Decoding Entrepreneurial Myopia among Youth in India

In the lively marketplace of India, the contribution of youth entrepreneurship is evident. Whether through inventive startups or dynamic Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the length and the breadth of the country, young entrepreneurs are not only envisioning ambitious futures but are also actively shaping a dynamic economic trajectory. These individuals serve as catalysts for change, propelling India towards a flourishing entrepreneurial hotbed and resilient economic expansion. 

As the UN World Population Report suggests, more than half of India’s population is under 30, and, based on findings from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), India leads major economies with the highest rate of entrepreneurial engagement, with 27% of individuals aged 18-64 either initiating or managing a new business. 

The National Entrepreneurship Context Index (NECI) reflected a consistent improvement in the overall entrepreneurial environment in India, progressing from a score of 5.8 in 2019 to 6.6 in 2023. This rise reflects a positive trajectory, signifying a robust and resilient ecosystem for entrepreneurs to thrive. This improvement suggests that despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, India’s entrepreneurial sector has adapted and evolved, indicating favourable conditions for startups and businesses to flourish.

To boost growth and ensure the promotion of entrepreneurship in 2022, the Government launched many initiatives to support small businesses, including the “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP) project and the “Capacity Building of First-time MSME Exporters”. A reduction of almost 39,000 compliances, as highlighted in the Economic Survey 2022- 23 also helped in stimulating a good business environment in the country. 

Although the current Indian economy is favorable for young entrepreneurs to start up new businesses, there is a lack of long-term growth-oriented action plans, motivation and support systems. In economics terms, this refers to entrepreneurial myopia and equates to a narrow focus or short-sightedness within the field of entrepreneurship. 

According to the GEM 2023-24 report, “to make a difference in the world” and “to continue a family tradition” emerged as the top motivation among new Indian entrepreneurs in 2023. A significant percentage of 87.8% have become entrepreneurs to earn a living because jobs are scarce and the pandemic has resulted in household income decreasing. A dip in household income forced a section of youth to pursue entrepreneurship just to generate income and sustain livelihood during uncertain economic times. 

They prioritize short-term goals such as immediate profit or survival, at the expense of developing a long-term vision for their business. Youth entrepreneurs, in particular, might prioritize dealing with immediate challenges and securing their economic well-being, leading to a more informal and flexible approach to business operations. 

Another major takeaway from the GEM 2023-24 report was that there was a notable rise in the expectation to use digital technologies for selling products. Earlier it was only 28% of the adult population that depended on digital technology for selling products or providing services but currently it has increased to 40%. The net rise of 12% in the expectation to use digital technologies for selling products stems from multiple factors. Firstly, the widespread adoption of smartphones and internet connectivity has made it easier for people to access digital platforms, enabling them to engage in online selling more conveniently. Secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards online commerce due to restrictions on physical interactions, prompting businesses and individuals to explore digital sales channels. Thirdly, the increased digitization of payment methods and growing confidence in online transactions have fostered greater acceptance of digital selling among consumers. Lastly, the availability of user-friendly e-commerce platforms and digital marketing tools has reduced barriers to entry, allowing more individuals to enter the digital selling arena and tap into its potential for expanding their customer base and business opportunities.

The modest expectations for employment generation by new businesses in the next five years suggest that entrepreneurs, including the youth, might not be aiming for substantial business expansion. As per GEM report 2023-24, only 1% of the adult population is thinking about employing more than six employees in the five year time which is 0.7% less than the past year. This could be due to the prevailing economic uncertainties, influencing a more cautious approach where entrepreneurs focus on sustaining their livelihoods rather than envisioning significant job creation. 

With a large amount of information created and absorbed each day, entrepreneurs have added pressure to keep up with the changing trends, requiring them to focus on short-term expenditure. Financial constraints remain one of the most important reasons for myopic behavior among entrepreneurs. Short- sightedness leads to a vicious circle of short-term gains, unsustainability of the business model and stagnation, and thus results in a low profit situation for the entrepreneurs 


In most cases, survival becomes the key motive of the entrepreneur, pushing other sustainable business goals to the periphery. This fosters a day-in day-out behavior ultimately leading to a compromise in innovation, profits and financial stability. The emphasis on immediate needs coupled with a lack of ambition for standardized business practices, highlights the pragmatic and hand-to-mouth nature of entrepreneurial endeavors in the face of economic uncertainties.

In a country where the youth population and their entrepreneurship share are constantly increasing, there is a need to break this continuous cycle to improve economic productivity and efficiency. Skilling among the youth is one of the key areas that needs improvement for India to extract maximum benefits from its demographic dividend, and therefore contribute to the economic growth of the country. Entrepreneurs who can balance short-term needs with a broader vision are better positioned for sustained success in dynamic markets. Cultivating a mindset aspirational towards long-term goals is essential to tap the immense entrepreneurial potential prevalent in India.


  1. “GEM Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.” GEM Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2023, Accessed 1 February 2024.
  2. Economic Survey. (n.d.).
  3. Dr Nidhi Deouskar, editor. “A study of Entrepreneurship inclination & skills in youth –A step towards Start Up India.” International Journal of Research in Economics and Social Sciences (IJRESS, vol. 8, no. 3.

Devika Nair and Snigdha Misra are interns with CEED (Centre of Excellence for Entrepreneurship and Development), and students at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.

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