Rise of the professional entrepreneur
INDIAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP in recent years after liberalisation of the economy has explored profit opportunities in almost every sphere of activity, especially ‘ new economy’ areas. Time was when entrepreneurs with fire in their bellies had to leave India to get free rein – Aditya Birla wandered all over Southeast Asia setting up companies and factories, and Lakshmi Mittal ran away from the country to become the world’s steel king.
Looking back a few decades, most entrepreneurs were those who took over family business and the notion was that those born into these business families were born to be entrepreneurs while jobs were for the rest of the world.
Today, for all the difficulties of doing business in the country, India has become a fertile ground for breeding new entrepreneurs. The markets are vibrant, capital can be arranged, and technology and de-regulation keep throwing up new opportunities. The new breed of entrepreneurs has not only enhanced competitiveness in the domestic economy, but is also attempting to go global.
An interesting development is that the corporate reins are falling into the hands of younger entrepreneurs who are themselves professionally qualified, have enough work experience and with the intent of imparting dynamism into their firms are staffing their organisation with professionals who can display intrapreneurship. This trend has led to the rise of the’ professional entrepreneur.’
These professionals have acquired key functional capabilities while working with organisations previously and accrued enough resources thanks to their high pay packets. Thus, they have created bright avenues for themselves to become entrepreneurs.
This growing professionalisation at both the levels of ownership and management characterises organisations with clear visiton, goals, strategies and policies. Lifestyles of these entrepreneurs are a true embodiment of non-ostentaious Indian culture and their political philosophy, perhaps, further imbues them with social responsibility.
A noticeable feature of these entrepreneurs is that almost all of them have had some professional education. Most of them are MBAs, engineers, or a combination thereof, law graduates, CA, or technologists. It is no one’s case to draw a relationship between the level of education and entrepreneurship or degree thereof, but it seems quite logical that education of some kind has become a prerequisite for better comprehension of complexities of modern environment.
Outsourcing and core capability management which has become the mantra for corporates the world over has generated more business avenues for these professionals who aspire to become entrepreneurs. Further more venture capitalists have driven this new boom by supporting Indian professionals and new innovative ideas by Indians. In almost any new industry that has grown to prominence in the last decade, the king is not from the established business houses but a rank newcomer.
One merely has to mention software and the names that crop up are Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji, and Shiv Nadar . Then there is Ramoji Rao who moved away from the family occupation of cultivating paddy and pulses and systematically built an empire in terms of a film city, newspapers, magazines, satellite language channel, television software, film-making and distribution ventures;K.V. Reddy, an engineer born in a rich, land-holding agricultural family of Andhra Pradesh, after working for others and experiencing failure in his own venture, was struck with an idea that eventually made him a pioneer in India’s fledgling biotech industry; one can go on.
The question for any working professional thinking about leaving corporate life for the heady world of entrepreneurship is whether he has what it takes to be successful… the right stuff in other words. The common issues facing all new, first generation entrepreneurs are planning, finance and implementation.
Equally important are the personal qualities of the entrepreneur himself or herself. Passion for the business and function they handle, risk taking ability and the mindset to work for long hours to get the business going are essential.. Further, professionals venturing into the entrepreneurial path should consciously come to terms with the fact that they are not just starting a business, rather they need to believe that they are making a career as a professional entrepreneur.
If you have a good idea, and smartness to start and build a sound business, you may even make it to the Forbes list, considering the increasing number of Indian entrepreneurs on the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest