforming education and rural India. We dont need to worry about leaving money for the next-generation wealth should be an instrument for bringing the revolutions to build the new India.
Yes, entrepreneurship has its challenges. Only a few get the rewards as others struggle and fail. It is about luck as much as it is about smartness. But then, thats true about life, too. We have choices at every stage. Entrepreneurship does entail some sacrifice, but the personal and societal benefits are worth it. Even if one doesnt want to go the whole hog, think of doing the next best thing — joining entrepreneurs and building teams which want to change the world!