Entrepreneurial India

The Economic Times on Sunday led with a story by Chandralekha Roy on how Indians are becoming entrepreneurial. It featured a few quotes about and by me:

There was a brief period of time when we thought the New Economy had taken risk out of risk. The Net boom spawned so many wildly successful new companies that entrepreneur was no longer a euphemism for trying something small and insignificant that will probably fail because she couldnt get a job with Goldman or McKinsey.

The trickle effect is that the downside of entrepreneurship has improved along with the upside – and this change is probably permanent. Indeed, if anything the boom has educated a lot of people on the meaning of the word.

A colleague remembers the heady days chronicling the boom. At that time, he says, there were all these people one interviewed whose theme was we were just ordinary office guys like you and then when we woke up and read about the IndiaWorld deal and I thought I had to get out and do my own thing.

When Rajesh Jain sold IndiaWorld to Sify for over $100million it was catalyst of sorts. Till then mega money-deals only happened to the global Indian. Think Sabeer Bhatia.

What Jains deal actually did was to tell people in India that one could be a success in ones backyard. Once the preserve of the NRI population, Indian entrepreneurship at home could be just as robust as it was abroad.

As Jain says today:Entrepreneurship cant be a profession, just as money cant be the driver. Those who are in the short-term, with the motivation of only making money dont necessarily fail, but are likely to.

He also agrees that todays entrepreneurial model does not start with a picture of the business to be created, but of the customer for whom the business is to be created.

My quotes are not completely in context and make little sense by themselves. If you are interested in Entrepreneurship (now is as good a time as any), it may help to read some of the articles I have written:

An Entrepreneur’s Attributes (Nov 2003)
An Entrepreneur’s Early Days (Sep 2003)
Reflections on Ideas and Entrepreneurship (Jul 2003)
Entrepreneur’s Enigmas (Jan 2003)
The Entrepreneur’s Delights (Sep 2002)
Life as an Entrepreneur (Oct 2001)
Leadership Lessons from Lagaan (Aug 2001)
Entrepreneurial Learnings (July 2001)
Entrepreneurship (Mar 2001)

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.