Time is ripe to make courses on entrepreneurship a part and parcel of our education system and to increase spend on R&D to promote innovation. Such were the thoughts that emerged out of a day-long symposium on ‘driving entrepreneurial growth’ held in New Delhi on January 17.
|(L-R) Prasad Medury, Regional President, North India Council, IACC; David Bohigian, Assistant Secretary, US Dept of Commerce; R R Shah, Former Member Secretary, Planning Commission; Saurabh Srivastava, President, TiE Delhi; Jonathan Ortmans, Senior Fellow, Kauffman Foundation|
Prasad Medury, Regional President, North India Council, IACC said “India is hotbed of innovation because of the large amount of skills and intellectual resources present here.” No wonder then, over 300 MNCs have set up their R&D centers in India. He stressed the need for tapping those skills across sectors to benefit the society at large. “An innovative entrepreneurial industry requires technical skills, access to capital, and sound business models,” he said.
“It is a $50 trillion global economy that we are living in, and if it continues to grow at 4%, it will double in size to $100 trillion in less than 20 years,” said David Bohigian, Assistant Secretary, US Department of Commerce. He said the time was ripe for Indian and US companies to build bridges and “continue creating jobs for the future.”
|(L-R) William Scott Green, Dean of Undergraduate Education, University of Miami; Prasad Medury, Regional President, North India Council, IACC; Rohit Chand, Executive Chairman, IT&T; Kei Koizumi, Director of R&D Budget and Policy Program, American Association for Advancement of Science|
R R Shah, former Member Secretary, Planning Commission said “during the 11th Five-Year Plan, the government is looking at setting up eight new IITs, seven new IIMs, and 20 new IIITs.” He said the high number of India’s young population was big positive. Shah said that we were living in a “knowledge society”, thus biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and neuro-networks are “going to be the leaders.” He also said that India could provide the world’s largest clinical data for research. He expressed the hope that in the near future, the country could grow at 10-11%.
Kauffman Foundation Senior Fellow Jonathan Ortmans felt that entrepreneurship was more than just a commercial exercise; it affects society at large. Kauffman Foundation is America’s largest entrepreneurship foundation aimed at catalyzing an entrepreneurial society in which job creation, innovation, and the economy flourish.
The session on the link between innovation and education pondered on ways to boost R&D efforts, improve commercialization of both public and private research, increase the diffusion and absorption of existing knowledge, promote inclusive education, and expand the reach of entrepreneurial training and education programs in the country.
Kei Koizumi, Director of R&D Budget and Policy Program, American Association of Advancement of Science presented an overview of how the states in the US were competing against each other to develop good innovation policies. He said the US government spends more than $140 billion a year on R&D, out of which more than half goes to the military and the remaining goes to R&D for other national missions such as health and energy. The US universities seem to the laboratories for R&D, as “several laws encourage universities to commercialize research findings.”
|Alok Mittal, MD, Canaan Partners; Pradeep Gupta, CMD, CyberMedia; Ajay Kapur, CEO, SIDBI Ventures Capital; H Purushotham, Scientist G, Technology Development Board; Dev Ganesan, Executive VP & CFO, Aptara|
William Scott Green, Dean of Undergraduate Education and Senior Vice Provost, University of Miami, said American higher education was driven by research and innovation. “American education system stresses on discovering something new,” he said, and added that intelligibility was the fundamental goal of any education. He felt that education could play a key role in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.
Rohit Chand, Executive Chairman, IT&T, said the reach of education must increase if India was to make every individual a stakeholder in the development process. He also said that the education system in India was highly “straight-jacketed”, and that innovation and research mindset should be promoted to boost entrepreneurship. He wondered if setting up separate institutes for innovation could help make things better. This opened the floor for discussion as participants shared the view that the country’s education system needed an overhaul, and should promote research and discovery.
The second session discussed the steps that India could take to improve the regulatory environment for entrepreneurs such as reducing barriers to opening or expanding business, dealing with licenses, enforcing contracts, and reforming bankruptcy regulations. The speakers including Jyoti Sagar, Founder Partner, J Sagar Associates, Kimberlie L Cerone, an American Angel Investor, and Sumant Batra, Managing Partner, Kesar Dass B & Associates, felt that the legal process needed some swiftness, and that archaic laws should be reformed in tune with the changing times.
The two Indian speakers acknowleged that the number of cases pending in various courts across the country has to brought down. Cerone pointed out at the best of legal processes in the Silicon Valley such as the presence of special courts in the US to address IP related issues. She said that good bankruptcy laws also made it easy to liquidate non-performing assets, which in turn could be used to create fruitful assets.
During the third session on capital formation, Dev Ganesan, Executive
VP and CFO, Aptara stressed the role of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) set up by the US government. He said something on the lines of SBIR should be replicated in India, and that too on a public-private partnership model.
Pradeep Gupta, CMD, CyberMedia Group said the role of angel investing was important in promotion of entrepreneurship. He felt that if tax breaks are made available for investors in small companies, it would also help inject more investment into small companies. He also mentioned about the huge lab-to-market gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the need to bridge it. Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners said the Indian government should consider procuring from startup firms instead of buying only for firms with substantial experience in business.
|< Prev||Next >|