This is a guest post by Alban Leveau-Vallier of Socialter.This is the first post of Socialter Series on entrepreneurship in India.The aim of Socialter is to spread the good ideas using social media. As they travel, they spot interesting social entrepreneurs and then they write about them on the blog, make video about them, and spread their word and their good ideas through facebook and twitter. They also offer to advise them on the use of social media.Here comes the first post of Socialter series on entrepreneurship in India. Publishing every Friday from now on, I will give my thoughts on why it is so different to be an entrepreneur in India. These thoughts will come from my meetings with Indian and foreign entrepreneurs in India, my observations and readings. As I am not Indian and know only a little about India, I will try to provide an exterior and fresh look on the topic. If you are yourself an entrepreneur or know anything about the subject, don't hesitate to send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
To start this series I want to talk about something that struck me very early. Professor Anil K. Gupta pinpointed it when we met at Ahmedabad : in India, there is a very dense ladder of opportunities and it starts really low.
What does it mean? First, in India you can start a business at a very small scale. Lots of entrepreneurs start selling their product, in small quantities, in the street. One can see many microentrepreneurs selling soap, shoes, flowers, fruits... in the street. Some famous Indian entrepreneurs had humble beginnings, like Dhirubai Ambani, selling bhajias to pilgrims, Karsanbhai Patel with a small enterprise of detergent, or B. M. Munjal supplying components for bicycles.
Second, you can gradually expand your business. If you are successful, you gradually grow and hire people. Dhirubai Ambani, Karsanbhai Patel and B. M. Munjal all built empires. It look likes this ladder of opportunity has no limit, you can always grow more.
Why is it different? For me, as a European, building a business means a lot of time and money registering a company, hiring people, finding an office... There are lot of costs just for starting the business. It implies that you will never start a business if it is not big enough to pay your initial investment back. A lot of opportunities are therefore neglected because they are too small. On the contrary, in India, there is room for the small...
Second, our ladder of opportunity seems to have limits, maybe because the market is smaller, or maybe because of a cultural difference. Successful entrepreneurs in France build one or more successful companies, but they generally don't build an empire...
That's why one could say that there is a very dense ladder of opportunity in India. Do you agree with that statement?