Starting and managing their own business is what many youngsters are doing now.
As graduation day approaches, there is only one question on everyone’s mind. What next? Where will we go from here? Do we stay students or do we get employed? Do we go abroad or stay home? Do we follow our heart or our head? Lately, another question has been added to this growing list as well. Do I work for someone else or do I start up on my own?
Increasingly, fresh graduates are accepting the possibility that being on a payroll is not the only way to go. As more and more people embrace the opportunity of creating their own payrolls, the trend towards young entrepreneurship is on a significant increase. Still in their twenties and fresh to face the world, these people are all set to provide answers to problems they believe exist, without sitting back expecting solutions to emerge out of thin air. As Naresh Ram of ‘Book Lovers’ Program for Schools’, which looks to spread the joy of reading to school children around the city, puts it “There are more start-ups today than ever before. We live in exciting times.”
Entrepreneurship as a viable career option is definitely a new trend in India. Our traditional understandings of success and well-being have always been undeniably linked with finding a “stable” job, one that will pay the bills on time.
Sharanya Haridas, student and founder of ‘That’s So Gloss!’ believes that the one thing that holds people back from taking the leap is a perceived lack of know-how. When asked how many people her age seriously consider starting up, her answer is simple. “Not enough.” Naresh blames the traditional rejection of entrepreneurship on a “lack of discipline and a fear of failure.” As Julia Beliak, 19-year-old Russian serial entrepreneur who harbours her dreams of working in India explains, “A main factor in encouraging entrepreneurship is how one’s culture accepts failure and risk taking. It has a direct impact on whether people will start up or not.”
Economic backgrounds are also at play and, as Naresh puts it, “gender bias exists but women are equally aware and are tapping the opportunities that come their way.
It would help if people realise entrepreneurship isn’t a ‘cool’ tag to flaunt. Don’t start-up until you are ready to face the challenges.” Sharanya adds on, “If there was one mindset change I could make, it would be that scalability makes all the difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner.”
Whether it is because of the influx of information or the ease of reaching out to the global village, today, youngsters from around the world can choose to be their own boss and dig for their own answers. Sharanya speaks for them all when she says “It is a question of finding solutions to a problem that moves you enough.” Yet, the one thing that young entrepreneurs from around the world seem to agree upon is that entrepreneurship is a way of life. While Julia claims it is a way to see the world, Naresh believes success follows only if you give it everything. Whether it be in Russia or India, entrepreneurs seem to be the emerging trend in youth employment and for good reason. If we cannot answer our own problems, who will?
The writer is a student of Humanities at IIT-Madras.