"There are venture capitalists in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, but Kerala has none,” says N. R. Panicker, chairman and founder of Accel Group.
All big ventures start from small ideas. Quite a number of people have novel concepts that could be developed into big ventures. But most of them are stillborn.
To sow the seeds of an enterprise, money is a pre-requisite. Getting financial support from banks to support an enterprise in the conceptual stage is no easy task. The entrepreneur will have to depend on venture capitalists who can invest in projects that smell success. Several budding ideas have flowered thanks to a few venture capitalists. Lack of such funding agents is a serious handicap in the path of entrepreneurship.
“There are venture capitalists in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, but Kerala has none,” observes N.R. Panicker, Chairman and founder of Accel Group, a Chennai based global IT conglomerate. The absence of such funding groups also indicates the state of affairs in the development of new enterprises in Kerala.
“But that is no serious cause to worry because their services could be utilised in Kerala too”, he said in a chat with The Hindu. “It is the passion, sustainability and vision that guide the entrepreneur.”
Mr.Panicker, an engineering graduate from Thiruvananthapuram engineering college, started his venture with an investment of Rs.10,000 two decades ago. Accel is a multi-location and multi-service organization, operating in India, Middle East, Singapore, Japan, UK and the US. Accel employs more than 4,000 professionals in its various divisions now. Accel has strong base in Kerala, with software development centres at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Info Park in Kochi; Accel animation studios at the Film and Video Park in Thiruvanathapuram; and an electronic product manufacturing unit at Thiruvananthapuram. Accel also runs a chain of career development centres in major towns of Kerala.
It needs a lot of mental courage, strength and effort to sow the seeds of a venture and nurture it to the flowering stage. Taking lessons from successful entrepreneurs and getting necessary financial support are crucial in the growth an enterprise, he said.
Often, banks fail to fund projects which are in the conceptual stage, but there are ‘angel investors’ who are ready to invest in novel enterprises. “There are angel investors in Chennai and Bangalore. There is also an angel investors’ network in India”.
Flipkart, Bharatmatrimony and a host of multi-crore ventures were all started in a humble way. The success could be replicated by anyone who has the entrepreneurial fire within, says Mr. Panicker.
Venture capitalists are experienced in handling funding situation. They take the risk of funding projects on the condition of partly owning the venture. “Mentoring is important. A culture of entrepreneurship needs to be ushered in to invite the attention of leaders in the industry to cultivate a new generation of entrepreneurs.”