Celebrating World Entrepreneurship Day: Igniting Innovation and Growth in India
India’s entrepreneurship landscape has undergone a remarkable shift, with shining examples that illuminate its transformative journey. Paytm, a trailblazer in the digital payments realm, has revolutionised the way Indians transact, bringing financial inclusion to millions. Zerodha’s disruptive approach to trading has shaken up traditional brokerage models, enabling a new generation of investors to participate in the stock market. Nykaa’s rise in the beauty e-commerce sector showcases how Indian entrepreneurs can identify niche markets and cater to them with unmatched precision. These success stories aren’t just individual triumphs; they symbolise India’s economic growth, job creation, and enhanced global stature.
The diversity within India’s entrepreneurial landscape is striking. Government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ have encouraged innovation across sectors, nurturing start-ups like AgroStar that utilise technology to empower farmers or Ola that has transformed urban transportation. These ventures not only solve local challenges, but also serve as models for other nations grappling with similar issues.
The entrepreneurs of today are leveraging their tech-savvy nature to develop solutions that address diverse problems. For instance, Dunzo, a hyperlocal delivery service, emerged from the need to simplify daily tasks. Byju’s, a learning platform, is transforming education through digital means, reaching millions of students. These start-ups exemplify how young minds are driving innovation while making a positive impact on society.
As we celebrate World Entrepreneurship Day today (August 21, 2023), Adgully reached out to various entrepreneurs to understand how the entrepreneurial landscape of India is changing.
Shankar Prasad, Founder & CEO, Plum:
“It certainly is easier to start and operate a business than it was, say, 10 years ago. Several incentives given to MSMEs and as part of Startup India have eased documentation and filing requirements. The introduction of GST, which was tough on small businesses initially, has over the long run somewhat reduced the burden on indirect tax compliance, although a lot can still be done to simplify things. Most government touchpoints with businesses nowadays operate through online interfaces, which makes for faster and more efficient clearances. Overall development in infrastructure (still underway) has made remote regions more accessible, thus widening the available market for ecommerce. Lastly, a stable banking system, largely stable currency and a predictable legal system have attracted billions of dollars of foreign capital which in turn has helped foster innovation and growth.”
Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, White Rivers Media:
“India has always been known for its innovative streak and talent pool, and the surge in entrepreneurial endeavours in India signifies a profound continuation of that spirit. The new generation of innovators and advancing opportunities have propelled India’s rapid economic growth over the past years. The country's diverse sectors showcase remarkable success stories, epitomising its dynamic entrepreneurial landscape. From technology-driven sectors like IT and space tech to fintech and edtech, Indian start-ups are globally influential, reshaping industries and establishing new markets. This evolution is fueled by factors such as the nation’s abundant skilled talent, supportive governmental policies, and thriving start-up ecosystem, garnering international attention from both investors and entrepreneurs. The demographic advantage, with a young and talented population having a median age of only 28 years, further amplifies the potential. With an expanding and technologically enriched digital infrastructure, India offers a conducive environment for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, reflecting its vital role in the country's ongoing economic transformation.”
Ameve Sharma, Founder, Kapiva:
“As the Founder of Kapiva, I am proud to witness and share how India is supporting entrepreneurs with multiple start-up schemes to provide assistance to emerging start-ups and foster entrepreneurship in the country, like the Atal Innovation Scheme. The ‘Make in India’ campaign stands as a cornerstone, nurturing both entrepreneurship and manufacturing. By simplifying regulations, offering financial aid, and promoting skill development, the government cultivates an ecosystem ripe for innovation. Just as Ayurveda promotes well-being, these initiatives rejuvenate the entrepreneurial landscape, allowing emerging talents to thrive. These initiatives balance modern innovation with traditional values, creating a path for more homegrown brands like Kapiva to thrive.”
Sudhanshu Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Citykart Retail:
“Retail players are increasingly targeting Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities due to the rapid growth of the value fashion retail market and the integration of technology with retail in the digital India era is transforming consumer interactions and expectations. Retail entrepreneurs are driving India into a new era by addressing various challenges and providing personalised experiences to attract customers. The evolution of retail demonstrates resilience and adaptability, with consumer aspirations playing a key role in shaping the future marketplace.”
Beas Dev Ralhan , CEO, Next Education:
“On this World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we celebrate the spirit of innovation and resilience that defines entrepreneurs worldwide. Entrepreneurship drives economic growth and transformation, demanding dedication and the vision to see opportunities in challenges. As CEO of Next Education, I lead a passionate team dedicated to revolutionising education through technology. Our entrepreneurial spirit fuels innovation and empowers educators and students. Here's to the entrepreneurs who dare to dream, defy the odds, and believe in their ability to make a difference. Happy World Entrepreneurs' Day! Together, we are the architects of progress.”
Vishal Gupta, Founder, Gynoveda:
“As a founder, I’ve witnessed the firsthand impact of the Make in India initiative, empowering small and medium enterprises with global best practices. The Ayurveda sector is no exception. The AYUSH Entrepreneurship Development program, introduced in 2020 through a collaboration between AYUSH and MSME ministries, is opening doors for both new and established entrepreneurs. This program addresses the surging global demand for Ayurvedic treatments, enabling founders to seize the opportunity to launch clinics or outlets that facilitate the export of Indian Ayurvedic products and services. By nurturing skilled professionals under expert mentorship, we enhance the quality of our treatments while driving economic growth. This strategy not only caters to demand but also fosters new enterprises and employment opportunities. It’s incredible to be a part of this journey where tradition meets global entrepreneurship, benefiting both our businesses and India’s economy.”
Lavinn Rajpal, MD & Co-founder, Chimp&z Inc:
"Being an entrepreneur entails more than the investment of your time, finances, and energy into your business. It necessitates a profound embrace of ambiguity and an unwavering comfort with consistently confronting challenges. Guiding and overseeing a business's evolution is an inherently demanding undertaking, and the proactive measures undertaken by governments to foster the growth of startups and entrepreneurs invariably prove invaluable. Schemes such as Startup India, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, and Standup India are all aimed at fostering an environment conducive to business innovation and growth by providing startups with access to capital, mentorship, and infrastructure. The government's efforts to promote entrepreneurship are bearing fruit. The number of startups in India has been growing rapidly in recent years, and the country is now home to some of the most successful startups in the world. These startups are creating jobs, driving innovation, and contributing to the country's economic growth."
Harkunwar Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Novatr:
“We, at Novatr, commend the government’s dedication to nurturing entrepreneurship in India. Programs like ‘Startup India’ and ‘Atal Innovation Mission’ offer crucial financial support and encourage creative thinking, creating a fertile environment for budding entrepreneurs. I strongly believe that education forms the base for all our future endeavours. In India, there are countless untapped possibilities to modernise and make education more accessible, preparing individuals for what lies ahead. This has led to a surge in edtech start-ups that are inspired by the achievements of big players in the field. In the last three years, six edtech start-ups have achieved a billion-dollar status. ‘Make in India’ takes this even further by boosting local businesses and providing emerging entrepreneurs with job opportunities. Currently, India ranks as the world’s third-largest start-up hub, and this trend appears to be on a positive trajectory for the future.”
Dilip Modi, Founder, Spice Money:
“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving industrial growth and expanding economies. India now stands as the third-largest global hub for start-ups, boasting 107 unicorns worth $340.79 billion collectively, projected to grow to 250 by 2025 according to The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022. These innovative start-ups have successfully tackled challenges in IT, education, healthcare, and agriculture, garnering global recognition. Entrepreneurs embody the essence of dreamers, risk-takers, and innovators who are reshaping the world.
My entrepreneurial journey is a tapestry woven with innovation, determination, and an unyielding pursuit of impact. I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey early in life, envisioning technology as a force capable of reshaping landscapes, transcending boundaries, and serving as a key enabler for achieving inclusive growth. Through diverse endeavours, I’ve discovered that entrepreneurship’s true power lies in empowering and driving meaningful change, beyond mere profits. My journey emphasises that an entrepreneur’s legacy isn’t measured solely in personal gains, but in the positive impact on individuals, communities, and the larger society. The successful journey of Spice Money taught me that even audacious ideas can flourish when driven by genuine service and empowerment and how collective wisdom can elevate communities. Through its innovative platform, it empowers youth, unlocking their inner entrepreneur, and creating a path for them to become “nanopreneurs”. Currently, Spice Money has a network of more than 12.7 lakh Adhikari/ nanopreneurs, serving and positively impacting the lives of people in emerging India. This forward-looking initiative not only champions entrepreneurship but also envisions a future where the youth take centre stage in shaping the business landscape. On this World Entrepreneurs Day, I would like to celebrate the indomitable spirit of entrepreneurship and extend my heartfelt appreciation to all the dedicated entrepreneurs who relentlessly endeavour to propel India’s trajectory to new heights.”
Rahul Pagidipati, CEO, ZebPay:
“Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind progress, pushing boundaries and redefining possibilities. In my journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of resilience and determination. It’s not just about the wins; it’s about the lessons learned from failures and the unwavering commitment to keep moving forward. The start-up ecosystem, especially in India, is a testament to the incredible resourcefulness and creativity that entrepreneurs bring to the table. In the ever-evolving landscape of technology start-ups, there’s a dynamic synergy between innovation and entrepreneurship. The world of crypto, in particular, exemplifies this convergence.
According to a Gartner survey, the market value of blockchain technology is anticipated to surge to $3.1 trillion by the start of the next decade. Tech entrepreneurs have the opportunity to harness the potential of blockchain and crypto to enhance financial systems and foster financial inclusion on a global scale. As we navigate a world of rapid technological advancements, entrepreneurs must stay adaptable and open to new ideas. Embracing the transformative potential of blockchain can lead to groundbreaking solutions in areas such as decentralised finance, supply chain management, and beyond. I strongly believe that these technologies offer not only financial empowerment but also a new paradigm for transparent and secure transactions. I will continue to work towards fostering an environment that nurtures and supports the goal of providing equitable access to financial independence for all.”
Avinash Shekhar, CEO & Founder, TaxNodes:
“In the realm of entrepreneurship, India stands out as a beacon of transparency and credibility. Its tech startup arena ranks third globally, a testament to our unwavering innovation. The entrepreneurs here exhibit remarkable resilience, transforming visions into reality. World Entrepreneurs' Day shines a spotlight on the vibrant spirit of innovation in India. Here, more people are taking the exciting leap into entrepreneurship, crafting their own paths to success. It's a reminder that starting something new isn't limited by age or conventional expectations. My journey with TaxNodes, a platform designed to simplify crypto taxation, is a testament to the power of creativity, resilience, and the pursuit of impact. Just as every entrepreneur faces challenges, we've navigated the complexities of taxation to simplify and empower.
This day applauds not only accomplishments but also the inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who choose a unique road. As we celebrate, let’s recognise how the entrepreneurial spirit, when embraced, can reshape lives and make a lasting impact. In this dynamic scenario, TaxNodes emerges as a catalyst, empowering investors to seamlessly navigate regulations. We provide an array of tools and resources for comprehending crypto taxation and making informed investment decisions. Our mission aligns with an evolving future, marked by creativity and economic growth.”
Nick Bahl, Co-Founder, ReelStar:
“Recently, India emerged as the third largest tech start-up ecosystem in the world, according to a report by NASSCOM. This is a testament to the unwavering spirit of innovation and the boundless determination that entrepreneurs infuse into the business landscape in this country. I applaud every entrepreneur’s courage to resilience in the face of adversity, and their ability to turn dreams into realities. Our journey with ReelStar has been a story of translating vision into action, of breaking down barriers, and of relentless pursuit of excellence. Along this journey, we’ve learned invaluable lessons – the significance of adaptability, the power of embracing change, and the art of balancing risk with strategic foresight. This day is a reminder that entrepreneurship isn’t just about business; it’s about a mindset – a willingness to challenge norms and create meaningful impact.
As we mark World Entrepreneurs’ Day, I see ReelStar as a cornerstone of change. Our platform catalyses transformation, offering creators tools to monetise their passion. In India, where the creator economy grows at 25%, ReelStar becomes the springboard for their dreams. This aligns with our belief that the future embraces decentralised frameworks, amplifying creativity, connection, and economic prosperity.”
Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO, Wiggles:
“World Entrepreneurs’ Day highlights the vibrant innovation landscape in India. Strategic programs by the government, such as ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make in India’, have fostered a thriving business ecosystem. Because of this, new age ideas have flourished and have had an impact on fields like technology and healthcare. India's potential is exemplified by success stories across industries like Wiggles in the pet care space. Entrepreneurs fuel economic expansion by utilising ‘Make in India’ to produce high-quality goods. Initiatives have energised entrepreneurs by opening opportunities for finance, mentoring, and reducing red tape. As we rejoice, let’s recognise these accomplishments and reaffirm our commitment to turning obstacles into opportunities. Together, we advance the story of entrepreneurship in India by creating an innovative, inclusive, and future where every idea matters.”
Krishna Reddy, Co-Founder, Nourish You:
“As we celebrate World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we are witnessing an unprecedented era of technological empowerment that transcends geographical boundaries. The global marketplace has opened its doors to all, regardless of origin, fostering innovation and change on a monumental scale. At a historic juncture, technology has empowered humanity like never before. The world has transformed into a global market accessible to all, enabling cross-border collaborations and innovation. Taking our own journey at Nourish You, we found a global audience at Gulfood, Dubai. Products like Millet Milk, originating from Hyderabad, India, demonstrate how a simple yet innovative idea can capture global attention. Nourish You now exports to more than 5 countries. Nourish You's Millet Mlk, a convenient way to make superfoods accessible, has attracted global leaders' interest. This underscores the potential of localised innovations to create global impacts.”
Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace:
“On World Entrepreneurship Day, Garuda Aerospace acknowledges the significant efforts made by the Indian government to promote entrepreneurship. Initiatives like ‘Startup India’ have played a pivotal role in creating an environment for business innovation and growth. These initiatives offer support to start-ups by providing them with benefits such as funding opportunities and simplified regulatory processes. Garuda Aerospace has harnessed these initiatives to propel its growth and excellence. By leveraging government-backed support, Garuda Aerospace has been able to focus on cutting-edge research, training programs, and technological advancements. These initiatives have not only nurtured an environment conducive to business innovation but have also positioned Garuda Aerospace as a trailblazer in the Drone tech industry.
Start-ups like Zomato and Swiggy have transformed the food delivery industry, while Paytm has revolutionised digital payments and much more. Through their innovations, these entrepreneurs are not only driving economic growth but also inspiring others to embark on similar journeys of innovation and entrepreneurship. Make in India has truly transformed entrepreneurs like us at Garuda Aerospace. It gives us a big stage to show our homegrown innovation and technology skills to the world. This focus on self-reliance inspires us to do even better, improving our products and abilities. As we play our part in India's growth, 'Make in India' is at the heart of our commitment to building a strong and self-sufficient business environment.”
Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI:
“Make in India has undeniably reshaped the entrepreneurial landscape in India, inspiring a wave of innovation and growth across industries. This initiative has encouraged entrepreneurs to explore domestic manufacturing, promoting self-reliance and reducing dependency on imports. It has provided a platform for emerging businesses to showcase their capabilities, leading to the creation of homegrown products that resonate with both Indian and global consumers. Through various policy reforms and incentives, ‘Make in India’ has simplified the process of setting up businesses, enabling entrepreneurs to navigate regulatory complexities more efficiently.
The benefits reaped by emerging entrepreneurs from ‘Make in India’ are substantial. Firstly, it has opened doors to a vast consumer base by promoting products that cater to local preferences. This has not only boosted sales but has also enhanced brand recognition and loyalty. Secondly, the emphasis on manufacturing has led to the development of indigenous technologies, reducing costs and creating a competitive advantage for start-ups. Additionally, the initiative’s focus on skill development and innovation has empowered entrepreneurs to enhance their offerings and tap into evolving market demands. It has provided emerging entrepreneurs with a supportive ecosystem, enabling them to thrive, innovate, and contribute significantly to India's economic growth journey.”
Ranjan Chopra, MD & CEO Team Computers:
“As a firm believer in the transformative power of innovation, witnessing India's dynamic initiatives to propel homegrown brands forward fills me with immense enthusiasm.
The canvas of entrepreneurship is expanding through ingenious programs like ‘Startup India’, which nurtures aspiring leaders with tax incentives and valuable guidance. StandUp India’s commitment to inclusivity resonates, fostering opportunities for underrepresented talents to embark on their business. Atal Innovation Mission roots innovation at its grassroots, engaging students through experiential labs and nurturing environments. Make in India not only sparks economic growth but also fuels the entrepreneurial spirit by championing local production.
Digital India’s tech impetus empowers start-ups, while MUDRA Yojana’s accessible loans provide crucial initial momentum. With streamlined processes and state-level policies, India is sculpting an environment where entrepreneurship thrives at its vibrant core. The path ahead holds exciting promise for all of us who champion innovation’s cause.”
Nirav Choksi, CEO & Co-founder at CredAble:
"The Indian government has embarked on a series of strategic initiatives designed to catalyze entrepreneurship within the nation in recent years. These endeavors have collectively facilitated an environment ripe for business innovation and expansion, underpinned by a comprehensive suite of incentives and support mechanisms. Foremost among these initiatives is the Startup India program, which extends a spectrum of advantages to nascent businesses. These encompass tax concessions, funding opportunities, and invaluable mentorship resources. This initiative serves as a cornerstone in the government's efforts to bolster the entrepreneurial landscape. Another critical initiative, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), has been instrumental in providing crucial financial backing to small-scale enterprises. By offering accessible loans, it has empowered countless entrepreneurs, fostering economic dynamism.
In addition, the Stand-Up India scheme has made significant strides by extending financial support exclusively to women and individuals from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) backgrounds. This inclusivity has augmented opportunities for underrepresented groups in the entrepreneurial realm. The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is yet another vital component of India's entrepreneurial ecosystem. AIM has been an agent of change by actively promoting innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the nation."
Ankur Singh, Founder and CEO, Witzeal Technologies:
"Reflecting on our entrepreneurial Journey, we can proudly say that India's entrepreneurial landscape has experienced a remarkable surge, showcasing inspiring success stories across diverse sectors. Consider, for instance, HealthTech Innovations, which has left an indelible mark by assisting patients across various domains. Harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence, they are democratizing healthcare access, linking rural communities with remote medical expertise. Moreover, these enterprising young minds have ventured into multifarious realms including AgriTech, revolutionizing agriculture through precision farming technologies, as well as Beauty and Fintech, among other innovative ventures. These entrepreneurial endeavors embody resilience and innovation, significantly contributing to India's economic growth and societal progress."
Ashish Singhal, Co-founder and CEO, CoinSwitch
"Our global product was doing well, and the company was profitable, yet we believed there was a market to be captured. India’s retail users needed a platform built for them. It was a risk, and many doubted us, but we had the conviction. The hustle never ceased. The CoinSwitch app was launched sometime in June 2020, and we immediately started seeing some success. In October 2021, CoinSwitch was valued at $1.9 billion. It was only then I made money as a startup founder. After four years of building a product with no guarantee of success beyond our conviction, we saw some success. In the trenches of the bear market, we built CoinSwitch PRO, a multiple-exchange platform for advanced traders. It was immediately well-received by traders. And when the market tide turned early this year, PRO was well prepared to meet the needs. I believe success is a moving target, and never overnight. What you build in the bear market will be ready for growth when the tide turns. Hard times create strong individuals, and tough markets shape great products."
Vineet Khanna- Co-founder, Supertails:
"It's inspiring to acknowledge the pivotal initiatives by the government to propel entrepreneurship in India. Schemes like "Startup India" have been transformative. They offer a blend of tax benefits, simplified compliance, and access to funding, fostering an ecosystem that's ripe for innovation. These initiatives have paved the way for aspiring entrepreneurs like me to navigate the challenges with confidence, fostering innovation and job creation. In recent years, the Indian entrepreneurial spirit has ignited across various sectors, generating impactful success stories. For instance, in the tech realm, Flipkart's journey from a startup to an e-commerce giant has been inspirational. Ola disrupted the transportation sector with innovative ride-sharing solutions. Zomato's global footprint exemplifies the potential of Indian startups. As a founder myself, witnessing these strides reflects our nation's potential for innovation and economic transformation."