Startup Schemes to watch

In India the biggest challenge for startups today is not ‘starting up’ but knowing how to keep themselves abreast of whats happening in the ecosystem. There is so much happening all over the place that we tend to get lost. With the government launching a number of schemes to help startups and entrepreneurs, it only gets even more difficult. Hence any compilation of such lists is useful. I found here: Here is a list to 50 such schemes.

Policy initiatives and resulting schemes are useful for startups. They help during the tough early days of a startup. So don’t miss reading this and make maximum use of whichever you can.

Happy Reading and Happy Using!!

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Talk at GIC – an entrepreneurial ecosystem

I was invited to speak last Friday at Gujarat Technological University (GTU) Innovation 1_JULY_EVENT_2-2Council. They are popularly known as GIC. It was fantastic knowing everyone there. Right from the time I was connected by their Director, the faculty and students running the centre stayed in touch with me, coordinated with a hitch and ensured that I was put back in the cab safely.

Their hospitality was amazing!

Their energy was amazing!

Their curiosity was amazing!

Their culture was amazing!

It is rare to see such an entrepreneurial culture anywhere in India. So I was curious to know how they managed to create it. While they did tell me about the autonomy, the handling of exceptions, the leadership and many others, according to me it is the faith that Mr Hiranmay put in the students. The entire place is run and managed by students. I have always believed that teachers must empower students and be there only to protect them when things go wrong. I saw one man do it. AND I saw the many students there live up to the expectations. (The poster on top was also created by one student)

Their responsibility impressed and inspired me!

Their maturity and professionalism blew me away!

For those who don’t know – these are kids doing their engineering (mostly in their second year). My salute to them. I came away inspired, energised, and reinvigorated. I hope I have added some steam to their already existing momentum too.

Post the talk I was interacting with a couple of startups housed there. We spent almost an hour and at least a couple left with action items for innovation and improvements. I hope they find their solutions and scale up. The startups posed specific challenges and were willing to listen to suggestions (solutions) from a variety of angles.

Overall it was an evening well spent (i think i must say – invested). I will be ever ready to go there whenever possible for I believe this is a classic case of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the making!

My wishes and prayers are with these kids for them to live their dreams and their capabilities.

My article on Management INK

Most academics agree that their research reaches less people than it deserves. One of the reasons is that academic articles are not shared widely on social media. SAGE has created an interesting initiative called ‘Management INK’. It is a blog that shares interesting academic articles from the vast range of SAGE Journals. The editorial staff present a short review, and indicate its potential. I have been following this blog and enjoyed identifying useful articles.

Happy to share that ‘Management INK’ has reviewed and shared my article titled ‘Indian Entrepreneurship through a historical lens: A dialogue with Dwijendra Tripathi’. This article appeared in The Journal of Entrepreneurship Volume 25 Issue 1 (March 2016).

Link: https://managementink.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/indian-entrepreneurship-and-its-varied-manifestations-a-historical-perspective/

The article offers number of areas for further research in Entrepreneurship. Doctoral Students, Academic Researchers, Teachers and Policy Makers will find useful insights in this article.

DOWNLOAD PAPER FOR FREE! ‘Management INK’ and SAGE also allow a two week free access to the article on their blog. So, go ahead, download, read and use this article in your future research.

Happy Reading!

Indian Entrepreneurship: Interesting Insights

Punit Soni, a senior hire from Silicon Valley quit Flipkart. As always there has been a lot of speculation on him and Flipkart. But that’s not the point. Business Insider interviewed him and I find that his answers reveal a lot about Indian Entrepreneurship and Ecosystem. While I let you enjoy the details of the interview (Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/flipkart-punil-soni-explains-why-he-quit-2016-4?IR=T) here are few points worth noting:

  • Indian E-Commerce is a big opportunity; the winner will have to be a large player
  • Innovation in E-Commerce is behind the scenes and its tough work
  • Mobile is a mindset and not a channel strategy
  • Restructuring is a strategic matter
  • ‘I think the Indian Media is a bit of a circus… way too much is written without substantiation’ (read the interview fully before saying anything)
  • Startups and Media should focus on ‘strategy’ not ‘personality’
  • MUST READ: Incident from Bay Area on Hero Worship
  • Its definitely getting easier to setup a company in India, though it can get much better (Government is trying a lot)
  • Valley’s big difference is its support and mentorship; this is lacking in India’s entrepreneurship ecosystem – needs a big fillip
  • A Google / Apple type of Company will come out of India (Optimism in India’s entrepreneurial potential) – lets live up to it.

I know the above is like dissecting an interview, but I think we should learn to read into what is being said. This is only for learning how to improve, not to generate more ‘gossip’, there is enough of it anyway.

Lets not waste the potential of Indian Entrepreneurship

Happy Reading and Happy Entrepreneuring!

Startup India starts up in style

When I was in school, I have often watched cricket matches on Television. It was a very comfortable way to enjoy the game with numerous additional benefits. But today was a very different experience. Without a Television, in the comfort of my home, I sat on my laptop and watched the live coverage of the Startup India Standup India event without a hitch. One who has grown up in India during the 1990s cannot imagine watching a webcast of a live government event, on a government website, running without a hitch. Thanks are due to my internet service provider too.

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi stole the show as usual. I loved the spirit of his talk – lets stop doing things to allow startups start doing things. The action plan he unveiled at the end of the day was reflective of this philosophy. He pointed out to a few important things in the action plan and I enjoyed listening to them. I kept smiling all the way, as he kept shared what is planned to be stopped:

  • No Labour inspector visits for the first three years
  • No income tax for first three years
  • No capital gains tax if you sell your property and invest in your venture
  • No more prior experience or minimum turnover to apply for public procurement

I loved the initiatives around what they intend to start as well:

  • Fast track patent application processing
  • Government sponsored patent filing support (fully free)
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • 1 Day startup App
  • Strengthening of the incubation system
  • Greater focus on knowledge backed and technology enabled innovations
  • Tinkering labs
  • Pre-incubation support system
  • Seed capital

I especially look forward to seeing the ‘Grand Challenges’ part of the Innovation mission as that is where our much touted Google / Apple could be.

Overall an impressive show. The remaining day was equally interesting and inspiring. I truly wish all of that which is spoken actually sees the light of day.

Though most of the above are potential action items, at least we did not listen to very high level, broad based, no-one-knows-whose-action-it-is type of statements. Having been one associated with the entrepreneurship ecosystem for a decade now, I can tell you for sure – the people who have prepared this document have heard what stakeholders in this ecosystem are saying. Simple. Wondering why it took so many years to hear this. Glad that it has been heard and acted upon.

Very impressed and inspired by the attention my domain of work is gaining in this country. If this trend continues it will not be far when India will regain her glory as the land of opportunities, progress and prosperity.

In a way this program is an exciting pitch. I now want to read that action plan. I now want to  know who is going to implement what. I now want to know where I can participate. This is an example of a great pitch.

This blog is my feeling after listening to an interesting day of inspiring people. I am sure the details will be made available in the public domain soon. I am sure you will look up to it as much as I do.

Startup India. I am sure if you do, we will Standup too.

 

Startups – Fad, trend, megatrend?

There is no doubt that 2015 started with a bang! Optimism everywhere. Probably the most spoken about word and equally inspiring too is ‘startups’. With the world attempting to emerge out of a seemingly never ending slowdown, entrepreneurship is rightly touted as the tool / lever for help. While entrepreneurship in its limited form seems to represent ‘startups’, this word seems to have gained epic status. If you were to roam around the campuses in India (i’m sure it is the same everywhere), one will be surprised by the number of people involved in ‘starting up’. It looks like you will be looked down upon if you are not part of some startup. Having seen this entire phenomenon and been part of it for over a decade now; i’m glad all this is happening! But the discussion today is – Are ‘startups’ a fad, trend or megatrend?

For this, one needs to know what is the difference between the three. Here is a short (extremely) definition of the terms:

Fad: is a widely shared enthusiasm for something, albeit one that is short-lived. At times these short spurts are so intense that they seem to take a large group along with them quickly. Rationality has no place during this period.

Trend: something that is emerging or tending to form with slightly more certainty than a fad. There is a little more rationality in this as there are some indicators. But the breadth and depth of their effects are only probabilistic.

Megatrend: these are trends that are slow to form, but have large scale effects over a period of time. Catching them early needs tremendous alertness and ability. These are visible as they are usually backed with facts.

With that extremely short introduction to three terms which you must have last learned in your marketing class, ask yourself which category ‘startups’ belong to today? Personally i believe we are moving past a stage where it seemed like a fad to a stage it seems certain like a trend. If certain actions are visible at the level of the ecosystem, it could very well become a megatrend to watch. What are these ecosystem changes: government intentions and catalysts; economic policies; societal changes; cultural mindset shifts; education makeover; amongst others.

A lot of things have to be altered, changed and at times revolutionised if we have to enable ‘startups’ turn into a real megatrend. There is no question that at some point  in time all governments will be forced to resort to ‘entrepreneurship’ as the tool to usher in large scale changes. While the ecosystem can only create a better environment, it can also enthuse and equip the youth (in body and mind) so that they can act to make the change happen.

Everything looks right now for us to move this emerging trend into a megatrend! What else do you think needs to be done to make entrepreneurship a phenomenon in India? Share your thoughts as we do our bit to build an entrepreneurial India.

Happy Starting up in 2015!

Budget 2014 and Start-ups

It looks like the current Finance minister likes the word “start-up” more than any finance minister of the past! Otherwise why will he make reference to it so many times during the Budget speech 2014! We can boldly say that the government is definitely seeing the start-up community, the MSME’s in India as a powerful contributor of socio-economic development. There are many interesting things that the Finance minister mentioned in his talk, here are some of the key items of interest to the entrepreneurial folk:

  • A 10,000 Crore Fund for fuelling entrepreneurship in the country. This fund should find itself being distributed as equity, soft loans, etc
  • Strengthening the nation wide network of incubators and accelerators: This should go a long way in improving the early stage support that entrepreneurs badly require
  • A 100 Crore Fund for encouraging entrepreneurship in our villages called the Village Start-up Fund: This is absolutely needed if we don’t want our cities to break down. It is also important for us to tap into the real potential of India. Rural Entrepreneurship is an absolute must in a country like India.
  • A 200 Crore additional funding for supporting entrepreneurship among the SC/ST youth. This is an interesting way to move the backward communities out of that status.
  • A special focus on helping build the next generation of technology product companies – something that India has really fallen behind in, especially in the IT Industry. A 500 Crore Fund to support potential software product start-ups is a great boost – hopefully we should see some Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc come out of these initiatives!

While there are many other things that could be of interest to the industry, the start-up ecosystem in the country, especially the entrepreneurial youth of this country should be cheering.

In the past, plans have been made along similar lines, but not so specifically to tap into entrepreneurship. Hence we (all those involved in Indian Entrepreneurship) are all hoping that these policies will be turned into actions and they will truly reach those who need them the most. If the government can implement this, India can truly reap the benefits of her demographic dividend!

Yes, one more thing which has got missed in the large numbers is: The plan to ease the bankruptcy framework in India. Now, if there is one thing that can truly catalyse the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, it is this. Because, if it is easy to close down a failing enterprise, people will be more open to experimentation. This can also make the long held baggage (‘social stigma of failure’) become lighter and hopefully go away.

Over all I think this budget has been very pro start-ups and I think the government has read the pulse right. The entrepreneurship and small business ecosystem in this country badly need a boost. They can create the millions of jobs that India urgently needs.

With the budget fairly interesting and forward looking, all are now eagerly waiting to see how these policies are going to be rolled out. This requires policy to be turned into actionable plans and then staffed through the right people to ensure they see the light of day.

Well begun is half done, but half done isn’t really great either! Let’s all work along to make entrepreneurship thrive amongst the youth across the country.

What do you think about Budget 2014 and Entrepreneurship? Do share your views.