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World Entrepreneurs’ Day: Start-Up Founders Share Their Growth Mantras

A favourable business environment, simplified regulations and collaborative platforms for knowledge exchange and mentorship—that’s what founders wish for on World Entrepreneurs’ Day

World Entrepreneurs’ Day: Start-Up Founders Share Their Growth Mantras
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POSTED ON August 21, 2023 3:15 PM

There is a wonderful sloka from the Bhagavad Gita that reads… 
यथा ह्येकेन चक्रेण न रथस्य गतिर्भवेत्। 
एवं परुषकारेण विना दैवं न सिद्ध्यति।। 

Loosely translated, it means, “Just like a chariot cannot move on one wheel, we cannot change or attain our destiny without hard work and effort.” 

This verse presents a profound analogy between a chariot's movement and human destiny, which hinges on the combination of hard work and effort. This timeless wisdom resonates with India’s entrepreneurial setup, which has been booming in recent times.  

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor India Report for FY 21–22 noted that India's entrepreneurial activity grew by 14.4 per cent in 2021. A LinkedIn survey in 2021 found a 10 per cent growth in members with the title 'founder' or 'co-founder' on their profiles on the platform.  

As the world celebrates Entrepreneurs’ Day, India now stands as the third-largest global hub for startups, boasting 107 unicorns worth $340.79 billion collectively. The number is projected to grow to 250 by 2025 according to The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022. This is courtesy dreamers, risk-takers, and innovators, whose entrepreneurial sojourn is often a tapestry woven with innovation, determination, and an unyielding pursuit of impact.  

Entrepreneurs have emerged as the driving force behind progress, pushing boundaries and redefining possibilities, especially in the start-up ecosystem, where they constantly have to put their shoulder to the wheel. 

Celebrating Entrepreneurs  

August 21 is celebrated globally as World Entrepreneurs' Day as a hat tip to the indomitable spirit of founders. In the start-up domain, these individuals are often portrayed as hustling workaholics devoted to their business, often excluding everything else.  

Dilip Modi, founder of fintech Spice Money, recalls that when he embarked on his entrepreneurial journey almost three decades ago, he envisioned technology as a force capable of reshaping landscapes, transcending boundaries, and serving as a key enabler for achieving inclusive growth.  

Modi says, “Through diverse endeavours, I've discovered that entrepreneurship's true power lies in empowering and driving meaningful change beyond mere profits. My journey emphasises that an entrepreneur's legacy isn't measured solely in personal gains but in the positive impact on individuals, communities, and the larger society.” 

Dilip Modi, founder of Spice Money
Dilip Modi, founder of Spice Money

Entrepreneurs have emerged as the driving force behind progress, pushing boundaries and redefining possibilities, especially in the start-up ecosystem, where they constantly have to put their shoulder to the wheel.  

Rahul Pagidipati, CEO of crypto exchange ZebPay, adds that entrepreneurs who push boundaries and redefine possibilities showcase remarkable resourcefulness and creativity. “This synergy between innovation and entrepreneurship is exemplified in the crypto world, where the convergence of technology and entrepreneurship is evident. The potential of blockchain and crypto to revolutionise financial systems and foster global financial inclusion highlights the transformative power of entrepreneurship in shaping industries and economies,” he notes. 

World Entrepreneurs' Day also demonstrates the spirit of innovation. Avinash Shekhar, CEO and founder of TaxNodes, emphasises that it underlines how anyone can embark on an entrepreneurial journey, regardless of age or conventional expectations. All they need is the ability to face the curveballs that will undoubtedly come their way. 

“Just as every entrepreneur faces challenges, we've navigated the complexities of taxation to simplify and empower. This day applauds accomplishments and the inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who choose a unique road. As we celebrate, let's recognise how the entrepreneurial spirit when embraced, can reshape lives and make a lasting impact,” he adds.  

Facing Challenges As Entrepreneurs  

World Entrepreneurs' Day is also the perfect opportunity to highlight the myriad challenges confronting startup founders in India in contemporary times. Dr Somdutta Singh, founder and CEO of Assiduus Global Inc., recalls how she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey when she had no compass to guide her path.  

“I have shaped and carved my own path. In my reckoning, the cornerstone of venturing into new horizons has been my self-assurance, confidence, and conviction in my thoughts, aspirations, destination, and direction,” she notes. 

Rahul Pagidipati, CEO of crypto exchange ZebPay
Rahul Pagidipati, CEO of crypto exchange ZebPay

This approach underscores the importance of self-assurance, confidence, and conviction when venturing into new horizons, which founders identify when interacting with their peers. This resonates with the Bhagavad Gita's teaching that one’s inner voice propels us with momentum even in the face of challenges.  

Param Bhargava, Co-Founder of TAC- The Ayurveda Company, notes that the landscape is dynamic and demanding from evolving market trends to navigating regulations and fostering innovation. The company found entering a crowded FMCG D2C market daunting, especially since several established players were already present in the space. However, by uniquely positioning itself as a mass premium Ayurvedic brand and by committing to authenticity, it was able to break through the clutter.  

“We leveraged our deep understanding of consumer needs and preferences, paired with an innovative blend of modern science and ancient wisdom, to create products that resonate with our target audience,” Bhargava states. Overcoming these challenges requires a blend of modern science and ancient wisdom, along with a deep understanding of consumer needs.  

Giving Entrepreneurs A Leg-Up 

While it is all well to have the vision to forge ahead and innovate, founders wish they received support from stakeholders who have gone through the learning curve. Dr Singh's journey illustrates the lessons learned from every person she encounters. Adversities come with opportunities, which was particularly evident during the challenges posed by the pandemic.  

Having a network of people who have ‘been there, done that’ would help budding entrepreneurs to stay on the right course, effectively communicate with their employees and customers, and drive forward even in the face of adversity. 

While some associations do extend this support, Bhargava underscores the crucial role of government support in fostering an entrepreneur-friendly environment. Initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ provide platforms for startups to showcase their offerings and access mentoring and investment opportunities.  

Dr Somdutta Singh, founder and CEO of Assiduus Global Inc
Dr Somdutta Singh, founder and CEO of Assiduus Global Inc

A supportive ecosystem that emphasises ease of doing business, facilitates access to funding and streamlines regulatory processes is vital for founders to accelerate their growth. Bhargava notes that in terms of ease of doing business, the government's efforts in simplifying regulations, reducing bureaucratic hurdles, and digitising processes have greatly contributed to a more entrepreneur-friendly environment.

“Timely and transparent approvals, along with efficient tax frameworks, empower startups to focus on innovation and growth rather than grappling with administrative bottlenecks,” he claims.   

What is needed are more initiatives that promote skill development, innovation, and research to augment the startup ecosystem. The reason is a no-brainer—collaborative platforms that encourage knowledge exchange, mentorship, and access to global markets can broaden the horizons of startups, fostering innovation and scalability. 

Ultimately, while challenges remain in the start-up domain, the entrepreneurial spirit is resilient and adaptive. Government support, in terms of a favourable business environment, can catalyse the growth of startups and enable them to contribute more meaningfully to the nation's economy and innovation landscape. 

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