'No mother tells her child, beta, entrepreneur bano'
No mother tells her child, Beta, entrepreneur banoSwati Anand, TNN, Jan 15, 2011, 05.17am ISTThe hotel where Kanwal Rekhis talk had been scheduled had a mini traffic jam of sorts, so theentrepreneurial guru calmly hopped off his car outside the hotel and walked past the chaosunnoticed. Once on the stage, the millionaire-philanthropist held the attention of the audience byinfusing self depreciating humour and frank insights. And once off it, he was mobbed like afilmstar.What is your view on the entrepreneurial scene in India today?Its wonderful! There are a large number of people whore opting for entrepreneurship today andthat tells me that attitudes of people in India are changing. No mother tells her child, "Beta,entrepreneur bano." (Son, become an entrepreneur) They still want their children to have goodjobs, get married and have children. And while there is nothing wrong with that, its important tohave budding entrepreneurs as well.Where do Indian entrepreneurs lag behind?They dont think big. Most of them aim for their companies to grow to Rs 5 crore or Rs 10 croreat best. They need to think beyond India and aim higher. The sky is the limit. There is a lot ofpotential in the smaller cities, not just the metros.What are the challenges for todays Indian entrepreneur?I dont think the Indian environment holds you back any more. In this liberalised, globalisedcountry, the market is inviting. There is plenty of funding – be it from venture capitalists, angelsand many more sources. So I dont think entrepreneurs in todays India have anything tocomplain about.Which are the sectors that have most potential?The interesting part about India is there is opportunity everywhere. There are so manyinefficiencies in the way the system functions that an entrepreneur can spot opportunities inmany of them. For instance, in the food business, about 1/3rd of the fruits and vegetables gowaste. Thats an opportunity waiting for an entrepreneur right there.
What are the lessons that Indian entrepreneurs can learn from their US counterparts?The US has a longer tradition of entrepreneurship and the heroes there are all entrepreneurs.American entrepreneurs have typically focused on the top of the pyramid – the wealthy – acrossvarious geographies.Indian entrepreneurs can focus on the bottom of the pyramid with world-class working solutionat low cost that can reach not just across the country but also other developing economies.