Rather than funding, entrepreneurs should make planning and implementation of their ideas a priority, says Murali Bukkapatnam, president TiE Hyderabad and the founder of Getdomestichelp.com, in an interview with Sudakshins Ghosh.
What was the objective behind Getdomestichelp.com?
Getdomestichelp.com is a social enterprise focusing on professional management of domestic cleaning and home management. The intent and objective behind this venture is to train and employ about one hundred thousand folks at the base of the pyramid, ensuring payment of minimum wages while improving employability and financial independence for them, taking a direct leaf from CK Prahalad’s school of thought.
When did the entrepreneurial bug bit you?
There was no particular moment, which made me realise that now I shall get on my own. I think opportunities present themselves in various ways. It is up to the individual to see if that is an opportunity they would like to pursue. I too had opportunities that came my way. I pursued a few, failed miserably in some and succeeded in some.
You`ve studied and worked in the US. Is there a difference in the way entrepreneurs are treated there and in India?
India as a country is a conglomerate of several different mini cultures, each with not only its own set of languages, traditions and very different way of conducting business. Entrepreneurship has been around for years in India – if you look at the corner stores – all running it are entrepreneurs – say even the ironing man or the vegetable hawker – so it is ingrained in us to find a solution to problems we face and to tackle it.The major difference if I am asked between both the countries is the eco-system support, which is huge in the US and still building in India. Besides the eco-system, I personally feel the state governments should encourage and provide benefits for the entrepreneurs.The advantage Indian entrepreneurs have over the rest of the world is that there is a ‘local’ and a ‘global’ market for them.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your past ventures?
I have learnt various lessons – I did share I failed in some but have seen success as well. The learning has been from the fund raising stage - making sure the model is scalable or not – to building the right team and also understanding if the co-founder is the right one for you, as well as how to protect the venture from various agreements to when to cut loose from a venture, the list goes on.
What advice do you have on planning and funding for student entrepreneurs?
Be it student or otherwise, an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. The pain points are the same; you can reduce the pain points by planning extremely well. Until ones get a professional round of funding entrepreneurs need to plan for frugality. If one can be frugal in every aspect of their venture then the funding will come automatically. Also, most of the ‘ideas’ are banking on funding - funding should not be the priority but planning and implementation of their ideasare what the entrepreneurs should invest in.
What would you like to change about our education system to encourage more innovation?
In my view the education system in India is such that it decimates creativity and independent thinking. To survive, you have to conform, and conforming means doing mindless, endless streams of activity by rote. And then suddenly when you’re done with your engineering or MBA and decide to become an entrepreneur, you are told – now you have to be creative! This is seen to be huge challenge because our education system is not ‘experiential’. All you have is an idea in your head, passion in your heart and song on your lips, so what do you do? The Indian Education system should encourage creative learning and exposure to all facets of life rather than just focus on discipline. Left and right brains needs to be activated and there should be curriculum to do so.