The Start-Up Domino Effect: Reel v/s Real

India has been ranked the fourth largest unicorn hub with its 96 unicorns. Recently, the very famous Physics Wallah, an ed- tech startup by Alakh Pandey raised $100 million and joined the list of unicorns in India.

In the past years, India has become a hub of immense number of possibilities in the field of entrepreneurship. It has now become an ongoing trend. Most of the people, once in a while, must have found themselves discussing the wave of start-ups. But, how many people do exactly know what a start-up actually is ?

It refers to an idea of business turned into a company in the initial stages of its operations.

Who hasn’t come across a meme related to Shark Tank India ? The first ever Indian reality TV show on Sony that got the audience, even the non – commerce and economics background, hooked. But, why so ? What was so engaging about this show that made it different from the other shows ? It gave a peek into the business world for the common people to understand how funding and investment works. And how the name of these big companies like and Lenskart that we hear today were merely just a business idea.

But, the idea of entrepreneurship is not new to India. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act, 2006 was enacted to facilitate the promotion, development and enhancing the competitiveness in this field. However, it is due to the media exposure that in recent times, the importance of self employment and job creation as a consequence has come to limelight.

The sequence of lockdowns in 2020 led to loss of many companies and forced them to lay off workers causing a rise in unemployment, but also worked in favour for some people to realise their own potential and start their own business. 

Here comes the concept of a creator economy. Many people who lost their jobs during the pandemic started creating content at their homes, posting it on online media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, monetizing it and earning the revenue. In defining terms, the creator economy is a category of businesses built by independent content creators. It includes social media influencers, bloggers, curators, community builders as well as the software and finance tools designed to help them build their networks and grow. For which, the most important factor is engagement. It is required for the viewers – the audience to scroll, watch and comment.

The boost to the creator economy in turn gave a boost to the gig and the passion economy as these are the subsets of each other. Gig economy, or to be more precise freelance economy, refers to a structure of free market where organisations hire independent workers or freelancers who work on temporary basis in many narrow services, like delivering groceries, etc. whereas The Passion Economy allows one to capitalize their passion and skills and earn money through it.

It has provided a lot of opportunities for the aspiring  entrepreneurs. For example, Ranveer Allhabadia started Monk Entertainment after establishing himself and his account as a brand. Even though these growing economies have attracted a lot of investors, there’s another side to it.

Startups like Vedantu, Unacademy, FrontRow, etc saw so many layoffs because of the crunch in funding.

Another factor was the difficulties faced by people during lockdown which also led to the development of some innovative business ideas.For example, Zepto – a ten minute grocery delivery app founded by two 19 year old entrepreneurs which was ideated amid the pandemic, thus filling the gap of instant delivery in ten minutes rather than a couple of days. However, one cannot ignore the pressure that the delivery person faces to deliver the product in such a limited and short period of time.

Similarly, there is a stark contrast between what is advertised and the ground reality of entrepreneurship. Understanding it through a typical middle class perspective.

A lot of people, especially from the middle class family lack knowledge regarding what entrepreneurship means and as a result, lesser involvement in this field.

The ingrained theory of salaried employment, i.e earning after the completion of studies has created a mindset amongst people of doing a nine to five job, because of the lesser risks it carries is another reason for the reluctance towards starting a business or encouraging the next generation of the family to be an entrepreneur or even enter the field.

Another major concern is in the rural areas, where emergence of entrepreneurship is the need of hour. There are a total of 100.5 million households in rural areas most of which are dependent on agricultural and allied activities, hence making it the main source of employment in these areas. In comparison, industry provides the main source of income in the urban areas.

The rural areas hold the potential of increasing the purchasing power of people, given the availability of raw materials would allow proper resource allocation and utilisation, would then encourage the rural youth to avoid migration and create employment generation.

Even though the government has introduced many initiatives to promote entrepreneurship like Start Up India, Single Point Registration Scheme, etc., people in rural areas have lesser knowledge regarding the same.The problem lies in the insufficient diversification of these schemes into rural areas, as a result, not allowing the aspiring rural entrepreneurs to scale up. 

Even though there are present startups who are contributing to employment generation in rural areas. For example, Meesho, famous for promoting women entrepreneurship. Most of them still face the problems like lack of social inputs like mentoring facilities, lack of risk-bearing capability to invest in the upcoming ventures and enterprising skills, economic inputs like easy accessibility and availability of credit and finance, functional inputs like technology and market

information like recent trends, etc and the topmost being the lack of incubation system which can help provide the above listed things.

Thus, a plan of action that combines entrepreneurship building with the development process has to be implemented. Because, if the above needs are fulfilled rightly, rural entrepreneurship has the potential to turn a developing country into a developed one.

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