Look Beyond Obvious Markets

Ronnie Screwvala: Look Beyond the Obvious Markets

by Ronnie Screwvala, Forbes, May 19, 2014

Create a system that encourages enterprise and unearths new markets. This is a tough path that NEEDS thinking outside the box
Ronnie Screwvala: Look Beyond the Obvious Markets
Ronnie Screwvala Founder and Advisor, Unilazer Ventures. A first-generation entrepreneur who founded UTV with interests in television, motion pictures and mobile games, and successfully sold it to global entertainment giant Disney. He has ventured into investing now

India is at a decisive turn in its existence. All political coalitions in the fray know that of the approximately 820 million people casting their ballot, a considerable figure of 23 million—approximately the population of Australia—are first-time voters. Their aspirations are vastly different from what they were even five years ago. Therefore, the new government’s approach, too, needs to be different from that of its predecessors.

I’d like to suggest two key prescriptions: First, create an ecosystem conducive to fostering first-generation entrepreneurship; this, in turn, can generate millions of job opportunities in the new sectors they venture into. Second, focus on the untapped masses of consumers in rural India to create new domestic markets. The country cannot aim for inclusive growth if the aspirations of rural India are not respected and integrated into the development narrative. Exploring India’s domestic potential can fuel India’s growth along the lines of the Chinese economic model of the past decade.

I have often been asked why I consistently evangelise fostering an environment that nurtures first-generation entrepreneurs. Most governments since Independence have focussed largely on capacity building or skill development to create livelihood opportunities as key measures for poverty alleviation. While these need to be continued, we also have to produce fresh avenues for first-generation entrepreneurs to emerge and develop. Sustained employment generation requires out-of-the-box thinking, breaking into new markets and creating new masses of consumers.

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