“Entrepreneurship is a mindset”, says Dr. Harsh vardhan Halve, Director, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Indore.“There is no age limit to being an entrepreneur”, he adds. According to Dr. Halve, this is an excellent time for entrepreneurs in India since the country’s economy is growing: “We are in the expansion phase and the world is looking at India today as an expanding market, so why shouldn’t we leverage this opportunity?”
Dr. Halve says entrepreneurship is about creating value from creativity. However, money may not always be the objective – it could also be self-satisfaction: “ Look at Prakash Amte. He is a doctor who has been working for the development of tribal people all his life. His work has translated into a hospital, Lok Biradari Prakalp Davakhana, a residential school, Lok Biradari Prakalp Ashram Shala, and an orphanage for injured wild animals, the Amte’s Animal Ark”. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always mean a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Entrepreneurship, according to Dr. Halve, is sector independent. People often try to do the trendy things; for instance, currently everyone is talking about e-commerce and mobile applications. However, there are creative individuals who are innovating in other sectors as well. The first step is to look within and discover your passion and then identify the gaps in the market in that area and possibly invest and create a business around it. It is the passion, in the end, that derives value: “ I have recently seen an excellent case in the U.S. during my recent U.S. visit, I discovered a brand called ‘Mrs. Fields Cookies’ named after the founder, Mrs. Field. From her childhood, she was passionate about baking cookies and her cookies would always have a very fresh smell. Fortunately, she got married to an economist who was working with Stanford University, and he encouraged her to convert it into a business. He focused on the joy she felt whenever he or their friends and relatives requested a batch of cookies. The freshness of her cookies became the USP of the business. Today, there are over one hundred stores in five countries and the USP is freshly-baked cookies. After forty minutes, the baked cookies are not served to the customers, since the maximum survival time after cooking is forty minutes. Even without her now, the same smell is being maintained in all these stores. That’s operational excellence.”
However, businesses need knowledge to set up and run. Jaipuria is the only institute that has started an entrepreneurship course as a core course, which is compulsory for every student who is pursuing PGDM. Dr. Halve has created simulation games around the course to help students experience real-life scenarios. He thinks being an entrepreneur is far more satisfying than holding a job, and he says that most people realize this after spending a few decades as an employee. However, he feels that innovation is the true key to a successful and sustainable business, rest is following, which does not create value for the society.
Dr. Halve believes that Indians are slow starters as far as entrepreneurship is concerned – this is, he explains, largely because of the challenges of social security. Our social and economic environment has been a challenge so far and risk-taking has been limited. However, courses like ‘entrepreneurship’ can mitigate that risk and help a creative person manage the business she aspires to.