It is certainly the best time to be an entrepreneur in India. The last decade saw India rise as a hotbed for start-ups, and the ever-evolving ecosystem is proof of the progress made in that direction. With increasing digital penetration and higher disposable incomes, consumers are also evolving and are ready to experiment with new brands and companies, making India an extremely lucrative market for indigenous start-ups.
There is a need to understand entrepreneurship in the way it is relevant today. Contrary to traditional beliefs—that one needs to work in a big organisation for a few years or needs to come from an entrepreneurial background—anyone who has an idea and believes that the idea will solve a consumer problem or add value to people’s lives can be an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is all about self-learning. When we are young, our risk appetite and drive to achieve is much higher. Look at all the devices we use today—they are all products of innovation and risk by some start-up. From smartphones to smart homes to smart cars, all are products of innovation by young minds. The youth is entering the market with innovative propositions that are adding value to the lives of consumers.
But, the ecosystem has become fiercely competitive, forcing entrepreneurs to constantly keep their eyes on the ball to stay ahead of the curve. In such a scenario, when veterans in the ecosystem show their support towards newbies, it is reassuring and an indication that we are going in the right direction.
My recommendation to aspiring entrepreneurs is to first find the right partners and investors who will provide them with guidance and support. When my wife Ghazal and I embarked on our journey, neither did we have any understanding of running a business nor any relevant connect in the industry. But, we were able to seek learnings from fellow entrepreneurs owing to the deeply connected start-up and entrepreneur community. I think that is the beauty of our community—we compete in the market, but when we connect with each other, we share learnings, challenges and successes to help each other grow. I was lucky to have found the right investors and mentors at the beginning of my journey.
One factor that has fuelled the growth of this dynamic start-up ecosystem is the surge of digital commerce. Digital content consumption is on a sharp rise and has generated geographical democracy and amplification. Technology and digital advancements provide great support to new brands.
Government initiatives and support have also played a big role in strengthening the industry and encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs with no backing or legacy to start up on their own. With steps like a fund for start-ups, schemes like ASPIRE to promote rural industries, the Atal Innovation Mission, etc., start-ups in India will surely write a new growth story.
The author is co-founder and CEO, Honasa Consumer Private Limited, the parent company of Mamaearth and The Derma Co.