Arup Choudhuri, CEO, Founder, Acasia Global Consulting
Mr. Arup Choudhari began by introducing the concept of Gen-X in reference to the youth moving towards liberalization and globalization. Moving ahead, he mentioned that we have come a long way since the controlled regime of dependent India and the period of great depression. Major reforms like FEMA , MRTP Act, taxation rules, New payment banking, competition policies etc. have redefined the global scenario. However, certain domains including women’s development, income and expenditure taxes, banking policies require increased focus and reformation. According to him, next 15 years will be crucial towards development in the wholesome perspective.
Purnima Venkat, Independent Consultant, Social Development
Ms. Purnima Venkat spoke majorly about micro-entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. In her opinion, parts of rural India suffer tremendously due to a simple lack of infrastructure and support. This sector does not have much of a say in policy making. They are hugely dependent on informal forms of finance, which leads to a cycle of poverty. Further, she added that it is important to not just criticize but also give solutions. India has seen improvements in terms of increased financial inclusion, however, there is much more that needs to be done. Innovation and entrepreneurship know no bounds. We need to tap the hidden grounds and create mechanisms for diversification of all sectors. Understanding the need is the backbone of business, therefore the importance of social enterprise. Building assets, looking at doorstep services, increasing literacy, simplifying policies, increasing equality between men and women, creating an enabling environment, distribution of income are some basic steps to consider in this aspect. Also, she opined that we have policies and frameworks, all we need is an effective utilization.
Andrew Murray, CEO and Principal Economic Advisor, Govt. of South Africa
Mr. Andrews Murray moved the discussion ahead by bringing in insights into the South African business ecosystem. He began by saying that South Africa inherited a highly concentrated economy. Unequal distribution of income, political resistance to liberalization, low growth rate are some of the factors acting as a deterrent to entrepreneurship. Unlike India, south Africa does not have a strong business leadership to support globalization. The extent of the problem is emphasized by the aggregate growth of 2% in the last 20 years. However, certain policy measures are being introduced to unleash growth. Commodity market, which is the main source of exports, is being laid emphasis on. Revenues collected through taxes are provided to the poor to support equal distribution of income. Increased focus on human capability and skills, innovation and access to technology is being emphasized upon. Initiatives are being taken towards resource mobilization and reducing the burden of bureaucracy that undermines entrepreneurial aspects.
Mr. Ravi Ranjan, Head NASSCOM
Mr. Ravi Ranjan started off by mentioning how far the Indian IT services has come. As of 2016, India’s IT services account for 57% of the services to the world. He emphasized on the initiatives that the Government of India is taking to support Startups. The major challenge that they face now is in identifying which Startup can be classified as an innovative Startup. He further added that entrepreneurs should identify the problem and solve it rather than waiting for Government approvals or funds. He mentioned how the market opportunity in India is huge but the challenge is that there aren’t enough investments in research to support the same. The environment in India is such that failing at something is seen as a taboo. They fail to realize that failing fast is the key to success.
Mr. Vikram Anand, CEO, Founder, FarmGuru
Mr. Vikram Anand started his discussion by saying that you need persistence to be an entrepreneur. He emphasized on the huge potential that India has to offer and that entrepreneurs will have to make a determined push to make an impact. He shared his experience and elaborated how it was difficult to sell a service back in 2002 as India did not have the access to information and capital that is prevalent now. The magic of technology is the access to information that they provide to people. The ecosystem now is such that customers are willing to trust and accept business ideas now. He further added that a change like demonetization helped change the mindset of people.
Dr. Kanika Chatterjee, Professor, Calcutta University (CU)
Dr. Kanika Chatterjee discussed how shaping minds and mindsets are important. One will have to take up challenges to become an entrepreneur. She elaborated on the need for a regenerative capitalist economy and how sustainability is the need of the hour. She said that an integration of sustainabilities is crucial. The integration of ecological, social and economic sustainabilities should be kept in mind. She also mentioned the cradle to cradle design and how it follows a sustainably innovative model. She spoke about how even though Institutions have the resources, they lack a certain will to make an impact.