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Our youth is talking about entrepreneurship and innovation, what about their Indian counterparts? Not long ago while travelling on the domestic flight in India, I was immensely fascinated by the entrepreneurship of a smart Indian youth.

On this Mumbai to Delhi flight, a girl wearing a long skirt with Buddha print happened to sit on my side. During our conversation, I got to know that this girl, Lipika, was a PhD in art and design from the London University and was currently the board member as well as the head designer of a clothing company with 2000 employees. Every month she has to shuttle between Mumbai and Delhi thrice. Lipika owns three clothing brands under her name and the unique skirt she was wearing was also her own product. The young guy sitting on my other side had set up a software company and he often went to Singapore for on business trips. When he got to know that I was a Chinese journalist and was travelling by “Vistara” airlines for the first time, he excitedly started to tell me about how this new flight is a joint venture between Tata Group and the Singapore Airlines and how it has the potential to become the best private airline in India. Thousands of feet above the ground, these two young entrepreneurs sitting next to me, found a common language and started to talk about from “financing”, “acquiring” to “entrepreneurial industry”. For youth like Lipika who nurture entrepreneurial dreams, the “Make in India” campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will provide them with finance and policy support.

It can be seen, India is on its way to become a big manufacturing country and is not only thinking to overtake China, but with the help of its population dividend and the young intellectual entrepreneurs, it is also trying to make its way into the global high-end industry. As the data shows, at present India has more than 4000 entrepreneurial enterprises and the average age of the founder of these enterprises is only 28 years. In the last one year, these start-ups have already received $9 billion worth of finances with the year on year growth of 125%. Moreover, India has already set up 100 incubator companies, has nearly 300 angel investors and has more than 150 active risk capital agencies and private equity investors. In India, the most successful “entrepreneur brothers” are Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, who are not actually real brothers. In 2007, they co-founded Flipkart, India’s biggest online shopping platform, which is presently valued at $15 billion. Without doubt, even they faced the reality of India’s time consuming and exhausting transportation system; they also realized the urgency of setting up multiple distribution branches after receiving their first round of funding.

India is a country with a big rich-poor divide but the internet has bridged the digital gap to a certain extent. Many people around me like cleaners, drivers, and security guards have never touched a computer in their whole life but all of them possess cheap smart-phones and through the internet all of them have become connected with the outside world and some even have a new perspective of life. Once one of my drivers despised “being dependent only on salary”, first he asked me if I wanted to invest with him to start an online pharmacy, then he told me the liquid crystal panels imported from South Korea are a good way to make more money. He left behind a remarkable sentence for me, “At present, India is full of opportunities and everyone wants to earn some extra income” and afterwards I don’t know where he went.

在万米高空感叹印度青年创业潮

国内青年在谈论创业、创新,印度同龄人呢?前不久,在搭乘印度国内航班时,我被偶遇的印度俊男靓女的创业热情吸引了。

从孟买飞德里的航班上,一位穿着印有佛像图案长裙的印度美女恰好和我邻坐。攀谈中得知,这个29岁的印度姑娘叫里贝卡,伦敦大学艺术设计专业博士,现任一家约2000人的服装公司的董事兼设计总监,每个月要坐飞机往返孟买和新德里三次。里贝卡拥有3个服装品牌,她身穿的独具特色的长裙就是自己的作品。坐在我另一侧的印度小伙儿创办了家软件公司,常去新加坡出差。当他得知我是中国记 者并且第一次坐“vistara”航空公司的航班时,便开始兴致勃勃地介绍起这个新航空公司是如何“有塔塔集团的影子、有新加坡航空的注资并有望成为印度 最棒的私营航空公司”。在万米高空中,我身边的两位印度青年创业者找到了共同语言,“融资”“收购”“创意产业”等无所不谈。对里贝卡这些有想法的印度青 年来说,莫迪总理年初启动的“新创印度”计划,或许可以给更多创业者提供资金和政策支持。

可以看出,印度在奔向制造业大国的道路上绝不是只想接中国的班,凭借精英阶层,特别是人口红利中一批批年轻创业者的智力资源优势,印度一直想挤 进全球的中高端产业。有资料显示,目前印度的创业企业超过4000家,其创始人平均年龄只有28岁。仅去年一年,这些初创企业融资额已达90亿美元,同比 增长125%。另外印度已成立百个孵化器企业,有近300位天使投资人,还有150多家活跃的风险资本机构和私募股权投资者。在印度,最成功的“创业兄 弟”是比尼·班萨尔和萨钦·班萨尔,但实际上两人并没有血缘关系。他们俩2007年共同创办印度目前最大的网上购物平台——弗利普卡特 (Flipkart),估值约150亿美元。当然,他们也面临着印度国内运输耗时、费力的现实,建立更多分销转运网点是在新一轮融资后亟须解决的问题。

印度是个贫富分化较严重的国家,但网络正在某种程度上弥合着这道数字鸿沟。我身边的清洁工、司机、保安,很多没有摸过电脑,但都用着廉价的智能 手机,在通过网络与外界交往时,有的人也脑筋活了起来。曾有个为我开车的司机,他甚至有点瞧不起“靠工资生活的人”,先是问我要不要一起投资开个网上药 店,后来又说从韩国进口液晶面板挺赚钱。他还留下句名言——“印度现在到处都是机会,谁都想着捞外快”,然后就不知道去了哪里。

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