India’s bold new entrepreneurs are rewriting traditional rules of business, and also setting in place fresh and innovative digital templates for businesses. Amidst the pandemic gloom over the last few months, success stories of India’s growing breed of unicorns (startups that cross $1 billion in valuation) brought something to cheer about. They showcased India’s leading role in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Last year, India added more than 1,600 startups, at a rate of roughly four a day. IT industry body NASSCOM rates India as the world’s third-largest tech startup hub. On the occasion of World Entrepreneurship Day on August 21, it is pertinent to reiterate that the only way ahead to enter wider markets, recover quickly post-COVID-19, and with fewer overheads, is by fast digital adoption.
Here are some of the reasons why the digital switch has ensured business continuity during the difficult lockdowns, and is now part of the new normal of working in all fields and sectors:
Digital entrepreneurship drives growth
Consulting firm KPMG reckons that e-tailer and allied ecosystems will create 1.45 million jobs this year in India.
MSMEs contribution to the $5 trillion economy
To truly realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a $5 trillion economy and a global economic powerhouse by 2024-25, it is important to spotlight local and small businesses.
The MSME sector is a key contributor to the growth of the country. India comprises over 6.3 crore MSMEs, and the number of registered MSMEs increased 18.5 percent Y-o-Y — from 21.21 lakh units in 2019 to 25.13 lakh units in 2020. The sector contributes over 29 percent towards the GDP through domestic and international trade.
Fourth industrial revolution
As the digital world matures, businesses must rethink their products and services to thrive in the Industry 4.0 environment or risk being left behind by more nimble, digital-native competitors.
Internet websites and mobile apps help businesses thrive with the right supporting digital presence, discoverability, and commerce solutions. Regional language capabilities on digital platforms help in faster navigation through local markets.
Rich ecosystems of resources and participants
Online presence helps businesses gain significant advantages such as increased revenues and market reach, access to new markets, savings in marketing spending, customer acquisition, and enhanced customer experience.
With collaborative action growing digitally, internet platforms are more than just conversation builders. Moving the entire supply networks and business operations on the internet, companies get to create long-term value rather than short-term transactions.
The proliferation of smartphones and increasing internet access is helping India becoming a digital economy. The number of active internet users in India is expected to increase by 45 percent in the next five years, and touch 900 million by 2025 from around 622 million in 2020, according to the IAMAI-Kantar ICUBE 2020 report. Internet-based strategies are therefore propelling growth.
The transformation needed
Building web solutions, starting with domain names, websites hosted on servers, email marketing and so on, involves transformative thinking. This switch is now the most vital link to move into accelerated growth for small businesses.
Flexibility, agility, speed, connectivity and security are at the heart of the fast evolving and deeply challenging new normal. Ploughing more investment in new technologies has become mainstream now. Small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy, must emulate the true spirit of entrepreneurship, examples of which are replete.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YS.)