I have heard from former VC of University of Pune (today’s SPPU), that once a former US President said to then Indian PM- ‘Mr. PM, Indians succeed in USA then why don’t Indians succeed in India?’ The professor went on and said ‘in USA, every effort is rewarded at least with a pat on the back!’ Later in my life I realized that the bankruptcy laws in USA & many other countries are more conducive for entrepreneurship. Further, the distinction between an individual & corporation is clear.
To elaborate this, a person is treated with dignity & pride, not punished for business failure. Nation’s policies reflect in how a person is perceived by its people. In India, an entrepreneur failing is looked down upon & is held accountable for business failures. While any illegal activity must be punished, business failures even due to ill management of capital or operations perfectly legal. Investors can and will turn their back on ill managed businesses & eventually it will go bankrupt. We must understand that the business & the people running it are different entities by structure. These are the people who took risks and generated jobs, supported & raised many families eventually building our nation.
In my opinion, entrepreneurship involves risk taking and one of the major reasons it being low in India is not because of fear of failure but of not finding someone or something to blame the failure on! Such thoughts are rooted in over-emphasis on being successful in all walks of life, success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. These thoughts do creep in into the minds of those who dare to rise beyond fears to create an enterprise. And this happens more often during tough times which leads to some unfortunate decisions.
What we need to understand as investors and as a country is that when capital flows promote entrepreneurial minds, the onus on materialization of risk is equally borne by all the contributors. A country with largest employable population of the world cannot afford to discourage entrepreneurship. There are examples of entrepreneurs who went near or in total bankruptcy but did rise from the ashes to create huge enterprises a notable example is Mr. Hilton of the hotel group. If our policies as a nation and our minds as a society are ready to nurture, nourish & let flourish enterprising individuals, only then we can see our nation truly become a global leader. Every, individual successful or otherwise deserves to live fearless and with his or her head held high.We cannot let ‘the clear stream of reason lose its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.’
Into that heaven of (entrepreneurial) freedom, my Father, let my country awake…
Note– The heading and other parts of this blogpost are reproduced from a poem by Dr. Rabindranath Tagore. His poem is an inspiration for entire language and composition of this post.
This post is dedicated to all the entrepreneurs in the world.