Small is the Next Big

I  was recently invited to lead a few sessions on “Internationalization strategies” hosted by Asia david-and-goliath-sumos22Pacific Incubation Network (APIN). The workshop had participants from around ten countries from the ASPAC region. Through my interactions with this group over two days, I noticed few differences between the entrepreneurs from India and those from smaller economies, like Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia etc

  • Most of the Indian start-ups had interesting technologies but lacked scale. Most of the start-ups from the nations mentioned above had equally interesting products (in some cases less technical), but had achieved much larger scale.
  • The presentations made by the various entrepreneurs from the other countries seem to have much higher levels of energy and enthusiasm when compared to our domestic entrepreneurs

Are the above two seemingly disparate observations connected? When I left the conference I had these questions that just refused to go away:

  1. Is energy and enthusiasm of the entrepreneur a reflection of success? Or a reason for it?
  2. Why is it that these start-ups from much smaller economies manage to scale faster and bigger in their domestic market in comparison to India?
  3. While the whole world claims India to be a great market – why is it that entrepreneurs who scale in India are far and few?
  4. Are our entrepreneurs too protective with respect to failure that they don’t allow themselves the risk of success?

I was excited that I got to meet so many energetic and enthusiastic entrepreneurs from so many Asian countries. I am sure this is the beginning of my active interaction with the entrepreneurs as well as the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Asia Pacific region. Isn’t being entrepreneurial the whole reason for being in entrepreneurship?

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