From my latest post over at Times of India:
“…Did you know that more than 80 percent of the cycle-rickshaws in Delhi are illegal (since there are only 99,000 of them allowed legally)?
Govt functionaries in Delhi extort a crore a month from the cycle-rickshaw pullers alone! This was the figure in 2006. It has probably doubled since then.
Were you aware that Delhi’s approximately 600,000 street vendors operate without the necessary license and pay up about Rs 12 million per month in bribes?
Were you aware that a law in the state of Maharashtra requires farmers to sell their sugar cane to a specified sugar mill in the district[i]?
Did you know of the law in Kerala which mandates that once a farm is registered as producing one crop, it cannot change its crop without government permission[ii]?!
Would it now surprise you to know that “India ranks among the world’s worst countries at encouraging entrepreneurs. For ease of starting a business, India is 166th out of 183 countries”
Or that it takes 7 years (yes, seven) to close a business in India and 1,420 days to enforce a contract!
You would think this is a bad joke – except it is not.
And millions of small entrepreneurs suffer from this stranglehold of regulations and permits; the vestiges of a still omnipresent (and deeply embedded) license-permit Raj.
Which brings us back to our question: What can the government do?”
Read it in full here.
From my latest post over at Times of India:
Here are some memories from the 9 cities, 16 days whirl...that involved 1500 & a bit more) youngsters!
Here is the link to more, qualitative and detailed feedback..
First the great piece of news: Elements Akademia got included in Gen Next India’s Hottest Start-ups (just 16 companies!):
…and here is the article (strong words but very thought-provoking): How I Judge Investors.
Presented some slides on building teams to a room-full of very keen and enthusiastic audience at the TiE Institute session last week at London Business School on “Leading High Performance Teams“..
I tremendously enjoyed Adam’s slides and his exercises…Will share my own slides on this post later…
Christian Chabot has a timely – and sobering reminder on IPO Dashboards re. how long it takes for a start-up to achieve meaningful revenues at scale (Hat Tip: Guy Kawasaki).
As he says:
…growth conversations between VCs and management teams often cause angst. One of the reasons is that people from both groups tend to have unsubstantiated beliefs about how long it takes to build an important company.
Maybe these conversations would be easier if we simply knew how long it takes to build a successful company?
Christian reminds us that Microsoft and Oracle – two of the most valuable companies ever founded, in any industry, in any country took 8 and 10 years respectively, to reach $50m in sales.
Fellow blogger Swaroop recently wrote a post on a dosa seller in Bengaluru that had me thinking.
Swaroop’s dosa-seller is someone whom I would call a micro-entrepreneur. A micro-entrepreneur is usually involved in an activity that manages to support his/her family’s basic needs.
A good micro-enterprise will generate profits that would be larger than most average jobs.
Needless to say, these profits are more “riskier” than a regular monthly income (salary) – especially if your regular monthly income comes from the government.
So who exactly is a micro-entrepreneur and what qualifies as a micro-enterprise?
Before I attempt an answer to this question, an important caveat: I am talking about India, not USA.
Another caveat…Not everyone who we think is a “micro-entrepreneur” may be so out of choice…Some of them may be forced entrepreneurs – forced to eke out a living doing what they are doing, either because they could not find a job they liked OR because what they are doing seemed to be the most natural thing to do (e.g. managing your parents’ micro-enterprise).
Note that micro-enterprises typically lack scalability (that elusive trait which VCs seek) and may not be particularly “innovative”. Having said that, their contribution cannot be dismissed. At the very least they provide an alternative to unemployment (and the consequent frustration and disillusionment that accompanies it); At best, they have the capacity to transform a family’s fortunes (think of all the famous “halwais” who started small…)
Back to the main point: who exactly is a micro-entrepreneur and what qualifies as a micro-enterprise?
Here is my (proposed) definition:
A micro-entrepreneur is anyone who manages a micro-enterprise.
A micro-enterprise is any business that:
- has start-up costs of less than Rs 50,000/-
- employs less than 5 people (typically in a single location)
- has annual revenues of less than Rs 12 Lakhs (or monthly revenues of less than Rs 1 Lakh)
…and has uneven cash-flow, problems in employee retention and suffers from bureaucratic burdens (but these are hardly unique to micro-enterprises!)
What do you think? Comments/ thoughts very welcome.
Next post in the series: Why this sudden interest in micro-entrepreneurs?
Related Post: A nation of shopkeepers?…or entrepreneurs?