India could be the change the world needs to see, writes Hannah Dinsdale, community manager at Power of Youth.
A new report by the IMF states that the India’s economy will grow faster than China’s in the coming year, with a projected growth for 2016 as high as 7.5 per cent. This is exciting not only because it affirms entrepreneurial growth in India, but with a new government at its fore, it promises a compelling direction in this growth. This direction can be defined as the new paradigm of business, which Ray Anderson interpreted as a shift in business, which has ‘renewable, cyclical, benign and waste free’ as just some of its characteristics. This paradigm is a movement with mindfulness and people at its core, and India, as a country which consciously does things differently, is actively implementing this change in the very fibre of its society.
India’s minister of state for finance, Jayant Sinha said that “the west has done a good job of building an economy that serves the top 1 billion people on the planet. India has to build an economy that uplifts the other 6 billion.”
If led with the right principles, entrepreneurship holds the key to make this statement a reality. Entrepreneurship is a fine balance between invention, creativity and innovation and by adhering to the mentality of benevolent leadership, which has its roots in Indian culture, the future looks bright.
India is the home of many more practices that companies complying with the new paradigm of business adhere to; Aparighara meaning non-corrupt, Ahimsa, non-violence, and Satya, truth, are three of the 10 disciplines of Hinduism. With principles such as these, India’s government is working with renewed confidence, expressed through actively challenging the ‘business as usual’ model. India is way ahead of the curve in one of the key drivers of this new economy: it’s at the forefront of impact investment.
Impact investors cite improved healthcare, transportation and sustainable energy as sectors that have an acute need for change. Nagaraja Prakasam, co-founder of IAN Impact wryly said that “India’s biggest strength for entrepreneurs is its wide range of problems to solve”. Those involved in resolving such projects are therefore becoming active architects of social good. Unitus Seed Fund is a case in point: a $23m seed stage investment fund based in Bangalore investing in startups that are deliberately innovating for the masses in India. If India continues to solve these problems, and shapes its economy around benevolent leadership, the rest of the world can and will follow.
An Indian serial entrepreneur who reflects this very mentality is Sartaj Anand, who consciously chooses projects with a triple bottom line attached to them; people, planet and profit. Just one of the projects that Anand has great pride in having been a part of was evaluating the market potential of the clean cook stove industry. Introspection seems to be as much Anand’s way of life as it is his conscious business mentality, saying “I have an ongoing conversation with myself on the sort of person I want to be and lifestyle I want to lead”.
The Indian government is ready to implement change, they have a ministry of entrepreneurship and skills development, which, at just over a year old, is brimming with possibility.
Indeed every business has the potential to deliver social value alongside profitability. As it stands, India is a nation pushing 1.3bn inhabitants, 56 per cent of which are self-employed, and one in every four have family members who are entrepreneurs. India is serious about implementing change: it has already committed to a 33-35 per cent carbon intensity reduction by 2030 and also has a long-term plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We are in a world that is proving that social value does work alongside profit, and India is currently one of the engines of the world. It has the power to forge out a new path, and the strength to be the driver.
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Photo credit: Jorge Quinteros from Flickr