In Your Network - Sujit Nair
Sujit Nair FRSA is a serial entrepreneur and is jointly responsible for the set-up of StartupIndia.co.in. He talks about the potential of connections in the Fellowship network and would like to hear from any Fellows with an interest in raising the profile of enterprise in India:
1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
I am a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about education and enterprise promotion in India. I am the co-founder of Dabblerr.com, founder of StartupIndia.co.in (website under construction), chief coordinator of UK Kerala Business forum and co-founder and chief coordinator of British South India Chamber of Commerce. My passion for enterprise promotion in India began during my association with UK India Business council, where I got to truly understand the opportunities that were available for Indian companies at home and aboard. Ever since, I have been working through a number of organisations to help to foster better conditions for ambitious Indian entrepreneurs who want to take their company to the next level.
2) What did you join the Fellowship for?
I joined the RSA Fellowship to help in my mission of bringing about political and economic change in India. My mission of bringing about a change in India by entering into mainstream Indian politics can be greatly benefited by engaging and interacting with like-minded RSA Fellows who are interested to contribute their skills and knowledge, both politically and economically, in the further development of one of the fastest growing economies of the world. StartupIndia.co.in is a first step in this direction.
Through StartupIndia.co.in, we intend to create a movement which would help to develop the culture of entrepreneurship in India by connecting companies/business hubs in India with educational institutions. By this strategy, each hub would act as a mentor to the educational institutions which it has been connected with, thereby providing access to students of these educational institutions to work on their idea by using the facilities in the company/business hub after work time.
We are initially looking at working with young people who already have an entrepreneurial streak in them so as to create a momentum for the movement. Initial discussions are taking place to encourage this practice among corporates as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The first phase of this project focuses on creating a entrepreneurial movement in South India from the state of Tamil Nadu. Discussions are on with a leading newspaper in South India who has shown initial interest to partner StartupIndia to conduct business plan competitions across Tamil Nadu so as to find promising projects and entrepreneurs.
3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to Fellowship/society?
I am looking forward to working with the RSA to engage other influential and highly networked RSA Fellows who are interested in working in India and contributing their knowledge and expertise to bring about a change in a developing country. Also, my Fellowship of the RSA has captured the attention of the media in India. This could help to inspire more native Indians and British Indians to take advantage of RSA Fellowship and by doing so could help bring about social change not only in India/UK but also in other developing countries.
4) What would you change in society given the chance?
There are a number of individuals who are doing amazing work in India and other developing countries who do not have the benefits which we have. If given a chance, I would like to provide them with the required support by helping to foster a working relationship with the public sector and private sector companies of developed economies through their CSR initiatives.
5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?
Various market surveys have shown that entrepreneurship in India is the next wave. I recently came across a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies which mentioned that India has two distinct advantages in terms of creating new entrepreneurs and start-ups at this particular time. It is facing a surge in its working-age population, when the rest of the world is confronting an aging citizenry; and it is able to leapfrog entire decades because of technology. If India can, in the next decade, provide its next generation with the education and training for entrepreneurial ventures through initiatives such as StartupIndia.co.in, it will not only create the jobs necessary to stay on a growth trajectory but also foster more start-ups, accelerate growth, and spawn creative industries for the benefit of billions, including for many residing outside India.
6) What did you learn last week?
I have been travelling across South India over the last few weeks to generate interest among the state governments to participate in an investors meeting which we are organising in the UK in July 2012. I realised that India is a land of a billion opportunities and not billion problems, which provides a perfect environment for the “entrepreneur gold rush”.
7) Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to
Victoria Lennox is doing amazing work with NACUE.com, ICUE and Startup Canada Campaign. I have worked very closely with her as we were building NACUE during its early days and seen how her relentless pursuit for excellence and her enthusiasm to get work done rubs off on others and inspires them to greater works.
8) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows
I would like to connect with any Fellows who are interested to contribute their skills and knowledge, both politically and economically, in the further development of one of the fastest-growing economies of the world and to take the latest thinking and projects to India. Sooner rather than later, India could lead the world and I am sure that the latest thinking and projects from some of the 27,000 Fellows in over 80 countries would act as a catalyst to bring about change.