Seizing opportunities in small towns - Dr. Subhash Chandra
'The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.' - An apt proverb for those with an entrepreneurial mind-set.
In India, in-spite of a large section of population being literate, it's a belief that entrepreneurial and career opportunities are present in larger cities and metropolitan areas and at not the bottom of the pyramid – the mini-metros, smaller towns and villages.
Over the decades, big ideas and successful entrepreneurs have made a mark in small-town India.
Ironically, the world’s largest company in value-added spices, one of the world's Top 10 publishing BPOs, India's biggest exporter of hand-knotted carpets, largest machine tool manufacturer, largest honey exporter, and largest leather exporter - all started up in small towns of India.*
In an episode of the Dr. Subhash Chandra Show, a humongous turnout of 1200 students of a premier institute was witnessed for a discussion on the opportunities in small towns & mini-metros in comparison with the metropolitan cities.
The discussion drew in many points of difference of big cities v/s small towns.
But what makes this geographic disparity creep in? Do small-towns entrepreneurs lack the mind-set and zeal that big-city entrepreneurs beget?
Dr. Subhash Chandra persisted that we need to break the perceptions and stereotypes set in our minds on what makes an entrepreneur tick.
Generation after generation, most Indian parents would motivate their children to educate themselves only in the hopes of securing a job than taking a shot at becoming an entrepreneur who in turn can generate employment for others.
A hunger for success, inspiration, diligence and persistence are the hallmarks of success of entrepreneurs in smaller towns, where glamour may be lacking but the quieter and gentler way of life as well as the desire to hang on to local roots are assets in their own right. Furthermore he emphasized that the ability to run a professional business is not limited by location. What is needed is a vision, a mission and a burning desire to 'make it happen' - regardless of wherever you are.
Dr. Chandra emphasized the importance of recognizing one's talent with due importance to knowledge and experience while venturing into their career. He also advised choosing the business that one takes interest in and that defines their talent.
Further into the discussion, a student asked Dr. Chandra, whether it is tougher to do business in the current environment as compared to a decade ago.
Dr. Chandra said that those who doubt themselves and their abilities may put the blame on the time and an un-conducive environment before taking the plunge into an entrepreneurial venture. Such negativity creeps in when one lacks self-confidence and motivation, he further said.
Also, citing a simple logical exercise, he showed how we can seize immense opportunities only if we banish the boundaries in our minds and permeate the barriers that our society sets.
Dr. Chandra called on stage the University Chancellor, Mr. Ashok Mittal and asked him about his educational entrepreneurial journey from a small town in Jalandhar, how the renowned internationally acclaimed university was formed.
Similar is the story of the formation of Essel Group. In 1976, a young boy from Hissar, a small village in Haryana, set out with an ardent passion and a clear focussed vision to start a commodity trading and export firm. Now after more than three decades, Essel is a leading business conglomerate having diverse business presence across media, entertainment, packaging, infrastructure, education, precious metals and technology sectors, and for the MD & CEO, Dr. Subhash Chandra, there is no looking back.
Concluding the insightful discussion, Dr. Chandra insisted that one mustn't let geographical boundaries limit one's thinking, as our ideas can be powerful enough to transform the world.