Byju’s has become an extraordinary story of an Indian decacorn. What started as just a good gesture to help a few friends prepare for CAT (Common Admission Test) turned into offline classes and then later transformed into an online learning app to become India’s first EdTech unicorn. Several such self-motivated individuals in India are charting out successful entrepreneurial stories and are challenging the status quo in business. These are India’s entrepreneurs - dreamers who are charged up with the desire to innovate, lead and disrupt traditional products and services.
With all the buzz around start-up success stories and unicorns, it is very natural for anyone to ponder on the question of “whether entrepreneurship is a great career option for me?”
But what is entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is all about the propensity to take risks, plan, organize, streamline and manage a new business idea in a dynamic global marketplace. Entrepreneurship is marked by job creation rather than job seeking. Entrepreneurs are independent-minded, innovative people. who are on a quest to create unique products and services. Entrepreneurship might be difficult, but it is a rewarding journey.
Only a generation ago, Indians solely focused on well-defined, tried and tested career paths. Young adults usually followed in the footsteps of their parents and opted for a secure career. Today, entrepreneurship has become one of the significant career choices being pursued by the youth because of the following reasons:
• The ambition to create and execute a business plan from scratch
• The desire to be their own boss and master of their fate
• The motivation to take risks in a changing global economy where several opportunities lie unexplored
• The aim to be financially prosperous and take their growth trajectory to unprecedented, new heights
While most of us have the talent and desire to begin something new, it needs to be understood that successful entrepreneurship is not just about pursuing novelty. It is about ideation that helps solve a pertinent issue and has a market and a customer - the potential to be sold for profit. If you have plans for joining the start-up ecosystem, perhaps you should ponder over these questions, first:
• Do you have a unique idea/concept for starting up?
• Will you be able to develop a 'people and product' network to facilitate your business objectives?
• Have you developed clear and defined processes that encompass the development, promotion and delivery of the product or service?
• Have you provisioned for funds sufficient enough for your idea to take off and ensure business sustainability until revenue generation?
If you have answered more than one of the above in the affirmative, this could mean you are on the right path to start your entrepreneur journey.
Being an entrepreneur teaches life skills, generates creativity and problem-solving skills, provides a better understanding of markets and economics, and enhances teamwork, communication, networking and brings about a never-say-die attitude. Failing at entrepreneurship is a learning experience in itself. It will not be apt to think that every entrepreneur gets rich although if one learns to persevere and counter failure, entrepreneurship could be the gateway to limitless earning potential. Most jobs have a capped salary – entrepreneurship is just the opposite.
The entrepreneurial skill set that one develops isn’t only limited to business but entrepreneurial skills are transferable to almost all spheres of life and careers. Entrepreneurs become adept at like-skills like time management, delegation, perseverance, critical analysis and much more.
Today, developed economies are moving from ‘managerial’ to ‘entrepreneurial’ economies. As an emerging economy, India is witnessing the growth of entrepreneurship like never before and is therefore ensuring that entrepreneurship is embraced as a career choice by youth. Entrepreneurial careers could be varied from being a first-time entrepreneur to a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor, a partner in a VC or PE firm, a corporate entrepreneur, an educator or a mentor.
Multiple initiatives have been launched to encourage the creation and growth of new ventures. The current government has formed a ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship; several educational institutes provide entrepreneurship courses. Many business accelerators and incubators have been set up by both the private sector and universities to mentor and coach entrepreneurs. Support in ideation and innovation competitions held by the industry helps too. College alumni are now returning to their campuses and actively involving themselves through mentoring and creating angel funds.
The current ecosystem for entrepreneurship is vibrant. Entrepreneurship is, therefore, a great way for the young generation to explore their areas of interest and career orientation.
(Monica Mehta is executive vice president, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) at Wadhwani Foundation. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Outlook Magazine.)