Business Today

The ebullient entrepreneurs

They’re doing just fine in India, thank you.

     Print Edition: January 27, 2008

The phrase ‘against all odds’ is often used while describing the success story of almost every Indian entrepreneur. And why not? Lack of funding, poor infrastructure and the ability to find and hire quality manpower plagues budding entrepreneurs more than their comfortably ensconced counterparts in India. But a recent nationwide survey of 300 entrepreneurs by consulting major KPMG and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) found that the entrepreneurs were reasonably confident about their ecosystem.

“On a scale of 5, entrepreneurs have scored India at 3.10 on their confidence about their ecosystem. That’s really surprising considering the kind of infrastructure and financing options that are available in the market today,” says Pradeep Udhas, Head-Markets, KPMG India.

“But then again it’s a reflection of the overall business confidence that Indian businesses have right now.” Overall infrastructure, followed by manpower and finance were rated as the three most important factors for fostering entrepreneurial growth. The study that was done across 10 states also threw up interesting results as far as the confidence levels of entrepreneurs in various states were concerned. Kerala (3..80), Uttar Pradesh (3.39), Maharashtra (3.28) and Tamil Nadu (3.13) scored higher than the national average (3.10). At the same time, some developed states like Andhra Pradesh (3.02), Gujarat (2.70) and Karnataka (2.85) scored below the national average.

“You must remember that the study maps entrepreneurs’ confidence levels. Hence it is more a reflection of their perceptions and expectations and not a perfect reflection of ground-level activity.

It’s definitely not a ranking,” says Sridhar Iyengar of TiE, who coauthored the report. “For example, Gujarat despite its robust onground infrastructure scores much lower in the confidence index below the national average. That may be because entrepreneurs in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have higher expectations as compared to their counterparts in most other states,” adds Iyengar.

Kerala on the other hand got higher scores probably because of a renewed focus to develop its services sector and lower expectations from its entrepreneurial community. Uttar Pradesh’s higher scores were largely because of its respondent base largely being from Noida and Ghaziabad. Karnataka, clearly, suffers from low scores due to a case of ‘Bangalore angst’.

Another surprising insight that the survey threw up was that entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector appeared to be more confident (3.32) as compared to those in the services sector (3.09)—probably again a case of higher expectations from the latter.

The survey also attempted to track the confidence levels of entrepreneurs across various stages of the entrepreneurial lifecycle. Start-up and growth-stage companies scored higher than early-stage companies.

T.V. Mahalingam

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