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Evangelise the entrepreneurship

Zafar Anjum | April 29, 2013
In a wide-ranging interview, Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, India, speaks of the three pillars of startups, the Singapore scene, the new direction of the Indian IT industry, and corporate governance.

So this has led to a resurgence of new startups. Young companies who are not looking at global markets first, they are looking at Indian markets, solving an Indian problem which they are closer to. So, a new infrastructure is getting built. What they are doing is building applications on mobile and Internet and Internet commerce. A lot of people are coming up and disrupting new business models. It's exciting times for us.

We believe that India's human capital would continue to be a major asset. We have three million young people who work in our industry and the average age is 26 or 27, in that range and I think they are very adept at changing and getting used to new technologies. We have a market which is growing and irrespective of how many issues we have in the country, and we have issues, and we are looking at how business environment can be improved in a lot of ways but I think there is business to do and money to make and that is keeping us driving things.

For us, our business used to be in six to seven large cities and now we are seeing proliferation happening in smaller cities. I just ran into somebody here who told me he is from Indore and I asked him what he was doing here and he said he just came to see what is going on and he is an entrepreneur. So you don't necessarily have entrepreneurs coming out of only Chennai and Delhi and Bangalore but even from smaller cities. So that is very broadly what is going on. As Nasscom, our role is to be in front, look at how we can support. So we have just launched a very major initiative two weeks back. Eric Schmidt was with us when we launched it.

Startups in India 

Yes, I saw read about that in the media.

So this is "10,000 Startups" (programme) and we really have three pillars there. One is to evangelise the entrepreneurship. Youngsters who are still in college and have great ideas but they have always been discouraged to look at that as a business. They have always been encouraged to take a job and how do we ensure that we can evangelise that it is okay for you to become an entrepreneur. So that's a lot of programmes.

The second is we feel that while younger people they have ideas, they don't have all the capabilities that are required for entrepreneurial capabilities. So, how do we ensure that we help them through various ways; understand and build that capacity and capability.

The third is early stage hand-holding - mentorship, incubation, funding. We are not going to reinvent the wheel but we are actually aggregating as there are lots of stuff happening, lot of incubators, accelerators, mentors, doing stuff. So, we are actually trying to provide an umbrella and replace that. Google, Microsoft, VeriSign have already partnered with us, Indian Engine Electro has partnered with us and I think we are now launching this very major (programme).


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