The Entrepreneurial Melting Pot

The Entrepreneurial Melting Pot 

The startup bug has become a startup fever, and that fever may be driving many people to hysteria. At the risk of sounding preachy isn’t it time someone examined the phenomenon of how the world is taking every good thing to excess and making it into a national pastime? Is that what we’re doing with entrepreneurship today?

RITZ is asking the question of the hour…. are there too many entrepreneurs in the country today? Is this excess of entrepreneurs affecting the conventional work environment by robbing it of talent? Are there going to be gaps in conventional work spaces considering the number of start-ups we see popping up?

With strong inputs from business leaders, nurturers of incubator start-ups and entrepreneurs themselves we bring to the table a myriad of opinions

There’s start-up schools teaching people to be effective entrepreneurs, there are short courses and seminars advocating the same and the heights of it all is that there are companies today, willing to teach their new employees who have just walked in through the door, how to start their own companies! They’re imparting training, advice and lessons to newbie employees on how to leave the company they’ve just joined and start one of their own.

Ridiculous as it may read, that’s the fact of the matter.

Whatever happened to contributing to an industry, having a positive effect on the work environment and working under an inspirational guru just to learn the ropes and further one’s career through experience and knowledge?

The career market is today filled with free agents, each of them with an idea in their head, an investor in hand and a three-year-plan in place. It’s all about improvising and tweaking ideas that have already proved lucrative, altering winning work models and taking things one step further by coming up with a little added advantage to an already working idea and an app that facilitates it.

According to a recent report made public by the United Nations, here’s what it said: “In the emerging countries, most notably the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, China – impressive growth has been driven by a veritable entrepreneurial revolution. The need in these economies to sustain growth through sustainable access to resources, knowledge, markets, and low-carbon industrialisation puts a premium on innovative entrepreneurship.

But more entrepreneurs may also be associated with lower national happiness. This could be when most entrepreneurs are not so by choice, but by necessity. When people turn to entrepreneurship by necessity, they essentially lose their ‘agency’ or free will as far as their employment is concerned, and this is experienced as a loss of happiness. Evidence from the EU seems to support this: there is a robust negative relationship between the business ownership rate and entrepreneurs’ average job satisfaction across EU nations. Clearly, job satisfaction amongst entrepreneurs is much higher when fewer of them need to be self-employed.”

Does this mean that the more entrepreneurs the country sees the lesser talent we will see in the conventional work environment? Is this excess of brilliant entrepreneurs going to lead to a lack of proper talent in the job market? Would it ultimately mean that the business world would be filled with fewer satisfied individuals with higher levels of want, thereby leading to a surfeit of dissatisfaction with respect to work and life in general?

Hairsh Bijoor

We ask Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. the question racing through our minds and here’s what he had to say:

“Good point. Good thought.

The reality however is that there are far fewer jobs than the minds and bodies that are required to fill them. This is particularly so in India, where there is a talent surfeit. This is a happy thing really. India has spent decades investing in education. And Indians have spent decades educating and encouraging their children onto the path of education. In India, Saraswathi had led Lakshmi. Saraswathi has always been placed ahead of Lakshmi. The time to monetize that sentiment seems to however be dawning today.

The job scene, in the wake of entrepreneurship gobbling up good manpower will see an easing of competition. However, more people will find jobs and water will find its own level in this space. There is plenty of water around though,” he opines.

From starting and establishing programmes for the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) in India, to promoting clean energy technology and preparing Indian entrepreneurs to flourish in the global market, 38-year-old Leena Pishe Thomas has done it all. The Director of Global Business Inroads has shares her opinion on the question we’re asking: “In my view, within the Indian context, it is great that people are seeing entrepreneurship as an option and that families are also encouraging budding entrepreneurs.

Leena Thomas

Especially when it comes to technology domain, India needs more indigenous inventions of technologies and solutions that are relevant for our markets. We need more entrepreneurs to be confident about their ideas because the ecosystem is also there and present. And yes, this will impact larger companies as a lot of good talent is seeking opportunities in start-ups. But, I also expect that the smarter large corporations will encourage “intrapreneurship” – entrepreneurial mindset within organizations – and give a chance for their in-house talent to innovate and contribute to new business ideas. This can help them retain talent. Having a sense of opportunity and hope is always a good thing for economic growth and that is the fervor and frenzy our entrepreneurs are capitalizing upon and vice versa.”

So its happening then… the job market is seeing and experiencing a slight dearth of talent due to the pace at which entrepreneurial enterprises are on the rise.

Vijay Abhimanyu, director, Billionsmiles, began his entrepreneurial journey when he was barely 20 years of age. Today, some eight years hence this serial entrepreneur has expanded his business portfolio by leaps and bounds and continues to encourage younger talent to make the entrepreneurial leap, which he strongly supports. “I believe entrepreneurs will be the engine of growth for India. So my take is more entrepreneurs the better.

Vijay Abhimanyu

The nation is going to be hugely benefited. Entrepreneurs will find it hard to acquire the right talent. It will be challenging. However entrepreneurs are generally great problem solvers and they would figure things out and make sure the right talent is made available to make their dreams come true.”

Similar is the opinion of Bangalore’s Rashmi Daga, a qualified engineer and IIM graduate who went to work with a start-up and got bitten by the start-up bug herself. Today she runs one of the city’s premier prepared food delivery services Fresh Menu. An avid advocate of entrepreneurship she explains, “Entrepreneurship is not new to India.

Rashmi Daga

And there is no shortage of talent in the market. Each individual has more choices now whether they want to be an entrepreneur, work at a startup or work at big firms. It’s eventually for the individual to find his comfort zone, risk taking appetite which decides what they do for their career.”

Hyderabad’s M. R. Shantaram, CEO, Intercon International, has a different opinion to share with us. He says, “India has a lot of people. More people than what a country can utilise. Yet there is a dearth of talent which is employable. In this scenario if lots of people turn entrepreneurs then it makes an already difficult situation even more difficult.

I definitely see a trend. Many young people I meet are saying that they are running their own enterprise or are in the process of starting one. While this is good for them and the economy, in the near term talent crunch for organizations will get aggravated.  IT industry handled the talent crunch reasonably well. Big IT companies have tied up with engineering colleges and have started training students from 2nd or 3rd year.

M R Shantaram

Again, Infosys kind of companies have set up huge training facilities and supplement what colleges do in a six month power pack program At the entry level the IT sector has solved the shortage problem. More and more sectors will have to take the path of developing talent that their industry needs. When this happens we will be a happy country as, the new entrepreneurs would have created more jobs and all our unemployed will get jobs. Our per-capita and hence the GDP will zoom!”

And while we consider his solution to be a tad too idealistic we speak to Jayadeep Krishnan, CEO T Hub, an incubator for startups, and pose our query to him. “There’s no such thing as ‘too many entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are great job creators and seek alternatives to existing jobs. The fact that tons of new entrepreneurs are being birthed everyday is an indication of a larger appetite for risk and the arrival of a fearless new brand of young Indians. It’s a great thing to have too many entrepreneurs.”

And while we respect the opinions being shared we ask one more person what he feels of the current trend sweeping the career market.

Sairam Mocherla, Founder and Chief Mentor, Capital Fortunes Project Development, encapsulates our queries into the form of an answer. He says, “Entrepreneurship is about putting passion to a sense of purpose, thriving in an environment of freedom with discipline with an ability to keep an open and flexible mind and being opportunistic for realising a shared vision. The ability to run the long mile than fall for instant gratification; spawning of entrepreneurs is a boon for individual enterprise indeed but also a shot in the arm for new age enterprises who can foster a work environment to unleash the creative and limitless energies of talented resources and help transform them to proven leaders. I have no doubt this cultural metamorphosis has the potential to catapult India into a foremost economic powerhouse rather than stymie and stunt the growth of industry and workplace.”