Byju Raveendran writes: India is taking shape where anyone can start a business

Two very interesting events took place on the sidelines of the startup conference I attended recently. I met a woman – a grandmother in her early 60s – who excitedly told me about the online food delivery business she started a year ago. She came from Meerut and couldn’t wait to “expand” her “Al Awadi Chat” all over the world. I also met a 14-year-old girl from Mangalore who was working on a “climate intelligence” app to enable farmers to better prepare for extreme weather events. A grandmother and a teenager together have captured the entrepreneurial spirit sweeping India. From Meerut to Mangalore, we build in India for the world.

The continuous rise of entrepreneurship in India is a spectacle that not only astounds developed nations but also inspires other developing nations to achieve higher goals and build more. Thanks to the increasing digitization, the hurdle preventing you from becoming an entrepreneur in India is really low and even lower. Not surprisingly, India jumps nearly 80 places on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, which now includes more than 70,000 startups. Even better, more than half of these startups are now headquartered in non-urban cities. The young Indian is learning and working today not with the mindset of a job seeker but with the look of a job creator. India at the age of 75 is preparing for India forever.

The world’s largest democracy is also the world’s fifth largest economy with an average age of less than 30 years. India today has the perfect trio of ambition, skill and capital to create global companies across multiple sectors. This is possible because today we do not hide from our problems but face them directly with the energy and creativity of a young nation. The solution for India is the solution to one-sixth of humanity. The Government of India, through policies such as Digital India and Startup India, is playing a leading role in driving India into a clique of global turmoil. We have already created the greatest middle class in world history by lifting millions of people out of poverty. Now we need to give everyone a fair chance to develop their talents.

There are very few countries in the world whose history of progress can parallel that of India. More so because it is moving from agriculture and a service-based economy to a knowledge-based and product-based economy. However, sustainable national progress hinges on the continued convergence of education, technology and innovation. We need to train our children in critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which will be vital for the future of work. Keeping pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape requires the vision that the National Education Policy 2020 boldly articulates. Education is a vital component of nation-building, an equalizing and uplifting factor, giving more than one billion Indians a solid foundation to foster multi-year economic growth, upward social mobility, and autonomy.

Today, India is a “can do” nation. By making the right choices, anyone can be successful in India. Now we need to work together with the full potential mindset of Amrit Kal, which I see 25 years of endless possibilities in this land of new opportunity. We must muster enough courage to take ownership of not only our own destiny but also to improve the lives of others. By turning our many challenges into multiple opportunities, India will live up to its fullest potential. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Belief in something, and not live it, is dishonest.”

I have no doubt that India will be the strongest, happiest and most generous country in the world before the end of this century. You just have to meet one entrepreneurial grandmother and a teenage entrepreneur to realize it for yourself. In fact, only the son of a teacher who grew up in a village in India has been able to live out his dream of helping millions to learn better.

(The writer is the founder and CEO of BYJU’S)

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