I still remember my first Micro-Economics combined class with University of Ottawa students and University of Toronto students – Prof. John threw the first random question, “Raise your hands for those who want to be entrepreneurs and down for those who want to be businessmen.” Half of the class was viscous with confusion, eye to eye – wink to wink, we were just enjoying the confusion collectively.
“You wanna give or just take,” he came clear this time. Out of courtesy in a walled room with young economists, most went for the ‘give’ thinking that sounds Parliamentary suitable. Then, he went on raw–point to point telling us who exactly entrepreneurs are. “What are the three things an entrepreneur needs?” – beautiful, I was waiting for the bomb. “Creativity, Will power and Information,”–just as we needed. “What about businessmen?” Emily Wright–my buddy at the side stretched it. “Money and a trend to copy,” he pleasantly shushed her.
Studies prove 90% Indian start-ups fail within 5 years of inception as per a report by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics. Another report suggested that the number of IT start-ups in the country has slumped to 800 in the first nine months of 2017 from over 6,000 in all of 2016. So, this is what Prof. John pinned, copying a trend to generate income.
And, 90% of the Indian start-ups are doing that, that’s the only reason why they fail. To put it in the simplest words – entrepreneurship is nothing but creating something new for giving something better. Since 2015, as many as 1,503 start-ups have closed down in India. The major reason is due to the replication of Western business models and not lack of subsequent funding from the investors. To give a very clear example - the number of international patents India has applied for in 2015-16 was 1,423, while Japan’s count stood at 44,235, China at 29,846 and South Korea at 14,626. Even if, India is ranking at 66th on the Global Innovation Index (GII) list, with all the belief that India can become a global driver of innovation because of its potential, talent pool and culture of innovation–still, India seems to be just looking for trends and investors to create a good cash flow.
Again, why do we still fail even with all the advent of technologies and the culture of ‘Make in India.’ Yes! All these have been getting stronger because of the continuous support from the Government and improvement in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the country. Plus, initiatives like Stand-Up India, Skill India, the Atal Innovation Mission and Start-Up India have established an ecosystem to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation for the country. But when it comes down to the drawing board it is the copy and paste system.
Now, coming back to Manipur, because of the pandemic that broke the global economy–many have flown back to their nests with start-up ideas. You must have seen the rise in advertisements and hoardings everywhere but–the big question still is hanging high with big uncertainty: entrepreneurship or business babus?
To all readers – if you have an idea that can create some change in the society but not just thicken your pockets, save it. Use all your creativity to make it as different and as unique as possible.
Use all your ability in searching for all the information required to get it going. And believe in that idea that it will work–trust me, it will again give you the required will-power. And with that will-power and belief, you will never miss any investor while you pitch your business idea. The best moment to start is the moment you think you can–too much planning gives you extra fear. Invest everything you have and everything you can–because even if you fail, you will get the lesson of any regular business walas who took 30 years to get what you got.
The writer is a major in International Business Marketing from Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada. He can be reached at [email protected]