December 31, 2018
It is now quite evident that a fresh breed of entrepreneurs is playing a pivotal role in the current growth of the Indian economy. They are fearless, better informed and well skilled - presiding over an important transition period as India graduates from a country of job seekers to that of job creators. This entrepreneurial wave is a boon for India – given its huge potential for job creation as India faces the challenge of creating 10 million jobs every year to accommodate the number of new entrants to the workforce between now and 2040. It has also catalysed a more inclusive and balanced pattern of growth, one that touches greater parts of the population and is marked by innovation and overall improvement in quality of life. The current Govt. must be complimented for taking a number of steps to encourage entrepreneurs. However, a lot more remains to be done to harness the full potential that exists and establish India as a global hub for start-ups. In my opinion, we need a blend of policy changes and culture change to take entrepreneurship to the next level. From a policy angle, the Govt. must look to address the following concerns :
- Ensure easier access to low cost capital for smaller ventures/MSMEs – capital market is still geared more to serve the larger corporates
- Scrap the “angel investor tax” which has been a dampener for investments; remove post GST ambiguities; ease compliance regulations and simplify winding up of ventures
- Foster greater academia industry collaboration – allocation of more funds for R&D, set up more incubators & include innovation as part of school/college curriculum
- Encourage more women entrepreneurs – through skill development camps, mentoring, financing on easier terms and extended tax holidays
Equally, we need a cultural or mind-set shift in India. Compared to the West, we have a tendency to view failures negatively and it is this fear of failure that holds back many entrepreneurs. We must ensure the future generation understands that it is OK to fail in the course of a start-up journey – as long as you absorb the learnings and bounce back. This attitudinal shift will help increase the risk taking appetite and enable more ideas to reach fruition.