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Entrepreneurship – A Journey Worth Undertaking

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Entrepreneurship is a journey, if travelled with perseverance, can build nations and communities

By Abdullah Akbar Ali

How many time is it that we have heard that India and China are going to be the superpowers soon? I see in this as an opportunity for us to grow and expand. This growth will give birth to a whole world of innovations. And who will create these opportunities? Government? NGOs? No. This will have to come from the entrepreneurs.
Individuals like Narayan Murthy, Tata and Premji have hugely impacted the industry and the society. They empowered close to half a million individuals directly and created an industry that India is recognized globally.
In the upscale of this economy, entrepreneurship is highly rewarding thanks to the friendly government policies, easy access to private funds and a positive environment created due to the higher success rate. Having said that, is there not an opportunity for the Muslim community to participate and contribute to the nation’s growth through entrepreneurship?
We as a community should have a natural inclination towards business because ingredients required to make it happen have been inbuilt in us. The ability to take risks (tawakkul on Allah), discipline (five times daily prayers) and patience (sabr) are integral to our religion.
But entrepreneurship has its own attendant challenges. Less than 5% of companies sustain for three years, which means more than 95% close down within this period. Also, time and place matter a lot too. For example, 52% of computer startups founded in 1983 eventually went public, while only 18% of computer companies founded in 1985 ultimately succeeded. In short, one need to outperform other startups founded at the same time and in the same industry.
We are living in an age when new industries are created and jobs are multiplied with every passing day. So if you have a pool of experience or an innovative idea, why not step into the field of entrepreneurship once at least in your lifetime. If it doesn’t work, get back to job! You would have lost some time, money, comfort etc, but surely I can guarantee, you would have gained experience worth a million dollars.
l remember Fadi,, CEO of ARAMEX (First international company listed on NASDAQ in 1997) saying he would prefer hiring a “failed entrepreneur” over a “No Entrepreneur”. He was speaking at the Entrepreneurship summit hosted by Obama for Muslims four years ago.
You need not be businessman to start a business. Ahamed Hasan and Ameen, two of the four founders of mPower Labs never had any business background. They started this in the basement of a Masjid seven years ago with absolutely no resources, zero investment, but today, by the grace of Allah, the Company is recognized internationally. This has been possible because of the support for entrepreneurship from leaders within the community. A seed of good intention, nurtured with patience and perseverance results in good fruit.
Above all the need of the hour is to mould young minds and encourage them to think differently. They should be encouraged to let go of their inhibitions and actually take the plunge and tread a path that’s not yet been trodden.
The author is CEO of mPower, an IT company in Bangalore. He can be reached at [email protected]