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Dr. Ajay Kela, President & CEO, Wadhwani Foundation speaks to The Hindu Business Line on the occasion of World Entrepreneurs’ Day

Start-ups play a crucial role in India’s growth story, feel experts

Friday, August 21, is World Entrepreneurs’ Day. Even as an entrepreneurship development scheme is currently being developed by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, events have been planned to provide an opportunity on what the community has to offer entrepreneurs and what the latter have to offer the community.

Cultural shift
The government is working towards catalysing a cultural shift to encourage entrepreneurship, whereby State- and national-level interactions with stakeholders will be convened. While international linkages will be established through internship opportunities and exchange trips would be undertaken to global entrepreneurship hubs such as Silicon Valley and Israel, the Ministry is also looking to institute awards for young achievers.

As Ajay Kela, CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, pointed out, though high potential entrepreneurship that drives jobs is born out of a culture of innovation and risk taking, “contemporary India has had a risk-averse culture. However, Indians in Silicon Valley have overcome this; 30 per cent of start-ups in the Valley were started by Indians.”

He adds: “We are now witnessing a paradigm shift, with entrepreneurship fast becoming the first choice of career for our best and brightest, and start-ups’ successes inspiring a new generation of Indians.”

Challenges faced
Though it is a widely-accepted fact that young entrepreneurs have a big role in shaping the 21st century, the challenges are many. Rohit Raghav, co-Founder, Phone Warrior, a mobile technology start-up with a focus on revolutionising local search, says that “as Indians, we face plenty of challenges all the time. People closest to these challenges are not Fortune 500 giants, but common, yet enterprising Indians.”

Stating that domestic start-ups can play a pivotal role in the development of the country, Raghav adds: “Whether it is helping producers sell their wares, or removing inefficiencies in the economy, or creating tech winners for the future, home grown companies should be encouraged to grow faster than their celebrated competitors.”

Adding that India is a country of young, innovative minds, Wadhwani’s Kela alluded to the Wadhwani Foundation’s National Entrepreneurship Network, which has been “inspiring, educating and creating entrepreneurs for over a decade.”

Incidentally, Romesh Wadhwani, founder and chairman of Wadhwani Foundation, has announced a commitment of up to $1 billion. The foundation aims to help create 25 million jobs, in the organised sector, by 2020.

The Hindu Business Line