India is witnessing a wave of a new type of entrepreneurship, says author Alan Rosling.
When one looks at the economic trajectory of India and China, the neighbhours were almost on the same page in terms of per capita GDP 25 years back (India: USD 318 and China: USD 358).
Looking at them now would make one wonder what exactly went wrong, says entrepreneur and strategic advisor Alan Rosling -- today, India per capita GDP is 1/5th of China’s.
“India is a country of paradoxes… despite having all the abilities, it doesn’t deliver on its promises,” he tells Moneycontrol in an interaction.
Rosling, a former Tata Group advisor and Tata Sons board member, is the author of the recently-launched book, Boom Country? The New Wave of Indian Enterprise, which tracks the rise of entrepreneurship in the country.
He says India is witnessing a wave of a new type of entrepreneurship. "One where the entrepreneurs didn’t have business in their DNAs but where entrepreneurial skills are being honed by their ambition to work."
What’s driving India?
India, today, is endorsing a paradigm shift in its entrepreneurial uptake. Indians are far more “risk bearers” than they were before.
“India needs business… the quality and type of entrepreneurship has changed,” he says.
Noting the positives, Rosling says that there is an abundance of opportunities along with push from the government towards startups and monetary assistance.
“India is the fastest growing economy even after demonetization… various sectors are open and technology is available,” he adds.
Further, the government has eased the way business is done in India, paving way for more businesses.
Stressing on the social change that India is observing, Rosling says that Indians have adopted “American ways” of dealing with failure.
“Lots of US attitude has come to India… it has changed the way people think,” he says.
The “optimism” to work on a startup despite the risks involved is something he attributes to the “deep relationship” India shares with the US.
Even as there is reason to be optimistic of growth of enterprise in India, Rosling says the system continues to face a threat in the form of a 'weak ecosystem'.
“The ecosystem that we need is still a long way to go,” he says, pointing to the lack of skills and innovation in Indian ideas and businesses.
“We need innovation,” he says, adding, “We don’t have in our DNA the essential need to innovate”.
The underrepresentation of women in startups and lack of courage to enter difficult sectors is something that bothers Rosling when it comes to India’s entrepreneurial future.
Looking forward to political support, Alan feels that the Indian government needs 'stability, simplicity and persistence' in policy decisions to strengthen the ecosystem.
“India is no more difficult [to do business]. Rather, it is easier than many emerging economies,” he says. “I share the optimism [around India]."
Suggesting that better infrastructure, deregulation and greater ease of doing business would help, the author says that mere policy decisions are not enough.
“The idea that somehow policies are going to support startups is not right,” he says. “The very fact that Modi is taking steps is fantastic… but with money, even the SIDBI Rs 10,000 crore fund is not fundamental… It can’t help.”
The next step is to open up universities to businesses, something he says is “missing remarkably” in India.
“Startup India is good, but it is not going to change the world… The fundamental issue is two things; one, the ease of doing business and next, the universities. We need to encourage a culture (in universities) where working with businesses is good,” he explains."Even with the boom in Indian markets and the business sector, what India needs now is a flourishing research base and training of young people to promote the growing culture of entrepreneurship."