“And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”.. said William Wallace in the movie – Brave heart.
We have William Wallaces in India, who are living by this maxim and changing the face of India. They are taking that one risk, one chance – just one chance that may take away their security in terms of money and stability, but they are winning their freedom by creating a storm through their startups because that’s what brave heart entrepreneurs do!
What’s weed (with) the startup culture?
While I’m sitting in my dining room, lazily stuffing my mouth with dal (lentils) & rice, there are 10 new startups on a rise every day in India.
Right now, the startup culture in India is like weed –growing uncontrollably and instantly spreading everywhere. India’s startup boom is being empowered by young and old with an energy that is positive and exuberant. This startup weed is addictive and most people dream of trying out this new drug, that may either lead to a success high or a passing out failure.
Under the spot light
India is the third highest in the world in terms of number of start-ups in a country. India ranks after US & UK in a global ecosystem of startups, and is expected to grow to 10,500 start-ups by 2020, according to a report by NASSCOM.
You can only imagine then, the upbeat rise of startups in India.
India – Almost famous
As per business historian Gita Piramal, the period between the two World Wars and the period immediately after Independence, were marked by a lot of entrepreneurial activity with very little bureaucracy to stifle them. We have had famous and inspiring entrepreneurs from those periods whose legacies are still going strong – Tatas and Birlas are top of the mind examples. However, due to a couple factors, the pace had slowed down in India up until a few years ago, and then it got back into the zone and enthusiastically picked up speed again.
Today, there are lots of startups sprouting in every corner of the country. The startup environment has even given an opportunity to home based ventures. This has opened up doors to many people to start a business, which otherwise would not have been possible. While many credit the success of a startup culture to the economic policies of early 90s, the dynamic shift has also happened because of factors related to cultural, economic and social factors in India.
In the past ten years or so the cost of starting a business has reduced, rewards have increased and people are more than willing to take risks.
Save for a startup day
How have we suddenly become such audacious risk takers? What has encouraged people in India to have the courage to start on their own? The education and the corporate job scenes in India have tremendously improved. Many people start their career with a corporate job that helps them build a bank balance and gives them a certainty. They, then move out to start on their own. This guarantees a secure saving for the future to fall back on.
There are many educational centers that have courses around entrepreneurship that helps shape an individual and supports the startup culture. Another important social change that has led to the sudden rise is the double income families -where both the spouses are working. It gives an individual the luxury of taking a risk. Indian families today are more open than before with the startup culture and are supporting their children financially and emotionally, building more confidence in the new age startup community.
India – a nation of entrepreneurs
The advancement in technology, better availability of funds, better government policies and schemes, upgraded communication channels, change in attitude about failure , better financial security and better career options have skyrocketed the startup culture in India.
Let’s look at major factors that have really fuelled the startup scene in India:
- The magic of technology
Traditionally, to start a company required buying servers, a lot of licenses and more. However, with the introduction of revolutionary technology over the past few years have made the process of starting a business more effective and less expensive. The advancement of technology has given individuals the freedom to follow their ideas. Doing business has become extremely simple and clear. It has opened the door to many profitable opportunities.
Communication plays a remarkable role in the growth of a startup ecosystem. With the advent of superior communication channels like video conferencing, tele-conferencing, internet calls, smart phones etc; the startup scene has propagated itself in India. Communication channels have helped in reducing the dependency on a physical space, thereby bringing down the cost and making it convenient to start a company. A person may be anywhere and yet have the transparency with his/her clients or team. Communication has made work fluid for entrepreneurs.
- Co working space
Rise in self employment has given rise to co working spaces. Co working spaces are a great support for founders who are in the initial stage of building a company. An entrepreneur no longer has to invest in buying an office space. S(he) can work from a co working space till such time as S(he) is capable of getting their own space, thereby reducing the initial cost. Co-working spaces also help in creating an eco-system of sorts, where people collaborate and sincerely help each other to scale up.
Better financing avenues & incubation
Today, there are more number of investors who are aligned to the startup scene in India. There are several large companies, foreign investors, individual investors and judiciaries who are looking at investing in startups and giving the startup culture a boost. Crowd funding is another avenue that is assisting entrepreneurs scale up. In the past couple of years, India has created experienced mentors and incubators that are helping change the fabric of Indian startups.
There are government schemes to encourage entrepreneurship culture and empower entrepreneurs. Initiatives like ‘Start up India’ campaign aims to create start-ups in all districts and blocks around the country. There are funding options, loan options and incubation provided by the government that is helping re-define the startup rituals in India. It is uplifting the startup scene in rural and urban areas.
With the focus being on digitization, a lot of campaigns have made the consumers across both, urban and rural India more aware about digitization. People in rural areas are also more comfortable with technology and are coming up with many innovative projects. The increased penetration of internet in urban and rural areas has resulted in opportunities for technology driven startups.
And as Wallace would have said – “In the Year Of 2018, Patriots of India, entrepreneurs & founders, as they are called, are forming a tribe of their own. They are charged up, they are fighting like warriors and creating a culture of startups like poets – they are winning, failing and changing the landscape of India.”
The story of India is in the midst of an interesting transformation. A growing entrepreneurship culture, a supportive government, and a growing availability of investors is redefining India, the world’s biggest democracy and this India is poised for a paradigm shift. You clearly don’t want to miss out on this movie.
by Gauri Palekar