Future of Indian Entrepreneurship

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: The history of Indian entrepreneurship is full of paradoxes ranging from heights of glory as pioneers of sea trading to the abyss of colonial freeze under British rule. Despite all odds, the fire was never extinguished from the natural genes of the Indian entrepreneur who survived to reappear whenever history accorded the opportunity. Today Indian entrepreneurs are among the most successful and respected across the globe for their grit and acumen.

The Early Phases

Before the advent of the Moguls India was known as the land of the “The Golden Bird' symbolizing the best in all forms of living due to a rich heritage of trade and commerce which has resulted in amassing of the substantial wealth in the sub continent. Even during the Mogul era trade continued though restricted with several issues of faith and finance based restrictions.


It was with the British colonization that the wheel of entrepreneurship came to a grinding halt. The government not only discontinued patronage to the industries but took extreme steps to ensure the death of the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation. This long phase of inaction due to foreign goods domination left sever scars on the psyche of the Indian business which manifested in several forms such as Babudom even after independence.

The Post Independence Scenario

The arrival of independence could not infuse much life into the business community and most of the industries stayed limited to urban areas of Calcutta, Bombay, Ahmedabad and Madras in the first decade.

Sixties: This decade saw a huge emphasis on government sponsored heavy industries without much attention to the small and medium units that some struggling entrepreneurs were desperately trying to establish. There were several small scale industries which sprouted to provide ancillary support to the large industries but more than 40 % of those turned sick within a very short span of time.


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Seventies: The licensing Raj was its peak in this decade which witnessed some initiative by the government to encourage export oriented industries as a desperate measure to enhance foreign exchange reserves. There was a miniscule improvement in the overall business environment primarily due to a host of restricting factors among which red tapism was at the top of the list.

Eighties: By now the government as well as the people had begun to realize the futility of a mixed economy on the lines of the socialist USSR which the founding fathers of our nation had envisaged. There was increased buzz in the small and medium industries sector. Partial removal of heavy import duties and prohibitive trade restrictions implied the dawn of a new era in Indian entrepreneurship.


Nineties: The economic crisis at the start of the decade called for immediate and sustained efforts to liberalize the economy. The day of the entrepreneur had arrived. The government policy to move towards a market oriented economy heralded the beginning of a new era which saw immediate success in terms of boost to national economy within the first few years. Suddenly the air was electrified with increased activity in all spheres of business and the rally was led by the small and medium industries this time.

{#PageBreak#}21st Century Entrepreneurship in India

By the start of the new century the Indian entrepreneur was ready to take on the world. Encouraged by the initial success of the nineties even the government was more than willing to lend a supporting hand to the SMEs. The availability of a large and trained workforce at competitive prices the Indian enterprise looked most challenging and soon spread tentacles across the globe. The typical Indian ingenuity in reducing costs and working harder ensured that SMEs in India could compete with MNCs on a level playing ground.

The new era also had the huge advantage in terms of easy availability of capital. The economy was growing double figures year after year. Another boon for the Indian SMEs was the arrival of service oriented business concept which was strongly backed by technological advancements which facilitated outsourcing of work overseas. The Indian Entrepreneur had truly arrived on the global scene not because of the government but despite it.


Fueling the Transformation

There have been many detailed studies and researches to ascertain the factors behind this historic rise of small and medium enterprises in Indian in short span of time. The answer lies in the fact that the entrepreneurial skills of the Indians had long been suppressed by incorrect policies and inadequate support by the government of the time. The spring was recoiled and with the slightest of opportunity it sprang into action.

The government initiated the process by easing of restrictions and making available capital required for such ventures. Simultaneously the educational set up of the nation ensured that adequate training for entrepreneurial process is available to the aspiring young Indian. The process of providing computer education which was initiated in the eighties has paid rich dividends in creating a generation of IT literate people that could carry the through transformation by harnessing the real potential of technology.

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Strengthening Entrepreneurship Spirit

Entrepreneurship strives on three pillars - finance, managerial capabilities and favorable government policies. The harmonious combination of all three factors at the beginning of the century propelled the Indian entrepreneurs to break grounds considered out of reach hitherto. The spirit of enterprise is a vital ingredient for success in entrepreneurship. In India, both the government as well as the society at large has been instrumental in fostering this spirit in the next generation.

Today the environment is conducive for venturing into new business arenas. Most of the established educational institutions are providing training facilities to hone the skills of the young to match their spirit. Major management institutions have dedicated graduate as well undergraduate programs on entrepreneurship to help build the workforce required to carry forward this legacy. Today there are dedicated entrepreneurial institutions such as the Entrepreneurship Institute in Ahmedabad which have the distinction of offering the most varied programs in the field.

A host of favorable programs and policies that help and encourage the SMEs have been instituted over the past few years which have also contributed significantly in this direction. The government has set up independent financing agencies such as the SIDBI and NABARD which provide exclusive financial assistance to the small and medium industries. Easy availability of capital with subsidies and suitable moratorium on repayment is supporting these ventures in the start up stage.


The Future of Indian Enterprise

Indian entrepreneurship is well on its path of global domination and holds the promise to aid the national economy in terms of providing employment and bringing about development in rural areas. The changed and charged environment of entrepreneurship in the country motivates many brilliant young people to opt away from fat salaries in MNCs and work in their own ventures.

Successful entrepreneurs such as Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy and Dhirubhai Ambani have inspired a whole new generation to look forward into the future with unbound hope even if they don't have influence or inheritance to back them. The Indian entrepreneur is all set to achieve new heights of success and growth in the years to come.