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From Family Businesses to First-Gen Entrepreneurs – The Change in Indian Business Ecosystem

Before I begin, let me thank our Club Member Mr. Omprakash Gupta who gave me the idea to write on this topic. He suggested that I share my opinion on entrepreneurship in general when he read my blog about women entrepreneurs, and I just lapped up on the opportunity.

Entrepreneurship is a topic close to my heart, and I am proud to see the way it’s shaping in our country.

Traditionally, business in India implied family business.  Ask any person in India to name a few renowned Indian companies; the reply would invariably be Tata, Birla, Godrej, Ambani etc. Not just these few companies, most businesses from the local Kirana shops to the jewellery shops are managed by the same family, generations after generations. Everyone right from the grandfather to the youngest grandson in the family would be involved in the same business. A first-gen entrepreneur was a rare sight.

Today, the definition of Indian businesses has changed. We have many first-gen entrepreneurs who have dared to put their money and cushy jobs at stake to start their venture. Some may have failed and returned to their jobs or started something new, but a few others like Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTm, Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola,  have managed to put India’s start-up ecosystem on the global map.

So, what has brought this change?

Honestly, I cannot pinpoint on a single factor.

There are so many things that have contributed to the change in the entrepreneurial landscape.

Ease of doing business

With a number of changes taking place at the government level, it has become quite simple for the entrepreneurs to register their businesses. Today, it takes just one day to register a company. Government initiatives like Startup India that offers support to entrepreneurs and handholds them to build a better start-up ecosystem has encouraged people to take the plunge. Various steps are taken by the government to support the dreams of entrepreneurs and make things easy and accessible to them.

Better support from family, friends and relatives

The incidents of parents telling their children to take up a government job, or to become an engineer or a doctor  is known to all of us. Getting a government job was one of the major goals in the early days. The arrival of MNCs clearly changed this mindset. Parents are now open to the idea of their children working in private sectors and even startups. Family, friends, and relatives have become more supportive of the millennial mind-set. Today, no one raises an eyebrow when someone says he or she wants to leave a job and chase his/her dream. This has given a rise to increasing support for the first-gen entrepreneurs.  In fact, the first investment in the start-up usually comes from the family and relatives before angel investors; ultimately leading to the growth in entrepreneurship.

Capital to start a business

You must have heard that ‘Everything begins with an idea.’ A business also works upon an idea and it is easy to bag the investment when you have the right one. With the growing trend of start-ups, there are a growing number of incubators established even at the college level. There are various government support schemes which invest in young ideas. Interesting projects are easily backed up by angel investors who are looking to make an investment. There are a number of other ways such as approaching bank for loans or venture capitalists to ensure that you have enough capital to develop your idea and start a business with it. The ease of getting capital has encouraged the budding entrepreneurs to work upon their idea without the fear of lack of funds.

Easy networking and marketing

The thumb rule of a successful business is successful networking and marketing. You must have heard this before- the more you network and market, more are your chances of establishing a successful business.

Marketing is essential to make your product known to the masses. Family businesses did not worry about such things but today marketing is essential. Due to the familiarisation with social media, it has become a lot easier to market your products. Generational businesses are now facing threats from the tech savvy newcomers who are better at marketing and attracting audience.  

Networking gives you the platform to interact with like-minded people and grow. There are a number of networking events, mentorship programs, seminars, and workshops conducted for entrepreneurs to help them do better business. Apart from these offline events, online platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook also allow you to network with people and grow your business.

Cost-effective ways to run business

When you start a venture, you have to factor in one thing – it will take time to break even. You have to cut corners to survive in the initial days. The good news is that it is possible to save on the initial expenses. The concept of co-working spaces that provide access to everything ranging from conference rooms to free internet access at a low cost are a great option. There are a number of cafes which allow a person to sit and work for long hours, the availability of Wi-Fi at such a place adds to the ease. With the advent of e-commerce portals like Amazon and Flipkart, the need for a brick and mortar shop is removed. An online presence is all you need to carry out the business. Things have become entrepreneur-friendly in India; it’s all about leveraging them smartly.

Global exposure

Almost every millennial I know has grown up listening to success stories of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Most entrepreneurs I know have either studied or worked abroad, gained work experience, learned how things work, amassed some wealth, and came back to India to start their venture. The global exposure gives them the confidence to begin their entrepreneurial journey; they know if it fails, they have their education and work experience to fall back upon.

The gradual steps and the changing mindset of the people about entrepreneurship has brought a positive change in the startup ecosystem. If you are an entrepreneur or if you are planning to become one, let me tell you, this is the right time to take advantage of all the facilities available and become successful. With access to a number of government and private sources that can fund and back up your ventures, the present and the future of entrepreneurship, both look promising in India.

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