'Entrepreneurs should bulldoze all odds to thrive'

Aparajita Gupta   |  New Delhi


The best mantra for entrepreneurs to thrive in a startup venture is to bulldoze all odds, says Indian American investor Gururaj 'Desh' Deshpande.

"An entrepreneur should not worry about hurdles. He should be passionate enough about his ideas to overcome all odds," Deshpande told IANS in an interview.

Deshpande was appointed co-chairman of US President Barack Obama's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship three years ago.

He is also known for co-founding Sycamore Networks and the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Indian American, who was here to attend a seminar organised by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Action for India and Centre for Innovations in Public Systems, said the government should also know how to "celebrate entrepreneurship".

He said innovation was the key to success in entrepreneurship, and that Indian entrepreneurs should focus on the Indian market first before exploring the overseas market.

"Indian entrepreneurs should focus on the solutions (irrespective of industry) which are very cost effective and there is scalability. Later on, quality can be injected into it," Deshpande said.

He said that in the US, around 500,000 startups every year generate four million jobs.

"We look into four things - good idea, good entrepreneurship, good mentors and access to capital. The best way to build entrepreneurship is to celebrate entrepreneurship."

In the US, the "Celebrate Entrepreneurship" initiative has travelled through various cities to inspire many people wanting to take a plunge into the entrepreneurship pool, Deshpande said.

He said India needs to improve its "product culture" from "service culture". To inculcate product culture in the country, people should be able to anticipate a market and should be ready to invest accordingly.

"A lot of time they fall because they cannot gamble," the investor said.

"The US is always open for more talented people to be a part of its social and economic system."

Deshpande, however, said that now there are more opportunities in India and many people are returning after finishing their studies abroad.

"When we went in the 1970s, there were very few opportunities, but now they are more opportunities and many people are returning to their own country where they get their own culture to raise family," he said.

He said half of the 400 engineers who work in his company, Tejas Networks, have returned from the US to work in India.

Tejas is a telecom gear-maker company, which does intense research and development (R&D) in that space.

"We plan to invest Rs.1,700 crore ($380 million) in R&D in the next five to six years," Deshpande said.

The investor said that the Indian government has so far looked at exporting IT services, but now it should look at exporting IT solutions.

"We need to export IT solutions, which will also help us recover big shortage of foreign exchange in the country as well." - IANS