The Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 is being held in Hyderabad, India, jointly by the Governments of India and the USA. The 8th edition of the Summit brings entrepreneurs, government officials, educators, investors, and other stakeholders of the startup ecosystem together. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump, who is the Adviser to US President Donald Trump, are attending the event. Flagging off the GES 2017, Narendra Modi has called upon entrepreneurs to “come, make in India, invest in India, for India and for the world. I invite each one of you to become a partner in India’s growth story… assure you of wholehearted support.”

GES 2017 must create healthy business environment for startups

India has seen rise in entrepreneurship. There are around 3,100 startups, according to a report by industry body Nasscom. The study says the number will rise to 11,500 by the year 2020. Plus, the SME and small enterprises of India. It’s a huge ecosystem. India has 36 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), says the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

India has also risen in international recognition of its efforts. According to the World Bank, India is number 100 on ‘ease of doing business’ index. The Government steps for supporting entrepreneurs like Make in India, Skill India, and Startup India to sustain entrepreneurial activity are being acknoledged.

Challenges facing entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups and SMEs in India

We know the hassles and running around involved in getting loans approved. It is one of the most difficult tasks in the world, more difficult if you are a small or a medium entrepreneur. At times, it is well nigh impossible. From permits and documentation to bank credit, it is difficult for most of the small businesses in India. In fact, about 85 percent startups fail in India every year. Institutional bottlenecks and other significant problems impede the development of entrepreneurship in the ecosystem. They include taxes, insolvency, investor protection, and access to credit. Running and owning a business is tough to crack.

“Let me say that I faced all the problems SMEs face in India: from getting loans to acquiring permits,” says an entrepreneur from India. “Most banks ask for balance sheets from the past 2 to 3 years. How can a startup have those? Or for that matter even funding or venture capital? I did not have documents. I did not get loans. I had to take loans at quite high interest rates. I started out small, with only two workers in a shed,” recounts M. M. Mahendrakar, CEO, Sourabh Heat Treatment.

His struggles and problems are not isolated and continue to plague entrepreneurs in India. Small and medium enterprises confront many issues and often fail to progress after the initial phase.

“There are lots of bright ideas, but they fail since there is no moral or financial support,” says the entrepreneur. Anyway, a few entrepreneurs agree some aspects have changed for the better. Although industry experts say challenges remain.

Fostering entrepreneurship in a jobless economy

Business rankings reflect entrepreneurship has picked up. The government has been pushing the youth towards entrepreneurship. It is also the demand of the times. The job market is quite stagnated. Indian economy does not have sufficient jobs. The Economic Survey says that the annual employment growth was only 0.5 per cent during 2004-12. On the other hand, labor force growth has been a whopping 2.9 percent. According to the Labor Bureau, the country created just 135,000 jobs in 8 sectors in 2015. On the other hand, people looking for jobs rose by 10 million.

GES 2017 a good opportunity for entrepreneurship

Often termed the biggest entrepreneurship event globally, the GES 2017 should foster partnerships between entrepreneurs. Around 1500 leaders from the worlds of innovation and entrepreneurship are taking part in the GES-2017 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre from November 28–30.

The GES 2017 can offer a practical platform for entrepreneurs, investors, as well as business leaders globally. Networking, workshops, as well as mentoring can be put to good use on the platform to aid entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, establish partnerships, get funding, as well as create innovation in terms of goods and services to transform the society.

GES attendees hail from all corners of the world. Entrepreneurs belong to a range of industries, business sizes, and scale at the GES 2017. Investors should come forward and pledge investment and mentoring. Young entrepreneurs can be vehicles of change and transformation but real progress can be made only when the situation changes on the ground for the startups of India.