History of Entrepreneurship in India

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History of Entrepreneurship in India
25 May 2023
6 min read

Blog Post

As India celebrates its 75th year of independence, it is time to recognize the country's contribution to the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We have grown from an emerging market to one of the fastest-growing markets for developing technology companies. With over 100 unicorns (values of $1 billion or more) developing in the recent decade, India's start-up ecosystem is now the third largest in the world. 42 technology-led start-ups joined the coveted unicorn club in 2022 alone.

An important component of dynamism is introduced into an economic system through entrepreneurship. A number of changes have been brought about by the processes of globalization and liberalization, such as the system's introduction of dynamism.

Entrepreneurship remains a human enterprise that contrives goods and assistance approaching marketing purposes. That is also qualified for perceiving ventures and interests in that manner.

It is an action that executes expansion in a country. It intensifies commercial and social progress in the world. This method is called entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs play a significant role in shaping the world we live in. Throughout history, there have been visionary individuals who have displayed extraordinary entrepreneurial skills, pioneering new industries, revolutionizing existing ones, and leaving a lasting impact on society. Their innovative ideas, determination, and willingness to take risks have made them legends in the business world.

Let’s learn the History of Entrepreneurship in India through this blog.#ThinkWithNiche

Table Of Contents:

  • Growth of Entrepreneurship
  • Trade And Business In Ancient India
  • Industrialization In India
  • Pre-Independence Entrepreneurship
  • Post-Independence Entrepreneurship
  • Need For Entrepreneurship To Grow The Economy
  • Famous Entrepreneurs In History  
  • Impact of Digitalization on Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship In Digital India

Paradoxes abound in the Story of Indian Entrepreneurship. The entrepreneur was considered during the pre-colonial and colonial eras more as a trader-money lender merchant, rigorously constrained by caste ties and religious, cultural, and social influences ranging from the concept of fate to the joint family system. Entrepreneurship as we know it now most certainly did not emerge from this social group. A wide range of political and economic variables had an impact on the entrepreneurial spirit. Numerous factors had a negative effect on Indian entrepreneurship, including a lack of political unanimity and stability, ineffective communication systems, the presence of customs barriers and repressive tax laws, and the use of numerous different currencies up until the third decade of the 19th century.

Over the previous two decades, India has developed from an IT services and business process outsourcing hub to a substantial R&D center for international corporations, with new business models emerging nearly daily. I anticipate the next wave of unicorns will be far more diverse, focusing on cutting-edge technologies such as robots.

The landscape of talent has likewise shifted tremendously. Most of our entrepreneurs came from business families only eight or ten years ago. That is no longer the case, and many of our young entrepreneurs come from non-business backgrounds.

India's claim to independence was the creation of an environment favorable to the growth of entrepreneurship. 
The later development and expansion of Indian entrepreneurship must be viewed against this vast backdrop.

History Of Entrepreneurship In India

Growth of Entrepreneurship:

The Second World War boom, which attracted many entrepreneurial people from many walks of life, including businessmen, artisans, etc., to the small industrial sector as entrepreneurs, is largely responsible for the expansion of entrepreneurship, particularly in the small scale sector. Many highly trained individuals started small businesses during this time using outdated equipment and private funding. India started deliberate economic development programs after gaining independence in all economic areas, including small businesses.

Routes – Silk Route and Spice Route

The company and trades commenced in India following the evolution of global routes for trading goals. India went correlated to abutting foreign countries within the network street-roots heading to the Silk Route. The maritime route connection between India and other foreign countries was known as the Spice route.

Trade And Business In Ancient India

The Indian Archaeological evidence has shown that entrepreneurship started in the early age of ancient India. The trading culture mainly followed by the Harrapan civilization established a commercial connection with Mesopotamia society. They used to exchange their handmade-craft products. Like toys, pots, utensils, and corps to fulfill their daily needs. The Harrapans period of marked as commercial and business activities in India. They have regulated few trade activities, different types of coin and handcrafts metals as import and export products. After this civilization people, transport the material to national and international countries and followed believed in their entrepreneurship.

What is Barter System?

The history of bartering system emerged in 6000 to 7000 BC. Specially, In India, ancient people handled buying and selling products through the exchange method. The system has existed for centuries, long before money was invented. While this method, people revised services and goods for other services without practicing coins and precious metals. Some Indian experts believe that the Barter system first appeared in India during the Vedic era.

Industrialization In India

The process of industrialization had started by the East India Company in 1673. The Britishers were responsible for the introduction of industry cultures in India. They came to India for business purposes in the 19th century, and industrial advancement occurred in the 20th century. It was mainly, the private sectors that were established by the British. The industries are in the western and east parts of India. The East India Company played a huge role in industrial development and the quality of trade export and import of goods at the international level. It generated a slew of political and social movements, such as the Swadeshi Campaign. Manufacturing entrepreneurship, according to eminent Indian academics, is a direct result of the arrival of East India companies in India.

Pre-Independence Entrepreneurship

The evolution of Indian entrepreneurship may be traced back to Rigveda, when metal handicrafts were prevalent in society. This would emphasize the fact that handicrafts entrepreneurship in India is as old as human civilization itself, and was fostered by artisans as part of their societal responsibilities.

Prior to interaction with the West, people in India were organized in a specific form of economic and social organization known as the village or community. The rural community then presented the Indian economic scenario. The Indian towns were largely religious and isolated from the rest of the country.

Clearly, organized industrial activity was visible among Indian artisans in a few recognizable products in the river basin cities of Banaras, Allahabad, Gaya, Puri, and Mirzapur. This was most likely due to the rivers' function as transportation facilities.

These artisan enterprises thrived during the time because they were supported by Royal Patronage. The workshops known as 'Kharkhanas' were established. The artisans were organized into a cooperative organization.

Post-Independence Entrepreneurship

Following a lengthy sigh of political relief in 1947, the Government of India attempted to outline the goals for creating a strategy for achieving balanced growth. To that end, the government issued the first Industrial Policy in 1948, which was amended on a regular basis.

In several industrial policy statements, the government identified the state's role to encourage, aiding, and growing industries in the national interest. It also expressly recognized the critical role of the private sector in accelerating industrial development, and sufficient space was set aside for it.

After having an overview of the journey of Indian entrepreneurship in India we have an understanding that entrepreneurs play a very important part in the economic growth of our nation. Now we will explore the need for Entrepreneurship to Grow the Economy.

Need For Entrepreneurship To Grow The Economy

Entrepreneurship is a tool for social and economic development. Entrepreneurs are certain that new-age technology will enable them to outperform and revolutionize the market.

The following factors explain why entrepreneurship is important for economic progress.

1. Innovation

Entrepreneurship relies heavily on innovation. New-age entrepreneurs are enthusiastic about technology and business model innovations. Airbnb, Innova8, Ola, Zinerr, and others are prime examples of this. These companies not only bring technological innovation, but they also pioneered new business structures. It will make your life a lot easier.

When developing a road plan for a country's economic progress, policymakers consider innovation. Innovation facilitates the market, opens up new prospects, and increases consumption. As a result, entrepreneurship is crucial in India since it fosters innovation.

2. Workplace

Employment is a critical aspect in the growth of any economy. A low employment rate suggests that an economy is in poor condition. To boost growth, an economy must create more jobs and salary opportunities. It is crucial in terms of job creation.

The larger the company, the more job and wage opportunities it creates. As a result, the necessity for entrepreneurship in India has become critical for economic development.

3. Standard of living

In certain ways, the standard of living is directly proportional to work. People spend their money on goods and services because their jobs pay them. As a result, the consumption rate rises in an economy, as does the production rate.

4. Social Development

Social entrepreneurship is a modern notion that encourages entrepreneurs to effect social change. Crowdfunding companies, for example, are typically involved in social activity, such as generating funds for non-profit organisations. Their businesses have a good impact on society. They not only assist those in need, but they also raise social consciousness.

A prosperous society makes the path to community development easier. As a result, the necessity for entrepreneurship in India is critical since it combines social reform with economic development.

5. Development and Research

Innovation progresses through research and development. When an entrepreneur develops innovative ideas and turns them into a business, they must constantly improve their invention to stay competitive and improve the user experience.

Famous Entrepreneurs In History

1. Andrew Carnegie:

Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist, is renowned for his leadership in the steel industry during the late 19th century. He established Carnegie Steel Corporation, which became one of the largest and most successful steel companies in the world. Carnegie's business strategies, including vertical integration and cost control, propelled him to great success and immense wealth. He later devoted his life to philanthropy, funding numerous libraries, educational institutions, and charities.

2. Thomas Edison:

Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman who had a profound impact on modern society. He is credited with the invention of the practical incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and numerous other groundbreaking devices. Edison's entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish the Edison Electric Light Company, which eventually became General Electric. His relentless pursuit of innovation and his ability to commercialize his inventions revolutionized the world of technology.

3. Henry Ford:

Henry Ford, an American industrialist and founder of Ford Motor Company, is recognized as a pioneer in the automobile industry. Ford's introduction of the assembly line and mass production techniques made automobiles affordable and accessible to the masses. His visionary approach transformed the way cars were manufactured, and he played a crucial role in popularizing the concept of the automobile as a common mode of transportation.

4. Coco Chanel:

Coco Chanel, a French fashion designer, is an iconic figure in the fashion industry. She revolutionized women's fashion by introducing comfortable, practical, and elegant clothing that challenged the prevailing norms of the time. Chanel's entrepreneurial journey began with a small hat shop and eventually expanded into a global fashion empire. Her brand, Chanel, continues to be synonymous with sophistication and timeless style.

5. Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was an American entrepreneur and visionary who transformed the consumer electronics industry. His innovative products, including the Macintosh computer, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, revolutionized personal computing, music, communication, and entertainment. Jobs' emphasis on design, user experience, and simplicity redefined the technology landscape and cemented Apple's position as a leading global brand.

6. Doshi Walchand Hirachand (23 November 1882 – 8 April 1953) 

All of the pre-independence era's significant building projects were planned and carried out under Walchand's direction. Later, Premier Construction was given a new name with a significant Tata involvement. Later in life, he founded the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, a shipping business that went on to control 21% of Indian coastal traffic. The earliest automobile plant in India is called Premier Automobiles, followed by Hindustan Aircraft, a contemporary shipyard, and Hindustan Shipyard Limited.

7. J. M. S. Tata (3 March 1839 – 19 May 1904)

He was regarded as the founding father of Indian industry. Jamsetji was truly exceptional due to his entrepreneurial knowledge and patriotic vision, which led him to feel that the benefits of his economic success would benefit the nation as a whole. The British government's oppression of Indians at the time, along with the generalized poverty in the country, was the inspiration behind this entrepreneur's concept. His entrepreneurial journey began with the establishment of a cotton mill in Bombay, followed by another in Nagpur.

8. Ardeshir Godrej (1868 - 1936)

The Godrej group of firms was founded by Ardeshir Godrej, who lived from 1868 to 1936. Despite studying law, Ardeshir Godrej struggled to succeed as a lawyer. He so traveled to Bombay and began employment as a chemist's assistant. He had excellent business sense and saw an opportunity in everything. He began producing the medical equipment needed by surgeons with a loan from his father's acquaintance.
tools including forceps, surgeon's scissors, and scalpels. He went to the boss of the business where he was an attendant after he was confident that his equipment was top-notch.

Impact of Digitalization on Entrepreneurship

Digitalization has brought about a revolution in the world of business and entrepreneurship. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, entrepreneurs are finding new and innovative ways to use digital tools and platforms to start and grow their businesses. In this article, we will discuss the impact of digitalization on entrepreneurship.

1. Increased access to markets

One of the biggest advantages of digitalization for entrepreneurs is the ability to reach a larger market. Through the internet and social media platforms, entrepreneurs can connect with customers all over the world. This has made it easier for small businesses to compete with larger companies and expand their customer base.

2. Cost-effective marketing

Digital marketing has emerged as a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to promote their products and services. Traditional marketing methods such as television and print ads can be expensive, and may not reach the targeted audience. On the other hand, digital marketing allows entrepreneurs to create targeted campaigns that can reach their intended audience at a fraction of the cost.

3. Improved customer engagement

Digital tools and platforms have made it easier for entrepreneurs to engage with their customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a way for entrepreneurs to connect with their customers, gather feedback, and build brand loyalty. Online forums and chatbots have also emerged as effective tools for customer engagement.

4. Access to funding

Digitalization has also made it easier for entrepreneurs to access funding. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide a way for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ideas. Additionally, online lending platforms such as LendingClub and Prosper provide access to loans for entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional bank loans.

5. Flexible work arrangements

Digitalization has also enabled entrepreneurs to work from anywhere, at any time. Cloud-based tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox allow entrepreneurs to store and access files from anywhere with an internet connection. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Skype allow entrepreneurs to connect with clients and team members remotely.

6. Increased competition

While digitalization has provided many benefits to entrepreneurs, it has also increased competition. With more businesses moving online, entrepreneurs must find innovative ways to stand out and differentiate themselves from their competitors. This has led to a greater emphasis on branding, customer experience, and innovation.

7. Cybersecurity risks

Digitalization has also brought about new risks for entrepreneurs, particularly in the area of cybersecurity. As businesses store more data online, they are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Entrepreneurs must take steps to protect their business and customer data, such as using strong passwords, installing firewalls, and keeping software up to date.

Entrepreneurship In Digital India

Digital India is an ambitious program launched by the Government of India to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The program aims to provide digital infrastructure, digital literacy, and digital services to citizens, businesses, and government agencies. In this article, we will discuss the impact of Digital India on entrepreneurship in India.

1. Increased access to markets

Digital India has provided entrepreneurs with increased access to markets. Through the Internet and e-commerce platforms, entrepreneurs can reach customers all over India and even globally. This has opened up new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete with larger companies and expand their customer base.

2. Cost-effective marketing

Digital marketing has emerged as a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to promote their products and services. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a way for entrepreneurs to create targeted campaigns that can reach their intended audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. Additionally, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can help entrepreneurs increase their visibility online.

3. Improved customer engagement

Digital tools and platforms have made it easier for entrepreneurs to engage with their customers. Social media platforms and chatbots provide a way for entrepreneurs to connect with their customers, gather feedback, and build brand loyalty. Online forums and customer support portals have also emerged as effective tools for customer engagement.

4. Access to funding

Digital India has made it easier for entrepreneurs to access funding. Online lending platforms and crowdfunding platforms such as Ketto and Milaap provide a way for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ideas. Additionally, the government has launched various schemes such as Stand-Up India and Startup India to promote entrepreneurship and provide funding and other support to startups.

5. Flexible work arrangements

Digitalization has enabled entrepreneurs to work from anywhere, at any time. Cloud-based tools and platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack allow entrepreneurs to store and access files from anywhere with an internet connection. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Skype allow entrepreneurs to connect with clients and team members remotely.

6. Government support

Digital India has received significant government support, with the government launching various schemes and initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. The Startup India program aims to create a conducive ecosystem for startups in India, providing funding, mentorship, and other support. Additionally, the government has launched the Digital India Internship Scheme to provide training and employment opportunities to young people in the field of digital technology.

7. Skill development

Digital India has also placed a significant emphasis on digital literacy and skill development. The government has launched various initiatives to provide training and education in digital skills, including the Digital Saksharta Abhiyan and the National Digital Literacy Mission. This has provided entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge necessary to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalization.

Conclusion

Digitalization has had a significant impact on entrepreneurship, providing new opportunities for growth and innovation. However, it has also brought about new challenges and risks that entrepreneurs must be aware of and take steps to address. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that digitalization will play an increasingly important role in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

Digital India has had a significant impact on entrepreneurship in India, providing new opportunities for growth and innovation. However, there are also challenges and risks associated with digitalization, and entrepreneurs must take steps to address them. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that Digital India will play an increasingly important role in the world of entrepreneurship in India

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