It would be a cliché to say that starting up is not easy. The challenges associated with starting up have been observed to be unique to different locations and circumstances. In consideration is one such location, Ahmedabad. After the brilliant success of TechSparks at Ahmedabad, YourStory has given considerable attention to the city, the city of Gujarati dreams. With a majority population of the city being entrepreneurs, it became pertinent to ask as to why they hadn’t come on the national front.
All these point towards a growing momentum but there are few things that hold Ahmedabad to burst forth as a booming entrepreneurial hub. We talked to the entrepreneurs for a common trend and sure as it is, there were some key aspects that emerged.
Finding Right Talent
“The main problem which many entrepreneurs of Ahmedabad are facing is getting the right workforce. Basically, Gujarati's are business minded people who opt to do their own business rather than working for a company or somebody else. Moreover the people who like to work for some big blue-chip companies move to either Mumbai or Bangalore, Pune etc. So getting the right workforce is a major concern here,” says Sanjay Bengani, Co-Founder, Chhavi.
“Hiring & finding co-founders is also a challenging issue that is being faced by the startups in Ahmedabad. Most of the best brains travel to the metros for enjoying the excellent salaries in the MNCs. This leads to a huge gap and leaves over suboptimal resources in the town. The level of education in the state is degrading ten folds & so are the quality resources. The startups struggle to work with such bandwidth to deliver quality outputs,” says Ritesh Ambastha, Founder, IWillStudy, bringing forward the issue of finding the right co-founder.
Lack of Good Mentors
“There is a need of a holistic institution from where entrepreneurs can get the required knowledge about say, a particular domain, sector or new opportunity,” says Mitul Dadhania, Founder, WebChanakya.
“A sheer lack of mentorship avenues and a disconnect between young entrepreneurs and experienced business persons needs to be developed so as to establish a proper flow of knowledge and business acumen from one generation to another,” says Wishaysh Bansal, Principal & Partner, Law Way Consultants.
“In this case a friend of mine attended a mentorship workshop at IIM-A, and after he showed his software to a senior person, the concerned person (who is a well known pharmacist) asked him a question as to what will happen if the tablet gets destroyed and advised him that business should happen in "real stuff". The miscommunication had happened as he thought that the software app would die with the tablet! And then, in another case, there was this IT web developer person who did not know what "Angry Birds" was!” adds Wishaysh.
“People and startup guys do not know how to make a strong and appealing presentation to get the venture capitalists listen to them and take interest in their projects,” says Sanjay.
“Client Communication is one of the biggest challenges for the startups in Gujarat. With the lack of knowledge of English, and advanced soft skills, they struggle with day to day communication issues,” says Ritesh.
Lack of support from Governing bodies
“In case of student entrepreneurs in Kerala there is a recent policy change with regards to over grant of 20-30% relaxation in attendance at colleges. Such initiatives are missing from the scene here,” says Wishaysh.
“There is a clear lack of Government infrastructure/venue available on FCFS basis to organize meet-ups for entrepreneurs. This has slowed the fostering of an entrepreneurial eco-system in the city,” says Roshan Shah, a serial entrepreneur.
“Getting necessary fund is another issue. People generally get funds or investment from home, relatives, friends or angel investors. But it is really difficult to find a venture capitalist here,” says Sanjay.
These are the challenges that an Amdavadi entrepreneur faces; a few are overlapping with ones on the national scale but there are some very specific problems. How to tackle them? Many are shifting to the metros but that’s obviously not a solution. We believe more support from government in terms of setting up incubators and accelerators will go a long way. iAccelerator has changed the perception amongst the national crowd and has given focus to the city but more are needed. Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Technology has come up with an incubator and so would be expected of other colleges like the L.D College of Engineering. Apart from this, with a budding entrepreneur crowd and people becoming more aware, one can expect to hear a lot from this buzzing city.