Any time is a good time to start a company
“Follow your dreams, money will follow”, “Rise and do the grind”, and more. Motivating start-up quotes are everywhere. They scream from status updates, coffee mugs to Instagram feeds. They are powerful lines and they should be, because everyone wants to feel excited about what they are doing and creating. Millennials have been told and taught that if you are working hard, it will deliver results. And leaving your job to follow your own dream through a startup is a seductive idea.
Although 90% of startups fail, what exactly draws today’s talent to the startup light? And how can you navigate your success when you finally get there?
The reasons that attract the masses towards startups are the varied learning scope, a good job title and lack of rigid process, may be. However, it is a double-edged sword. Imagine last month your biggest decision was cheese burst pizza or rajma chawal (always RC) and now an entire company expects you to take decision regarding novel ideas like a seasoned CTO. Your designation and responsibilities are as varied from recruiting, business development, operations, finance, marketing and what not. That’s what the magical world of startup carries.
As magical and divine it is, it can act as the backbone for an economy. That’s why numerous nations are trying everything they can to support these dreams of the young ones. India, is not far behind.
The government of India launched the startup India campaign to solve the problem of India’s younger generation who despite being talented and skilled are dependent on various types of jobs and remain under-employed. The joint initiative by Ministry of HRD and Department of science to set-up 75 startup hubs in IITs, NITs and NIPERs was the first step. In the past 5 years, many schemes and plans have been launched to increase the country’s index of ‘Ease of doing businesses.’
Why now though? To be honest, the startup-friendly environment in India should have been created a decade ago but better late than never. It can bring huge changes in a country like India because its demographic dividend is conducive to startups with high potential. India being the youngest nation in the world and its huge overall population supports the creative thinking required and a large market for sellers.
But let’s just get to the ground and see. Are we doing enough? Despite the support and initiatives by the government, startups are still facing many problems. The major challenges being the parameters of the ‘Ease of doing business’ set up by the government, corruption and lack of skilled labor. These are the issues that a startup has to fight after it is conceived, but there are bigger problems. As you know, you can’t create something out of nothing, even startups have the same issue. The difficulty any startup has to face to access credit, kills it before it can be given a chance. Despite the commitment, banks are reluctant to invest in anything that is not foolproof. If we come back to the issue of lack of skilled labor in India, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has been mandated to skill 150 million Indians by 2022. You can understand the dire need of training our ‘huge young workforce’ requires.
Failures are not always met with encouraging advice in most cases. People are generally sensitive when it comes to risks and rewards and the Indian economy which is highly price sensitive, worsens the situation. The right kind of mentorship is not available. Required mentorship and skill enhancement may not be accessible in all the cases. So, even when someone has the potential to start something and may be that idea is revolutionary, however, if that doesn’t meet the right guidance to turn into a successful business then, that idea remains irrelevant. The diverse and huge demographics makes it really hard to capture the consumer’s mindset in the Indian Market. Literally after every 50 km, one can find change in taste, traditions, and consumer habits. Even if a firm is able to capture consumers, it cannot cater to all of their varied needs. Most startups fall short in figuring out strategies and eventually, shut down. Location is another hurdle. Location depends on investment activities. Startup India has also formed a relationship with TravTech Ventures, a nonprofit educational organization that is establishing a platform for collaborative innovation between American, Israeli, and Indian students to launch start-ups.
Let’s not get negative. In the last 3 years, there has been increase in startups in many varied areas like retail, food delivery, e-commerce, consulting, commerce, medical services, fitness among others. On an average, 900 startups are born every year. They are evolving in terms of product capabilities, networking, taking calculated risks venturing into new spaces.
Delhi NCR and Bangalore have the highest number of startups because of economic activities in both cities. Cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Chennai, Jodhpur are witnessing increasing startup activities. Startups like Zo rooms are conceived in small cities like Jodhpur. Southern states like Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have shown results in terms of their policy implementations for supporting startups. Schemes like ‘Kerala IT Mission’, ‘T-Hub’ by Telangana, ‘Initial Innovation Fund’ by Andhra Pradesh, ‘Startup Oasis’ by Rajasthan have all helped these Tier-2 cities in developing the ecosystem required for a startup.
Investors like “Soft Bank”, with its headquarters in Japan is considered as the backbone for the foreign investment that is flowing into India for startups specifically. It has already invested close to US$ 2 billion into Indian startups. It’s not just Soft Bank who felt the upcoming wave of startups in India. Companies like Google also are providing launch pads for the Indian startups that are worth investing. Oracle has announced the launch of 9 incubation centers in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum and Vijayawada.
At the end of the day, startups have their own rewards and challenges one should know about before entering the arena. However, there are numerous ways to learn, grow, and give back to the company where work doesn’t feel like work. Even I wouldn’t take a single day break. Would you?
WRITTEN BY : ANIKET