We Will Succeed!

This weekly column is slated to conclude in the last week of this year – 2023. The objective of this weekly column was to address the questions and shape the aspirations of small and micro entrepreneurs. We have seen firsthand the difficulties that a small entrepreneur faces while setting up his/her enterprise. We have also witnessed how the entrepreneur beats all odds and succeeds. One of the objectives behind this weekly column was to bring the stories of these small entrepreneurs to the fore. At the same time, it was also intended to address budding young entrepreneurs. The realities of the nano enterprise sector were observed at the Centre for Excellence in Entrepreneurship & Development (CEED) & DeAsara Nano Entrepreneurship Research Centre at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. The motivation behind these articles was that this reality should reach the people.

This column became an opportunity to briefly comment on the problems that micro and small entrepreneurs face in Maharashtra. Moreover, it helped to bring into spotlight the flaws in the system and the necessary reforms required. The main feature of this series of articles is that all the entrepreneurs mentioned are nano-entrepreneurs in the service sector. The novel concept of nano-entrepreneur or ‘ultra-micro’ business became known through these articles. Although these businesses constitute more than 90 percent of the total small and medium sector, their official registration is not taken anywhere. Generally, big entrepreneurs are in the limelight, start-ups are discussed but these nano entrepreneurs, who have been doing business for years, are taken for granted. Retailers, auto repair shops, tailoring and alter shops, coaches, etc. are an integral part of our daily life and the economy as well.

However, they are never thought of as entrepreneurs. Taking note of all these professionals was another important purpose of these articles. The stories of entrepreneurs show that the secret of success is the same, although the fields are diverse. These entrepreneurs have shown that by facing the problems, having faith in the quality of their product, and being loyal to the business, one can succeed. The sector is recovering after the pandemic. Meanwhile, fundamental changes are also taking place in the system, albeit at a slow pace. Continuous efforts are being taken to support this sector through government schemes. Similarly, many voluntary organizations like ‘Hakdarshak’, ‘DeAsra’ are also working in this regard. Some of the developments in the micro-small-medium sector in India are akin to other countries. Recently, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) prepared the ‘Sampurna’ index for this sector. There is a stock market for MSME in India. There are government digital websites like GeM, ONDC, etc. Some improvements are needed in the next few years. Separate definition and classification of nano-entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs, increasing trust in the government system by reducing red tape so that maximum number of micro-entrepreneurs are registered, providing options for these entrepreneurs to get easy loans by creative use of new technology, to name a few. These stories show that although businesses are different, most of them face similar challenges. Those who were able to withstand the opposition of society, competition in the market, and unexpected calamities like the pandemic are very successful today. A common feature that emerges from each of these stories is that these successful entrepreneurs have a relentlessly positive outlook, registering and joining the mainstream rather than seeing themselves as a separate part of the system.

This article by Dr. Lalitagauri Kulkarni was originally published in Marathi in Sakal Newspaper on December 26, 2023.