India has recently banned the Chinese apps which include major platforms like TikTok and Weibo. It started a debate that why doesn’t India have such companies?
From a young teenager to old ones looking into their mobile phones, everyone seems to have an opinion about it. I have tried to take another approach instead of complaining about this problem, I went deep to find reasons why India lacks entrepreneurs from the societal and educational point of view. Certainly, India doesn’t lack talent. If you look at the big companies like Google, Microsoft, or even government agency NASA. You will find Indians contributing at every level of those companies. So, what is stopping Indians from starting their own business?
Indian society is designed in such a way that education is considered to be the foremost priority. Every parent does their best to make their child at least graduate. That is a good thing but that comes with a price that education kills creativity. Students with good memory skills are more likely to get higher marks than those with better creative skills, which forces the creative students to focus more on memory which inhibits them from practicing their creativity. I have prepared a few everyday examples that are responsible for such a situation:
- Lack of Business courses in schools: There are no business courses involved in the Indian schooling system. It is all about knowledge. The more you can learn, the better you are. Business education is considered to be something which can only be taught in colleges. Business schools cost a lot of money and there is a huge competition if you want to get into a good one. This myth has to leave that if you want to start a business then you have to be a business school graduate. If you look at the data then we see only a quarter of the 50 unicorn startups with the world’s highest valuations with at least one MBA as a founder, according to data analyzed by BSchools.
- Promoting memory skills: Innovative thoughts can be more or less considered a curse in the Indian education system. A kid has so many questions but as he grows older he doesn’t have any. Schools focus more on bookish knowledge. Closed exams are ruining everything as they force students in memorizing things rather than solving problems. Questions asked in exams should be design based. It can be done in any subject where a student is forced to use his innovative thoughts. No answer will be wrong there, but you will see something that fixed answers will never give. Remembering some formulas and just using them to get marks is not doing any good. If you ask someone what do you need a high-end processor or a large size storage device, they will always prefer high-end processors.
- Media industry: It’s common to see the interview of political leaders and Bollywood people in electronic/print media. But it's so rare to see the interview of any businessman on Indian TV channels or in printed media? There are so many startups by young entrepreneurs, imagine if a young kid sees them, he will try to achieve something like that. It will inspire him to do something himself. But what we see in printed/electronic media is just gossip and political debates.
- College counseling: I have seen so many brilliant students getting very high marks in various entrance exams but they don’t know what they want to study. I am from an engineering background so I’m giving an example from this field. JEE is the entrance exam for engineering colleges in India. More than 8 lakh students give this exam each year. After exams, students have to select which college as well as the engineering branch they want. Most of the students get stuck at this point and they choose something just following the trend but as they spend a semester in college they realize its not something they actually wanted. Let me tell you a common misconception which happens a lot, that students who wanted to study automotive designing gave exam but while filling the counseling form they don’t find such field in there as there is a different exam for designing colleges. We are having a large number of students in the wrong places. You can easily observe it by the fact that a large number of UPSC and MBA candidates are actually engineers. There has to be a counseling system for students. Students should be made aware of the possible career options while they are in school.
- Society: We as a society are also the problem. Do we support someone who’s starting something new? No, we don’t. I have seen people having feelings of jealousy just because someone is doing better than them. We have to be supportive and we have to accept that everyone is struggling. Entrepreneurship is considered to be difficult and one of the big contributors to that is the people around the person themselves. Students are in fear to share their work because others will copy or try to put their name on their research. It is getting common. We have to be supportive and make them believe we are with them.
India has so much potential. People with vision need better pathways, better mentoring, and a better environment. There are so many wrong things which we can not change but still, there are many Indian entrepreneurs who are doing amazing work and making all of us proud. So, there’s hope and let’s align ourselves with that. Who knows next one could be one of the people you know?