Mr. VISHAL AGARWALLA, National Vice Chairman, CII Young Indians (Yi) & G20 YEA Sherpa India (Photo Credit: Social Media)
1. How does the concept of sustainable entrepreneurship contribute to addressing social and environmental challenges in developing nations?
Amidst the backdrop of cascading and interconnected unprecedented global challenges, Sustainable Entrepreneurship is the intrinsic answer to the inclusive, resilient and sustainable economic growth and development of all countries. Entrepreneurs, today have an ethical responsibility to consider the future ramifications of social innovation and business strategy, and to provide sustainable business practices and innovative technologies that meet the needs of the present generations without compromising on the needs of the future generations. Sustainable Entrepreneurship is an on-going promise of businesses to act in the right direction where their duty encompasses the 3 Ps: Planet, Profit and People which denotes that they not only have a duty to the shareholders and investors but also to society, nature and the future generations. Sustainable orientation of entrepreneurship contributes to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and solves ecological problems and prioritizes long term health of society at large.
The Well-being of developing nations is often linked to the state of natural environment and the opportunities it offers.There is a growing demand from the public for Governments and companies to expand their focus to encompass environment and society and consequently Governments are starting to implement regulations that support sustainable development. Businesses today are being incentivized to measure and evaluate parameters related to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in business. Environmental consideration includes climate change, pollution, biodiversity, conservation and circular economy among others. Social Consideration include inequality, labour relations, communities and human rights, and the governance considerations include management structures, employee relations and executive remuneration. Sustainable entrepreneurship acts at the interface of Governments,businesses and civil society to mobilise new resources and develop innovative business modelstobuild strong competitive economy that is sustainable, inclusive and resilient. By the year 2050, it is estimated that our global population will likely to reach 9 billion people. Sustainable Entrepreneurship is necessary to ensure that the World is liveable for each of these people.
2. What strategies can governments adopt to promote an entrepreneurial ecosystem and support the growth of start-ups in their respective countries?
At CII Young Indians (Yi), we believe in the transformative power of entrepreneurship and through, our varied initiatives, have recognised these strategies that can play a significant role in bolstering the emerging entrepreneurial and start-up culture:
(a) Foster innovative and inclusive access to capital for all stages of business development to foster entrepreneurial innovation. Access to start-up funding continues to be a barrier that prevents young individuals from pursuing projects of innovation and economic development that could benefit the long-term vibrancy of their communities.
(b) Driving a Fluid, Agile and Ambitious Global Workforce with a relentless ambition to upskill.
(c) A paradigm shift is taking place in the entrepreneurial mindset of today’s youth to become Job Creators rather than Job Seekers. Governments, policy makers and financial institutions must ensure an inclusive economic approach for Youth to enable them to fully explore their creativity and potentials which would in turn accelerate the implementation of SDGs.
(d) Incentivizing pathways to entrepreneurship through education as a means to increase and promote entrepreneurial diversity in international markets.
(e) Address young entrepreneurs’ challenges of accessing information and navigating existing entrepreneurial programs and resources.
(f) Invest in entrepreneurial or entrepreneurship-focus education starting at the secondary school level, which would include a focus on the importance of social responsibility, peace, climate action, and sustainable economics.
(g) Support small business employment and alleviate talent acquisition challenges.
3. How Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the transpiring economies?
Entrepreneurship is often quoted as the Wheels of the Economic growth of a country, and the Entrepreneurs are the drivers behind these wheels. CII Young Indians (Yi), as a strong proponent of youth entrepreneurship, has always made a point to emphasise how essential entrepreneurship is for resilient economic development and the sustainability of the Earth and the human race. However, the role of entrepreneurship in transpiring economies varies from economy to economy depending upon its infrastructure, material resources, climatic conditions and the responsiveness of the Governments and Laws and Regulations to the entrepreneurial function. The role of entrepreneurship in economic development includes:
(a) Entrepreneurship improves the quality of life and enhances the standard of living for individuals and communities by creating wealth, provides large-scale employment and ways to generate income. Entrepreneurship also introduces new products and services that remove the scarcity of essential commodities.
(b) Entrepreneurship can be a path to economic independence for both the country and the entrepreneur. It reduces the nation’s dependence on imported goods and services and promotes self-reliance. The manufactured goods and services can also be exported to foreign markets, leading to expansion, self-reliance, currency inflow, and economic independence.
(c) Entrepreneurship can play a significant role in increasing economic growth and prosperity by increasing Gross National Product (GNP) and Per Capita Income (PCI).
(d) Entrepreneurship can help identify market opportunities and allocate resources in the most effective way possible. Entrepreneurs also play a key role in developing innovative products and services that meet the needs of customers while optimizing the use of available resources.
(e) Entrepreneurship also promotes innovation and competition, leading to new and improved products and services that contribute to economic growth and development.
(f) Entrepreneurship is a pivotal driver of job creation and also drives innovation and competition that encourages other entrepreneurs and investments, creating new jobs in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and construction to service and technology sectors.
(g) Entrepreneurship can encourage capital formation by attracting investment.
(h) Entrepreneurship has the potential to lift people out of poverty by generating employment and stimulating economic activity. Entrepreneurship also contributes to the development of local economies and helps improve the overall standard of living.
4. Can you discuss the Role of Women Entrepreneurs in driving economic growth and empowerment, both in India and globally?
With their being global uproars removing historical preconceived perceptions of Women-led business, there has been a surge of Women entrepreneurs significantly contributing as “agents of change” in the economic growth stories of countries around the World. Women Entrepreneurs boosting the Entrepreneurial Revolution of the World has reshaped the composition of business ownership, be it their own start-ups or family owned businesses. The surge of Women Entrepreneurs in recent decades has generated significant job growth and reshaped the gender composition of business ownership. Statistics reveal that countries with an increased participation of women in the work-force of women have stronger and more robust economies.
Women are known to be multi-taskers and are more empathetic and these entrepreneurs in their business build empathy-led structures which are more people-centric with different management strategies catalyses economic growth with better understanding of what demands focus. India is a country of 230 million Women Entrepreneurs but due to historical assumptions and prejudices, they are still relegated to sidelines in the decision making process. Despite growing evidence of the positive outcomes of women’s economic empowerment, woman continue to experience unequal access to education and skills development and face barriers to thrive as entrepreneurs.
Successful women Entrepreneurs who have shattered the glass-ceiling have become valuable role models of others to follow. These successful Entrepreneurs have an incumbent responsibility to dismantle patriarchal socio-cultural systems of inequality and remove the hurdles faced by them in their entrepreneurial journeys to ensure future generations of aspirational woman have a level playing field along with their male-counter-parts. Yi, with many female leaders at the helm, believes that to create a world of equality and equity where every woman lives with dignity, it is imperative to reimagine women as the changemakers and the core architects of society. Something that this year's G20 YEA Summit aims to amplify through “Inclusion and Equal Opportunity” as a track at the forefront of discussions. The summit will unite young representatives from women's organisations and businesses globally to provide input and recommendations to the gender-responsive policies launched by the G20 EMPOWER 2023 initiative under India's presidency.
Some recommendations for Governments to create an enabling ecosystem for every woman entrepreneur to thrive would be:
(a) Create a progressive national strategy on gender equality and equity and implement a woman/ Gender-inclusive entrepreneurship policy to support women in their endeavors.
(b) Establishing an inclusive framework for ensuring an equitable platform for all and allowing Womenpreneurs to set up enterprises without any discrimination and prejudice. Embedded in the UN SDGs, gender equality is a prerequisite for achieving equality and prosperity for all human beings. Women's economic empowerment is a critical driver for gender equalitywhich will not only promote inclusive economic growth but also benefit business through increasing organizational effectiveness and growth. Empowering woman in the economy and closing gender gaps in the World of Work are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.