You are considering starting your entrepreneurial venture at a particular location within a town, city, or state of India. Pause for a while and think aloud – who are the people/agencies and what are various aspects and/or factors – that are going to help you in your endeavour? The absence of such people and factors may work as a hurdle in your progress or at least slow down your progress.
Your business or entrepreneurial ecosystem is nothing but a constellation of all such people, companies, and government/non-government agencies that surround and support you. They help you develop your start-up in your region and provide much-needed acceleration to your efforts.
An entrepreneurial ecosystem comprises multiple stakeholders who come from both the private and public domains, interact among themselves and help promote the creation of new businesses, economic development, and value creation within a geographical area.
I firmly believe that an effective ecosystem includes start-ups themselves, their founding entrepreneurs, employees/teammates, contract persons, and all other funding agencies like Banks, DFIs, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, crowdfunding agencies and others. I would love to include various incubators (within and beyond IITs in various colleges and universities), co-working spaces, community groups, various bloggers, those organizing business plan competitions, technology and other support organizations. A supportive ecosystem will also include various consultants, advisors, experts, professional service providers, law firms, accountants, and investment bankers.
The marketplace is growing fast, and rapid development is taking place everywhere. Companies that were never into digital marketing are now looking for content writers and social media managers after COVID-19. In such cases, retaining existing talent turns out to be more economical than getting new talent.
The place where you establish your business can have a great impact on the success of your business. Do you have a family-based business in your hometown, and you want to do your new venture at the same location? Or you are open to moving to any location which suits your project. It is not always an easy decision and several social and emotional factors (besides professional and logistical) come into play.
As brought out above, your ecosystem has a great role to play and can impact your business success in a big way. There are places like Silicon Valley, Montreal, Mumbai, or Gujarat which are conducive to entrepreneurial growth. Then you have Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India which are not so supportive of entrepreneurial growth. We have several examples of entrepreneurs who moved from eastern to western India and flourished. Others moved from western to eastern India and flopped. There is nothing sacrosanct about it and there are also many exceptions.
Having decided on the broader locational aspects, entrepreneurs can work from home or virtual office initially. A small office or workplace can be set up later. I have seen entrepreneurs who have started business sitting all day in their car/vehicle. One can always rent a desk in a business centre depending upon the need. Even, Business Incubators can also be a good option depending upon the specific situation – more particularly if one is handling a scientific or technology-based business. There are umpteen number of options – all will depend upon your specific circumstances and priorities.
If you want to own your premises – it may involve acquiring land and constructing a building. Alternatively, you can rent or lease suitable premises. An administrative and marketing office at a prominent location may however be necessary depending upon the kind of business you are doing. A proper cost-benefit analysis must be done for all options before arriving at a decision.
Before I conclude, I would like to mention certain crucial aspects that are essential to ensure that entrepreneurial ecosystems promote self-growth as well as the growth of entrepreneurs. These are:
- Entrepreneurs – People who work hard to grow and create value.
- Talent – The organization will grow only if the talent is brought into the company, trained, retained, and nurtured.
- Knowledge – Entrepreneurs require help in terms of knowledge and resources, especially at the beginning. Entrepreneurs must recognize the talent who provide knowledge and retain them.
- A Conducive Culture & Enabling Leadership – Conducive work culture and policies. Effective leadership will also provide various kinds of support to the team.
- Critical Resources – Availability of finance, human capital, and markets that are venture friendly for products. Availability of Legal Framework and Support
- Diversity – Diversity and Inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.