Startups and Entrepreneurship- What it Means for the Future

THE WORLD IS EVOLVING every second as we breathe. Be it technology, culture, infrastructure, or relationships- we are constantly changing, and with change comes opportunity.

For young people, entrepreneurship is a powerful form of engagement and activism. The role of young people is widely marginalised or entirely excluded by political systems that exist in today’s world. In a world like such, entrepreneurship empowers young people to take charge of their own future and success.

The past decade has seen major changes in the market. Entrepreneurship may provide a ray of hope to failing economies. The current generation of entrepreneurs has the potential to disrupt the status quo and introduce new ideas for economic growth. Tech-savvy young people, for example, are accelerating the digital economy through revolutionary start-ups. Digitization is proving to be a powerful tool for economic diversification.

India has the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, with a year-on-year growth rate of 12-15 percent expected. In 2018, India had approximately 50,000 startups, with approximately 8,900 – 9,300 of these being technology-led startups. In 2019, alone, 1300 new tech startups were born, implying that 2-3 new tech startups are born every day.

Significantly, the number of female entrepreneurs increased to 14%, up from 10% and 11% in 2018-2019. Startups in the country have created an estimated 40,000 new jobs in 2019, bringing the total number of jobs in the start-up ecosystem to 1.6-1.7 lakh. Startups and entrepreneurship have hence not only given young minds a chance to prove their potential, but it has also broken stereotypes and given women an equal platform.

The central idea behind youth entrepreneurship is to encourage young people to think outside the box, to come up with interesting ideas, innovations, and solutions to existing problems, and then to assist them in developing these into viable business plans and starting businesses early in their lives. Good ideas do not have to come from university courses or work experiences. Young minds have been scientifically proven to be more creative and capable of thinking outside the box than older and more experienced minds.

Entrepreneurs aren’t short on ideas for exciting new product offerings or businesses, but they can be short-sighted when it comes to funding and building those projects. Most entrepreneurs fall short in three areas when it comes to developing a new business venture: searching for resources outside of one’s immediate connections, accessing non-capital assets, and transferring resources through informal exchanges.

When it comes to finding resources, most startups naturally start with people they know. A lot of existing research shows that entrepreneurs search very narrowly. There is a tendency to limit one’s choices to close friends and family members. Aside from that, entrepreneurs typically network with a limited number of investors who may be able to fund their ventures. However, some behavioural studies have shown that entrepreneurs with an outward-looking mindset are more likely to find better partners outside of their immediate network.

Once entrepreneurs identify the people and networks that can assist them in their success, far too much effort is expended in converting that into financial capital. A startup, for example, can benefit more from advice and mentorship from a successful person in their industry, or in-kind donations of legal or financial services, than from a cash infusion. Companies can obtain those resources through narratives and storytelling, as well as by locating members of a common group.

Entrepreneurs place too much emphasis on formal contracts to transfer knowledge or other resources to their company, rather than on less formal arrangements. There is a strong emphasis on working with mentors in early-stage tech companies. However, entrepreneurs frequently do not know exactly what they require from a mentor. A contract for that process is extremely difficult to write.

The road to having an economy that not only sustains but thrives on startup culture seems to be possible now more than ever, however, only with adequate governmental support and active awareness about how to grow a successful startup can the ideas in the youth be properly utilised.

By Khushi Khatter

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