Signatures of Success
Two brothers who tell you how employable you are. A man who gives you a first-hand feel of rural India. App makers. A car ‘spa’ owner. Here are 20 entrepreneurs, stars of Inspiration Inc.
India is not the best place in the world to become an entrepreneur. It is, by some measures, one of the worst. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings for 2012, India is a very poor 166 out of 183 nations on parameters relating to ease of starting a new business. For this, the Government and its cumbersome rules, regulations and processes must take the blame. It is to the credit of Indian enterprise that it continues to sprout new ventures even while it operates in a difficult business environment.
India’s growth story is driven by the strength of its private sector. That is what distinguishes India from its closest competitor, China, where economic growth has been driven by the state. The sustainability of India’s growth depends on the ability of its entrepreneurs to prosper. The last 18 months have been challenging for even the strongest pillars of Indian entrepreneurs like the Ambani brothers and Ratan Tata, as interest rates have soared and policy paralysis has gripped Government.
But it isn’t all gloom. Big business has a loud voice, so there is a lot of bad news. But across the country, there are hundreds of young people who are striving to create new businesses from scratch every day. Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy choice for them. Many have professional qualifications and could find safer, lucrative employment elsewhere. Yet, they take the risk. Young Indians are bubbling with innovative ideas and slowly turning them into viable, even profitable, business ventures.
What follows is a list of 20 young entrepreneurs from across India, mostly in their 20s and 30s, whose stories are an inspiration. None of them is a household name. But neither were N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, N. S. Raghavan, S. Gopalakrishnan, S. D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh and Ashok Arora when they started an information technology company called Infosys well before India’s computer revolution. Some of the ideas may seem too small to ever become big. But remember that India’s telecom tycoon Sunil Mittal began life by manufacturing bicycle parts. Many of the young men and women featured on the list are tapping into new markets—in rural areas and the less affluent segments that will grow the fastest. Others are investing in the Internet space, where the potential to be a world beater depends more on an idea than on India’s shoddy infrastructure. Every one of them is doing something offbeat. They may well be mainstream tomorrow.