Doing Business Rankings: India moves up again

The Doing Business 2019 report and rankings are out and India has had yet another spectacular rise in her performance and rankings. Here is the way to read the Doing Business 2019 Report — http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/doingbusiness

It has been a spectacular ride for India over the last two years. For a second year in a row, India remains a top upward mover in the popular “Doing Business Rankings” published by the World Bank. We are also the only country to be on the top 10 improvers for the year, for a second consecutive time. See the move in ranks over the past 3 years:

India’s Rank in 2017 – 130

India’s Rank in 2018 – 100

India’s Rank in 2019 – 77

A brief overview of India’s profile as per the report: http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/india

While we are doing well on the overall “ease of doing business” ranking and scores, there are places where we need significant changes and improvement, especially for creating a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  • We are still ranked 137 in starting a business (not great news for entrepreneurs)
  • We are still ranked 166 in registering a property
  • We are still ranked 121 in paying taxes
  • We are still ranked 163 in enforcing contracts
  • We are still ranked 108 in resolving insolvency (again, not great news for entrepreneurs)

If all of us put our minds and hearts together we can address these specific areas of weakness and move up even further in the rankings. Exciting times, to say the least! With all the complexities and challenges, it is still getting better to be an entrepreneur in India.

Explore India!

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A visit to Tromso to discuss Industry-Academia linkages

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Design Thinking Lab activity at the University of Tromso (high up north in the Arctic), Norway. About 30 of us spent two hours thinking deeply about a challenge that is widely acknowledged — reducing the chasm between research (happening in Universities) and practice (happening within industries). The event was part of a research project to identify how to make this work.

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All of us working together at the Design Thinking Lab. Photo Courtesy: Prof Rasmussen

The workshop was fun and facilitated by a pair of young entrepreneurs who run Design Thinking workshops for students and corporations. We sat in what they called, “The DTLab” – a space created for such activities.

The group was wonderful with two-thirds of the participants from industry and the remaining third from academia (of which I was a part). It was fun with a lot of productive outcomes. At the end it seemed to me that both sides (university and industry) were equally interested in closing this gap, and one of the biggest challenges was — lack of regular interactions to build solutions. Both sides agreed to implement at least one idea (of the many ideas we came up with). I am sure this will yield results.

When I first visited Bodo, I thought it was quite up north. But after I traveled further to Tromso, I realized I was pretty wrong! Some of my colleagues in the meeting actually traveled south for it 🙂 So there is a great world left to explore – high north! In any case, it was my first visit to Tromso – a historic city in the Arctic . It has been and also is, an important city to begin exploring the Arctic region.

I understand that it is geographically well suited to view both the “Northern Lights” (Aurora Borealis) and the “Midnight Sun” – two amazing natural phenomena happening in the Arctic.

We walked around the city center a little in the evening and visited some popular bars and restaurants. It was scenic and enjoyable looking at the fjords, the sea and the mountains. I now look forward to my next trip in the “High North”.

Thirteenth Biennial Conference on Entrepreneurship

Happy to share that the 13th edition of the Biennial Conference on Entrepreneurship is scheduled to take place between 20 – 22 February 2019 at The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad. I started attending the Biennial Conferences during its 10th edition and have been a regular since. It is probably the largest gathering of researchers, academicians, practitioners and policymakers in India. Apart from this the conference also hosts number of foreign delegates making it a truly international conference. The themes of the conference gives an idea of the breadth of topics you can see papers on. The last edition I remember we had close to 150 papers scheduled for presentation. cropped-Logo-for-Website-2-1

This year, the conference also has a dedicated conference website – http://conference.ediindia.org/ and here is the call for papers (abstracts due by 26th October 2018) – http://conference.ediindia.org/announcement/

Hope to see many of you, entrepreneurship enthusiasts, at the conference in Feb’19.

Note: Unfortunately the Biennial (and I) will miss Prof Dwijendra Tripathi in the coming edition. He who designed and set in motion the Biennial Conferences passed into history earlier this month. But all those who get together will make sure the conference lives up to the standards he set.

Accelerator Papers in AOM 2018

When I started my research in 2015 on accelerators, there were very few scholars AOM2018working on it and hardly a handful of papers published on the phenomenon. In the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) 2017 there were probably three papers on the topic. My BCERC 2017 presentation was received well and provided good feedback. My conference paper was developed and eventually published  in the Journal of Business Venturing — you can read it here: Accelerating strategic fit or venture emergence: Different paths adopted by corporate accelerators

Hence I was quite excited when I saw a tweet from Susan Cohen (an early scholar on the topic) that there were 10 papers in this year’s Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM). Quite an increase in a short span of two years! In fact I was happy to see that there were 9 papers and one symposium too. The symposium will have 5 additional papers — thereby taking the total count of presentations on accelerators to 14. Here is the list of papers with links to them.

Link to Papers (nine in all)

  1. Variance Decomposing of Accelerator and Cohort Effects Among London Startups — https://journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.80
  2. Pace Yourself?: A Model of Varied Entrainment Responses in a Seed Accelerator — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.11158abstract

  3. How inter-organizational relationships shape innovation in business accelerators — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.11488abstract

  4. Entrepreneurial Acceleration: Exploring Accelerator Programs — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.12509abstract

  5. Enhancing Human Capital with Social Capital via Entrepreneurial Learning in a Start-up Accelerator — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.12722abstract

  6. High Growth, Innovation, and Business Accelerators:Differences Between Women- and Men-led Ventures — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.13720abstract

  7. A Conceptual Examination Of Corporate Accelerators Versus Traditional Corporate Venturing Programs — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.14591abstract

  8. The ‘Give and take’ of Mentorship Processes within Accelerators — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.15669abstract

  9. Social Ventures, Impact Accelerators And Endorsement Signals: The Moderating Effect of Gender — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.16786abstract

Link to Symposium (with five presentations)

  1. Business Accelerators and the Development of Early-Stage Ventures — https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.17606symposium

I am not attending the AOM 2018. But I hope to hear and learn from friends who attend the AOM. Exciting times for people researching entrepreneurship support and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

My First FT50 Publication

I am happy to share that my first FT50 journal publication just got online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883902617308376

My paper (co-authored with Dean A Shepherd) is published in The Journal of Business JBVVenturing (popularly called JBV). JBV is widely accepted as the top entrepreneurship journal in the world. It is one of the top 50 journals in management too (an FT50 journal).

What is a FT50 journal? The Financial Times (FT) List of 50 Journals, popularly called “FT50” is considered the top journals in business and management. Publishing in them is considered prestigious. They are used to evaluate the research contributions while arriving at the top business school ranking. It is therefore not surprising that getting published in them is highly competitive and extremely rigorous. Here is a present list of the top 50 journals (FT50) – https://www.ft.com/content/3405a512-5cbb-11e1-8f1f-00144feabdc0 

Hope to write more FT50s 🙂

At least we don’t ask “Should we?”

Business Plans are an important and highly debated artefact in entrepreneurship. Since I teach and research this subject, I get asked this very often. I am one who believes that “planning” is more important than “plans” and have advocated this to all my students. There are enough opinions for and against writing business plans, but I think this article caught my fancy. The main message is — don’t plan early; don’t plan for too long; and keep planning alongside other activities.

Link: https://hbr.org/2018/05/when-should-entrepreneurs-write-their-business-plans?

I liked this article for a few reasons:

  • It moves beyond the “should we?” debate
  • It is a research based work and not an opinion
  • It shows that it pays to plan
  • It shows the pros and cons of planning for entrepreneurs

I think entrepreneurs must read the article. More importantly I think entrepreneurship educators must read this article.

Hope you enjoy reading it.

I am a Fellow in Entrepreneurship

What?

Thats what my friend asked me when I told him that!! 🙂

Here is my rather boring explanation: Fellow Program in Management (FPM) is a doctoral level program offered by various institutes in India. The FPM is an All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved four year doctoral program. When you complete the program successfully – which includes coursework, thesis and viva-voce/defence; you become a “Fellow”. The Indian Institutes of Management have been a pioneer in granting this title. In recent times many other institutes have been offered permission to run these programs. Note: All FPMs being offered are not AICTE approved. Kindly check.

Since I recently completed my FPM from The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), Ahmedabad, I am now officially a “Fellow” of the institute. Prof. Sunil Shukla (Director, EDII) was my research guide. Prof. Amit Dwivedi and Prof. Lalit Sharma (Faculty Members, EDII) were my thesis advisory committee members. Prof. Sasi Misra (Institute Professor, EDII) was my FPM Executive Committee Chair. Prof Mathew Manimala (earlier Professor, IIM Bangalore) was my examiner for the final viva-voce. Raj FPM Viva PhotoCompleting my FPM in front of an august group of Indian researchers, was both an honour and privilege. The photo on the right is a happy memory captured after the defence and viva-voce with my Thesis Examination Committee (the five people who sat in my viva-voce).

EDII was the first institute to start a FPM (doctoral level program) in entrepreneurship in 2014. Since the institute’s FPM is focussed only on entrepreneurship, I think I can tell people that I am now officially a “Fellow” in Entrepreneurship.

My thesis was titled “Corporate Accelerators: A grounded study of motives, manifestations and measures”. I have a couple of papers based on my thesis under review in “Top Tier Academic Journals in Entrepreneurship”.

Thanks to all of you who helped me go through this long and arduous journey. I am now ready for a career in academics.