Gautam Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Cross Border Recruiter Exchange (CBREX), a start-up platform that facilitates handshakes among small and medium sized recruiting firms with their counterparts in other countries, talks about the official push being given to the whole concept of start ups in India. The seed investor, who has mentored technology start-ups, feels that ease of doing business is the only wish of a start-up entrepreneur.
Q: How easy is it to begin a start-up in India?
A: If one is a graduate from a premier organisation or has worked in a reputed company, raising capital and starting a new venture is not that difficult. So, that problem to some extent has been solved. Today there are enough venture capitalists who can write cheques for a fresh graduate. Funding could be a big challenge for those who do not pass-out from these elite institutions. That is where the government’s start-up funds can help. I would say that one can start in India because, for the first time, we have a huge population of netizens in our country. India has 350 million people on the Internet. And this gives an entrepreneur access to a large market. Their cost of accessing the market is coming down due to the ongoing Internet revolution. And going forward, the 4G technology would change the game in India’s favour.
Q: Do you think that India’s socio-economic conditions are conducive enough to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit?
A: Today, India is where America was just after the Second World War. The great entrepreneurial wave unleashed in the US after 1945 made America what it is today. In India, entrepreneurship has swung 180 degrees since the mid-nineties, when entrepreneurship was unheard of or frowned upon. Indians are far more confident, educated and much more aware now. A very huge aspirational momentum is being built-up in our country, similar to the one America witnessed, and it is driving up the entrepreneurial spirit among Indians. Young India is not looking for handouts. They are looking for a business-friendly environment. Moreover, there is also a realisation that the government cannot create jobs for all the graduates passing out each year. So, there is an imperative to encourage entrepreneurship to gainfully engage our younger spirits.
Q: A lot of official push is being given to start-ups across all sectors here. How convinced are you about such a push?
A: The present NDA government is probably the first government in India which has recognised the fact that India needs to be an entrepreneurial country. Digital India, for example, is a huge official push. Ease of setting-up a new venture or exiting it is what a new entrepreneur is aspiring for. The government is sensitive to such demands. I am convinced that the government is serious about unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of the country.
Q: Do you think that India should have a well defined policy on start-ups as we had for the IT sector in the nineties?
A: As far as the start-ups are concerned, we are moving in the right direction. We may have a dedicated policy on start-ups, but we certainly do not need over regulation. What we need is some fixes here and there like ease of starting a new business. An entrepreneur wants less of bureaucracy and a single-window start. Adhering to taxation laws should be business friendly. If these things get sorted out, I am sure we will do well even without a policy.
Q: Can start-up India and Digital India drive-up the country’s poor record at innovation and inventions?
A: Today, most of the start-ups that are coming out of India are simply copies of the West. As far as original invention counts, we are still miles away. We can still innovate to improve our socio-economic conditions. I am sure that if these movements really catch on, then of course, it would be a different ball game altogether.