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Owning A Startup: Welcome The New Cool

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In the 1990s, the coolest thing to do in college was probably to own a rock band. But this is 2016. As Bob Dylan would say, ‘The Times They are a Changin’. So, in 2016, what’s the coolest thing to do in college? It is to own a start-up.

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No kidding! There are several instances of ambitious college kids barely into their twenties starting companies from their hostel dorms. There are more people who quit their jobs with the ambition of starting their own ventures. Gone are the days when the middle-class Indian would be happy with his routine job at an MNC. Today’s youth ditches the safety of the cubicle to embrace the uncertainties of the garage.

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With the honorable Prime Minister launching Startup India earlier this year, the startup culture in India is set to grow in leaps and bounds. Whether this is a temporary fad or a megatrend is not clear yet. But one thing’s for sure: at the moment, the Indian Youth is full of ambitious entrepreneurs burning the midnight oil in their garages to create the next million-dollar companies.

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What is it exactly that attracts the youth towards entrepreneurship?

Steve Jobs once said, “It is much more exciting to be a pirate than a navy seal”. And it is perhaps the pirate spirit of youngsters that draws them towards entrepreneurship. In fact, entrepreneurship in spirit is similar to Rock’n Roll. We are all aware of the disruptive nature of startups. Flipkart and Snapdeal changed the way Indians shop whereas Ola practically obliterated the problem of looking for a taxi at odd hours. These companies are valued at billions and their founders are multimillionaires at the late twenties or early thirties.

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But almost all successful entrepreneurs will tell you that money isn’t the motivator.

It is about the satisfaction of creating something, of making a greater impact. Pitchers, TVF’s famous series on entrepreneurship narrated the tale of engineers forsaking their mundane jobs in search of the place ‘where magic happens’. The popularity of such startup stories is an indicator of the entrepreneurial pulse of the country. TVF itself is a startup which is causing a stir in the world of entertainment.

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The Social and Economic Conditions are Conducive Too

Prior to 1990s when most enterprises were state owned, entrepreneurs were at best founders of small scale industries. With the economic reforms of 1991 came the advent of the multitude of MNCs. A job at a prestigious multinational became the yardstick of social status. Finally in the later half of the noughties with the advent of social media and the birth of the smartphone, e-commerce arrived in India, signaling the beginning of the Indian startup story. Today Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors abound in India. From consumer goods and services to healthcare, every single segment is under attack by ambitious startups. While most of these die in the early stages, the ones that survive go on to change lives, create jobs, increase GDP and boost the economy.

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Driven by the spirit of jugaad and a predilection for risk the Indian entrepreneurs are writing an important chapter in history. The rock stars of yester years are the entrepreneurs of the present day. The message is loud and clear: The startup juggernaut isn’t stopping anytime soon.


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