Encouraging entrepreneurship: A way to reap demographic dividend
Startups across the world are going through a tough time. And India is no exception. A funding winter is already underway. Everyday there is news of these new age companies laying off employees.
Startups across the world are going through a tough time. And India is no exception. A funding winter is already underway. Everyday there is news of these new age companies laying off employees. More than 12,000 staffers in India lost their jobs in the last six months. Given the situation, the outlook is not that rosy. Much has been written that how the euphoria over the startup ecosystem is over. However, to write-off Indian startup ecosystem due to the current state of affairs will be naïve. This is because Indian startup sector is now more than two decades old. The country is home to third largest startup ecosystem in the world. It has more than 100 unicorns with some of them are also decacorns. According to a recent Nasscom-Zinnov report, more than 2,250 startups were added in the year 2021, over 600 more than in the previous year. Indian startups raised a combined amount of $24.1 billion in 2021, a two-fold increase over pre-Covid levels.
Importantly, these new-age companies have emerged as the most important engine of job creation in the Indian economy. In the last decade, the ecosystem has played a key role in creation of both direct and indirect job opportunities. According to the study, it has created 6.6 lakh direct jobs and more than 34.1 lakh indirect jobs during this period. Segments such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), edtech, retail and retail tech, foodtech, SCM (supply chain management) and logistics & mobility have emerged as the major job creators in this period. So, given the job created, the number of job losses remains just a minuscule part of the overall universe. Therefore, amplifying the message of trouble doesn't serve any purpose. Rather, it only spreads negativity. Startups like other sectors have to go through the process of evolution. All the established industries of today- operating in manufacturing or services sectors- have gone through this process. Startups can't be no exception. But those new-age companies, which will emerge from the current slowdown, will definitely be much more resilient and agile than others.
India has a huge young population. This mass requires gainful employment and startups are those engines of job creation which can absorb India's youth. In turn, the country can reap the real benefits of demographic dividend. Therefore, Indian startup ecosystem should be encouraged by all stakeholders including the government, private sector entities, policy makers and other interested parties. Entrepreneurship in India should be celebrated than ridiculed. Traditionally, Indian society doesn't encourage failures. But without failed attempts, the chance of creating a successful entity remains remote. So, India should encourage entrepreneurs to take risks. In this process, many gems will be created that will drive the next phase of growth in the country. Imagine a situation if companies like Tata or Reliance or Birla or Mahindra have not been created in India. These conglomerates have been possible due to risk taking ability of their founding fathers. Similarly, with supportive environment, India can create many such Tatas or Birlas out of India from the current group of startups. India, therefore, should celebrate entrepreneurship and should create more acceptance towards failures, failing which the country may miss the chance of being the global growth driver.