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Start Up India

Startups now play a key role in defining new age business models, creating newer avenues and generating employment — making the space important to watch

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The spirit of entrepreneurship is changing the way India was looked at a few years ago. With startups in the whirl of the winds of change, using technology as an enabler — India seems poised to be a star among the world’s emerging economies. After decades of slow growth and government control, India’s young entrepreneurs have opportunities presented by new policies and disruptive technologies. With over 4,200 technology startups and many more emerging each day, India is the third largest hub for startups globally, and could be the largest one day. The entrepreneurship culture in India is not just paving the way for the future, it is a step towards a great business ecosystem.

In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage from being a job seeker to becoming a job creator but the promise of wealth in the long run, freedom to choose own path, doing things one is deeply passionate about and finding fulfilment are major drivers. When I look back at my decision to quit my job, I recall that I always had entrepreneurial ambitions so giving up the relative stability of my job was actually not a big deal. I think what made the decision easier was the fact that I was convinced that this was the right time to try my hand at entrepreneurship and that after this it would only become more difficult to take the plunge. Today, the scope and variety of self-generated work is unlimited.

Startups now play a key role in defining new age business models, creating newer avenues and generating employment — making the space important to watch. Opportunities in various sectors and lack of solutions in some, have created new business prospects and are driving young people to pursue their ideas and passions. India is still a tough place to be an entrepreneur in. Entrepreneurs should be prepared for early issues, such as starting problems, funding and having the right team in place. In our journey too, we faced funding and market-related challenges. Our early investors withdrew after half the promised funding and the travel sector itself was impacted with crises like 9/11 and SARS. Fortunately, the core team was tightly-knit with shared values and vision, which helped us tide over some really tough times. Conviction is truly half the game won.

Startups also face various infrastructural challenges which hinder the business setup and take up a lot of crucial time. Infrastructure like easy availability of plug-and-play office space, easy access for staff via public transport, high speed Internet, electricity, security for women leaving office at late hours are some of the other challenges that startups face. These issues, while seemingly small, consume a lot of time which an entrepreneur would have otherwise spent on aspects that are core to the business. Effective solutions to counter such challenges will go a long way in helping startups bring efficiencies to their businesses.

Plan your fund-raising right. A stint with the corporate world before starting your own firm would be beneficial and would provide the right amount of exposure and foundation. Always keep a buffer of cash or line of credit you can dip into when times are tough. Get the team right — it is the single most important determinant for success. Everything else can, and will change! Build a healthy and honest culture. Last, but most important, focus on solving real customer problems, rather than be fixated on an exit. An entrepreneur in India needs the patience of a marathon runner, along with the agility of a gymnast!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Deep Kalra

The author is founder & group CEO, Makemytrip

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