Starting up in India – Rank 173 out of 184

We all hear about the “Doing Business Report” ( www.doingbusiness.org ) that is released every year by the World Bank. Our country is ranked pretty low at 132 out the 184 countries that get ranked. We have also been pretty much consistent (looks like) as we have not changed from last year! Intrigued I searched to see if our neighbors are doing any better. I was surprised – Sri Lanka (81), Bangladesh (129), Nepal (108), China (91) and Pakistan (107) are all above us on the list. Some of them way above!

But what really got me saddened is the fact that on one factor considered in the study called “starting a business” – we are even worse. Especially because it related to a subject of my interest: entrepreneurship. We rank 173 out the 184 nations ranked on the list. Seemed a shame to me! With so much of talking happening at a national level on entrepreneurship and small businesses – how can we encourage our next generation to startup? Since the number of nations where starting a business is more difficult than in India are so few, I decided to look up and do some searching. Here are the names I found:

Djibouti, Haiti, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo, Rep., West Bank and Gaza, Suriname, Iraq, Côte d’Ivoire, Cambodia, Bolivia.

Except for one name ‘Cote d’Ivoire’ from where I had met and trained a few entrepreneurs as part of a UNIDO Entrepreneurship Development Program, I actually looked up to know where the others are. They are far from being considered emerging countries. So we can understand why they rank so low in the list. They need more time to become developing nations to attempt a higher rank.

But why India – Why do we need more time and how much more time? Many of our smaller and larger neighbors are all ranked higher even here: Sri Lanka (33), Bangladesh (95), Nepal (105), China (151) and Pakistan (98) Even some of the world’s poorest nations are ranked higher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita ).

In recent times the amount of entrepreneurial activity has increased. This is a very positive sign. In my workshops on business modeling and planning I am seeing a lot more serious participation from aspiring minds. It’s time we bucked up and accelerated our efforts in building a more conducive ecosystem for early stage activity. Though sporadic efforts are taking place (some of which are also very intense) – a higher degree of coordination is needed to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

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