Entrepreneurship in India – The Second Coming?

‘Entrepreneurship’ is a word that has been blessed with perhaps one of the fastest rises to omnipotent status in our country in the last few years. A drastic penetration of smartphones and internet into the metros and most of the suburbs in the country, along with an increasing trend among the youth to shed their inhibitions of financial safety and tread their own paths, and the tenacity of the so-called ‘Angel Investors’ and ‘Venture Capitalists’ to invest in them, has fuelled the growth of innumerable ‘start-ups’ in our nation.

Today, India lies among the top countries boasting of the most number of entrepreneurial ventures and small businesses. According to a report by Business Today, there are more than 48 Mn small businesses in our country, more than double of that in the US (23 Mn). [1] Truly, to many of the youth in our country – the unemployed, the rebel, the Final Year Undergraduate, or the MBA candidate – start-ups and funding-seeking presentations have become a way of life, an attitude, rather.

Image: pixabay

Success Stories:

Take for instance the case of Varun Agarwal – an engineering college drop-out; who, at the age of 22, went on to found Alma Mater – now India’s largest merchandise provider to the students of schools and colleges. A film enthusiast from the get-go, he has also gone on to found LMF – an independent film production company, dealing in music videos, corporate advertisement films, etc. He has also co-founded a company called Reticular; and in 2012, became a published author as well; when his semi-autobiography ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty…’ struck out as a national best-seller. When it comes to college drop-outs, few better examples could be cited in the country.

And the discussion would be terribly incomplete without mention of the ‘bad boy of Indian start-ups’ – Rahul Yadav, co-founder and former CEO of Housing.com – a real-estate search portal based out of Mumbai. Rahul created a lot of ruckus during the final few days of his stay in Housing.com – with his subsequent sacking by the Board of Directors creating quite a bit of a stir in the various spheres of media. However, he is already on his way with his new project – Intelligent Interfaces, a B2B venture in automating processes. Having made the Forbes India list of “30 Under 30”, and being backed presently by the co-founders of Flipkart, Paytm and Micromax Informatics, he might just be the star of the past on whom you should keep your eye in the future.

The list would go on and on. Nischal Shetty, Naveen Selvadurai, Naveen Tiwari, and many others are harbingers of change in their respective fields of operation. And with money flowing in from organisations like SoftCorp, Tiger Global, and many others, these days all that matters is the uniqueness and feasibility of the idea, and the guts to see through its presentation and subsequent implementation. Most of these are born out of the simple concept of providing an easy solution to a ubiquitous social need.


The Indian business scene has seen extensive activity in the last few years – that has resulted in the exponential growth of towns like Gurgaon into full-fledged sophisticated cities. In fact, as stated earlier, India has shot up to the 3rd position globally in terms of the number of start-ups. The following bar graph represents the number of new companies established (2014).

Number of new limited liability companies (2014)

However, when it comes to the density of business, India still lags behind by the proverbial light year, when compared to similar economies round the globe:

New Business Density (2014)

Thus, there is still much scope for improvement, especially when it comes to Government regulations, constraints and ease of business; keeping which in mind the Indian government has facilitated the #StartupIndia plan. [4]

The Future:

The Government has looked to hasten up the process of founding new ventures, so that start-ups ‘can be formed in a day’. The main goal at the outset is to improve the outlook so as to foster the entrepreneurial zeal in the country even further, and to mobilize job avenues; by doing away with some of the qualms of the typical Indian bureaucracy and red-tapism. Some of the points of action can be singled out as:

• Legal support in patents’ filing; with opportunity of 80% reduction in the fee

• Faster patent registration

• Protection to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

• Relaxation of norms relating to finance and labour policies, which are more appropriate for larger entities

• The Atal Innovation Mission – looking to foster innovation among students still in schools and colleges; thereby making the process accessible to the grassroots level too

Thus, with huge amounts of venture capital flowing in, and the green signal for the launch pad to start-ups coming directly from the Prime Minister of India itself, the country seems to be building upon the foundation that has already been established over the last few years; and if the market trend is anything to go by, the future holds many more positives.

The Risk:

However, if there is one thing that is in common in most of the success stories, it’s the shadow of struggles and failures left behind, that actually propelled the innovators to greater heights. And that’s were experience and an incessant zeal for persevering comes in. Varun made short films after dropping out, till his first break with Alma Mater; Bhavish went against the wishes of his parents with Olacabs, after having worked with Microsoft for two years, learning the titbits of the business, and brushing up his skills; after graduating in the field from one of the most prestigious technical colleges in the country; Rahul was willing to sacrifice everything he built, to stick to his perspective. The common thread tying all of them together is the infallible drive towards success; and the intense willpower of not bucking down, even in the face of relentless opposition. Added to that is the fact that the current e-commerce industry is so relentless and competitive, that even established biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal are feeling the heat, especially with Amazon and eBay starting to push them on the edge. As such, it becomes even harder for a new venture to find a foothold in the market, and many are perishing every day, unable to cope with the crunch of available finances.


Despite all its pros and cons, it is inarguable that entrepreneurship brings that freedom and drive that many aspire and long for. And with the newer advents of livelihoods popping up every day – from Youtube series hits of TVF, to social-knowledge ventures like The Logical Indian, Unacademy, etc., the options are many. However, the availability of an extremely bright idea and the supreme quality of talent to back it up, and run with it, might be enough to make one a successful entrepreneur; but what’s really needed to keep the fire burning in the face of failure, are the learnings ferreted out of one’s experiences in the world; because, as a wise man once said, “There is no better teacher in Life than Life itself.”

This article has been authored by Diganta Sarkar from IIFT Delhi


[1] Inc.com (http://www.inc.com/rohit-arora/why-india-is-the-land-of-rising-entrepreneurship.html)

[2] Wiki – Ola (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ola_Cabs)

[3] World Bank Group (http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploretopics/entrepreneurship)

[4] The Indian Express (http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/start-up-india-what-india-inc-has-to-say-about-modis-pet-scheme/)

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