Can we focus on why some startups succeed and most fail? — Union Minister Suresh Prabhu


“What makes an ordinary idea into an extraordinary idea, is when one decides to give up on something and venture into an unknown territory,” were the opening remarks of Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, who was addressing the annual flagship startup summit of Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), ‘Empresario’ in Ahmedabad.

The minister urged people to take risks and venture into the unknown.

“If everybody is going to do the same business as others are doing, one can still make some profit but cannot make it into a great idea, unless it is a path untravelled,” he said.

In attendance at the session were Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman - Axilor Ventures, Co-Founder - Infosys Ltd; Milind Kamble, Founder Chairman - Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI); and Sunil Shukla - Director at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII).

The minister applauded Kris and his colleagues for starting something like Infosys back in the day as it involved lot of risk-taking. Not just software and hardware, but entrepreneurship is the third element which he feels is necessary for the success of any enterprise.

Admitting to the fact that not every venture is a success, the minister said, “It is not a law of nature either — when nature creates something, not everything survives. But survival is not the only way of success. We should all focus on what makes an enterprise. Why is it that some fail and some succeed?”

The minister also questioned and wondered if there are answers/solutions to “why only some startups succeed and most fail? Also, if there is a way to reverse that.

Advising on what can undoubtedly be a successful venture, he said, “When one identifies the gaps that exist in the marketplace at a particular time — finding a solution to the gap and creating a business model around the solution, should be a successful venture.”

Asking the audience to listen to their "intuition", the Union Minister said, "If you don't believe in your inner voice, you won't succeed. Also, don't emulate any of the successful people and don't think only about jobs — there are more opportunities waiting for you."

Kris Gopalakrishnan said, “There is tremendous interest from the youth of the country towards entrepreneurship. We are at this crucial juncture of technology, which allows for the creation of new ventures and businesses. There is also need for us in India to be a part of the transitional growth phase and we have to take full advantage of using digital computers.” 

He continued, “We need to encourage the youth. I believe we need to introduce new tools such as AI, ML just like what we did with computer programming. Second is research and innovation, and third is creating an enabling environment — I am glad that it is coming from the Prime Minister himself with multiple initiatives.”