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‘The world is looking to India for ideas'

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 04, 2011

A delegate innovates to literally 'stand out' among entrepreneurs at the TiE Summit in Mumbai on Friday. - Photo: SHASHI ASHIWAL

The Mumbai leg of The Indus Entrepreneurs' (TiE) ‘Enterprising India' series kicked off on Friday, with an eminent panel speaking on ‘Changing the Nation. Leading the World.'

Addressing a packed auditorium of entrepreneurs and students at the National Centre of Performing Arts, Mr Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal group, advocated fearlessness as an essential quality to turn entrepreneur. “I'd advise young India to get into the habit of taking decisions. Have a point of view, and commit yourself to it. It's not really the absence of fear, but overcoming fear that is essential,” he said.

Mr Kishore Biyani, founder and group chief executive, Future Group, pointed out that the conditioning caused by education was a hurdle in the path of entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurs cannot accurately measure what the result will be. During the journey, you discover the roads. When I had nothing, I had no fear. As a society, we have a stigma against failure. Once we start respecting failure, we start nurturing innovation,” he said.

Staying Inclusive

Mr Narendra Murkumbi, Managing Director, CEO and co-founder of Renuka Sugars, opined, “We need to bring those at the bottom of the economic ladder to a better standard of life. If we can bring 30 to 40 percent of this population to a better standard of life, and add at least $500 to their annual incomes, it will drive consumption in a big way and create opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

Mr Biyani pointed out that there is a large segment of the population whose basic needs like health, food and sanitation are not met. Once these are met, they will have aspirational needs, he reasoned, and singled out the urban poor, accounting for about 20 per cent of the population, as the most affected by inflation.

Innovation

Mr Piramal noted that while there is some innovation witnessed in the Indian market, a lot more is needed to fuel growth. He said, “We need to challenge the norms – that's the root of innovation. We must respect customs and seniority, but allow questioning of the existing hierarchy. The first and most important step is to break down structures.”

He added, “The world is looking to India for ideas, be it in the social sector or in business, we are being looked at as a hub for ideas.”

“We are not made for thinking large format innovations. Our economy cannot grow on the basis of the small, value-based innovations that we are good at. The way we think as a society has to change,” concurred Mr Biyani.

An exhibition by several businesses and service providers is also part of Enterprising India 2011.

Published on March 04, 2011

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