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On 21 June, the Government of India took a significant step towards making India the most open economy in the world. Through this reform it has allowed 100% FDI in food retail, civil aviation and 74% in private security agency and pharmaceutical businesses. This step comes at a time when the Indian start-up network is witnessing one of the hottest summer seasons of the past few years.
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There are certain critical things that all start-ups must do in order to stay in the game. These points are part of the bigger goal of ensuring your start-up succeeds and delivers the returns to you as an investor. Unfortunately, many start-ups often put these points on the back-burner in their earnestness to work on daily operations.
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There are a very few investors actually vying to be first to discover hot new tech startups or create new markets. Instead, they're always trying to find an American/Chinese replica or blindly follow the investment decisions of other firms.
Mahatma Gandhi had remarked once that freedom is not worth having if we do not have the freedom to make mistakes. That indeed is a freedom we need to grant ourselves, our children, our families, our employees, indeed our firms.
Today, entrepreneurs are everywhere. You're all doing your own thing and are masters of your own destiny. You're the CEO, the accountant and even the recruiter; you set your own hours, and maybe work longer than you did at your corporate job. Rings a bell? Well, all this might be true, and it makes you an entrepreneur. But it doesn't make your company a start-up!
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Apart from consolidating his support for the 'Make in India', 'Start-up India, Stand-up India' and 'Digital India' campaigns, Arun Jaitley must implement a clear plan of action in terms of numbers that entrepreneurs can leverage as promised in these schemes. Substantial funds must be allocated towards development of infrastructure, improving connectivity via roads or internet, removal of red tapism and bureaucracy in implementation of policy, and greater clarity on a ridiculously large number of taxes.
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Only a small fraction of our population can be called readers. Even when compared with the number of Google users -- an indication of digital social content users -- the percentage remains tiny. However, reading might be essential for the future workforce of the nation. In the coming decades, we need more entrepreneurs and self-employed citizens to keep pace with the aspirations and needs of the population. Hence, it is even more critical that students learn to read beyond short form content, social media and gossip sites.
Women's entrepreneurship in India has evolved at a slow rate. From the vast majority of women entrepreneurs being engaged in labour-intensive, food-based businesses, they now have a presence in almost all the prominent sectors of the economy. In order to make this transition, female entrepreneurs have worked hard in overcoming certain unique societal problems. Fortunately, the signs are clear that better days are ahead.
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Launched in 1999, Indiaplaza.com was a pioneer in e-commerce and at a time when few things were in its favour - internet speed, payment avenues or online consumers - it barrelled on, surviving the dotcom bust in early 2000 and then the recession of 2008. In early 2011, it still seemed to be doing fairly well and it even managed to raise $5 million in investment. But just two years later the company went bust. What happened and what can entrepreneurs learn from it?
From his public airing of spats with investors to playing the media like a guitar, Rahul Yadav challenged the status quo at every step. He rejected corporate bureaucracy and a boot-licking culture. He was also brilliantly disrespectful, a self-serving narcissist (like many of the new breed of young entrepreneurs) and got himself fired. While there is much to admire about the man, there are some lessons on how not to do business embedded in his saga as well.
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It is not very often that we hear the success stories of those born in the underprivileged and deprived segments of our society, but recently my favourite newspaper, The Times of India covered an inspiring story on their front page. The headline reads, "Sons in IIT top-500, daily-wager dad doesn't have Rs 1L for fees."
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The ambitious "Make in India" program launched by the Government of India is largely skewed towards the manufacturing sector. Most discussions are missing an equally significant opportunity that remains untapped in the services sector. The talent edge and time zone gap with the west provides India a unique advantage to emerge as the global hub for creative services. In other words, domestic as well as global buyers of marketing services can look at India as the one-stop creative shop.
It takes immense courage, passion, hard work and vision to create a start-up venture. But if you want your business to be successful, you have to give yourself a reality check and shed five common myths that lead to the downfall of many a start-up.
The world of business is quickly changing. Multinational corporations are not only dealing with entrepreneurial ventures in India but also investing in them. Nasper's backed ibiboGroup purchased redbus.in and yourbus.in, while Oracle bought Bitzer Mobile. Billion dollar companies that no longer enjoy the "start-up" tag are acquiring promising new enterprises. Facebook, for instance, acquired Little Eye Labs and Google bought Imperium.