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Brave New World
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that amidst all the controversies between the different ideologies of faith, it is the religion of entrepreneurship that has engulfed and unified the country. Stable, highly-paid jobs at bluechip companies no longer seem as attractive. Young people today want to step out and start up on their own. They want to create value, make an impact and solve a pain point.
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They are adept at taking risks, much more so than their predecessors were, and find glory in the creative freedom that the startup culture offers.
In fact, India is one of the fastest-growing and third-largest startup ecosystems in the world, after the US and the UK, says the India Startup Report 2014 by NASSCOM. What has helped is the upbeat perception and the promise of achhe din for doing business in India. And it has worked. The sentiment among entrepreneurs in India is that of optimism and hope. The Union Budget has helped in promoting the startup culture, too, with the government allocating of Rs 1,000 crore to assist new businesses and technology and Rs 2,510 crore for the government’s ‘Digital India’ programme.
Such initiatives have also boosted investors sentiments. In 2014, venture capital funding of Indian startups touched $3.86 billion, a phenomenal increase of 261 per cent from 2013, according to research firm PrivCo.
It is this backdrop that makes the Young Entrepreneur Awards even more important. The culture of entrepreneurship in the country is touching a new high, and it is only right that BW|Businessworld must celebrate this new burst of enthusiasm.
In the beginning of this year, we launched a four-month long online campaign for companies to send in their nominations. The aim was to recognise and award the top five companies in two categories — companies that were less than three years old, and companies that were between three and five years old. It was interesting to see that from a total of 124 nominations, we received around 70 per cent companies from the first category. Perhaps these companies are more tech savvy than their little older counterparts? But it certainly does tell us that there is a spurt of new businesses in India in recent years. NASSCOM also reported that there are more than 800 startups being added each year in India.
It was also interesting to see that the nominations we received are a microcosm of the entrepreneurial landscape of India. The majority of the companies participating are from the ‘hot’ sectors that have been in the news for the funding they received, or for their innovative ideas, or for bringing technology to the masses. The predominant sectors represented were e-commerce, technology, wearable technology, big data and analytics, augmented reality, education and healthcare. And these companies are not limited to the startup hubs of India — Bangalore, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. There is a fair share of these companies cropping up in tier-II and tier-III cities, too.
India is a young nation, with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group, as per the knowledge sharing portal Open Knowledge-Allianz. If India has to creatively put to use its humongous number of young, it has to become a nation of job creators, and not job seekers as perceived now. And that will be only possible if the best and the brightest continue to ride this wave of entrepreneurship.
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(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 29-06-2015)