24 04 2009

~ When you come to the edge of a cliff, the solution is not to run faster, We have to step back ~

These are tough times. To make it gullible to you guys let me put it differently. These are different times.

The PM is asking for austerity. All that the analysts are able to predict is uncertainty. Economists all across are at their conservative best. Inflation has already over taken growth in the last quarter; and the gap only seems to be widening. Our consumption is growing but we aren’t. Many environmentalists have started the countdown towards dooms day.

These are not the bytes that we are used to in recent times. Doesn’t this seem a bit dodgy; a bit contradictory to you. If we say we are CAPITALIST than uncertainty should excite us and austerity should put us off…but as I told you these are different times. Just a quarter before we believed in consumption fuelled growth. And now we are advised to restrain.

Something’s going wrong. Sample this….

India is self-sufficient in its agricultural production; which means we produce food grains that should suffice 120 crore population. However, 35 crore odd sleep without a meal and other 35 crore odd have only one meal a day!

We consumed the most mobile phones (after china) globaly. Whereas we still do not have a decent school in every taluka!

Its said the developing Organised Retail scenario and booming Mall culture is boosting consumption and thereby fuelling growth. It’s a different story that a single mall consumes energy that can electrify an entire village!

Reports say that Insurance is a booming industry and is doing very well. Though the fact remains 75% of the people who get affected by a calamity (natural or man-made) remain uninsured.

It’s not so difficult to accept the fact that all our collective entrepreneurial energies are not taking us where it should. All that we are doing is either leading us to inflation, disparity, consumerism or environment degradation. As entrepreneurs it should matter to us – because a disturbed environment would never provide sustainable growth. If our progress is not endearing enough, than our efforts are not worth it.

So where are we? So what are we talking about in here. The answer is as simple as it is complex. The effects suggest we have missed an important factor in our viability equation. What is that factor??

And let me make it clear, we are not talking about socialism out here!

The point that is being made is IF WE WISH TO GROW ENTREPRENEURALY and IF WE WISH TO MAKE A MARK GLOBALLY we need to completely change the way we think about business and the way we understand ‘marketing’. Let us understand that profit and return are not the only variables to consider; impact on society at large is the factor that would lead us to economic and environmental stability.

Some have talked about ‘COMPASSIONATE CAPITALISM’ and some have deliberated upon ‘SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP’.


WE need to respond. More so as entrepreneurs of an emerging economy we have to respond; We need to create businesses to inspire and realize sustainable enterprise growth and social development. We need to learn to connect our aspirations for global citizenship to opportunities on the ground.

And we are not talking about austerity here. There are tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities that we are completely blinded to.

Fast food chains are exciting but community kitchens aren’t. Cities are lighting up but no ones investing in solar technologies. Instead of bigger-hollow-costlier schools a smaller-better-cheaper version might make more economic sense. Tremendous PPP (public private partnership) opportunities in the field of rural health care, children and adult education, agriculture technology development etc.

All this is not totally alien to us. In bits and parts, in small pockets somewhere some such initiatives are taken. Our task is to add scale to it and design a unique growth for ourselves. It’s about putting the social concerns out there in the market and turning them into entrepreneurial opportunities.

In the ring we have value creation vs consumption and accumulation. MAKE YOUR BETS NOW!

IMPACT MAKING ENTREPRENEURS is not at all a new term for the alumni of this institute. Initiative, Alertness, Adventure and Adaptive-ness is what EDI has taught us. Entrepreneurs as change-agents are what EDI believes in.

To move forward, lets take the first step, back!