In a live session to answer questions posed by aspiring entrepreneurs in the country, Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu spoke about a range of issues including the importance of mentorship in startups and propping up women particiaption in India’s startups. Responding to a question on the importance of having a guide in case of startups, Suresh Prabhu said that while it’s important, developing self-confidence is more important. Taking the analogy of Ekalavya from the Indian epic Mahabharat, Prabhu noted that despite not having a guru, the warrior succeeded due to his immense self-confidence and an impeccable moral character. Hence, Suresh Prabhu pointed out that self confidence is vital for success in start-ups. Prabhu also took various questions on tax implications for startups, fund of fund schemes, and agro based export start-ups.
In the interaction, Suresh Prabhu took special note of the fact that women entrepreneurship is lacking in the country. “Women decision making is not as high as it should be in India,” he said, adding that the Narendra Modi-led government is taking various steps to boost women startups, from helping the rural women to organise into SHGs (Self Help Groups) and taking steps to improve credit dissemination. According to the minister, it’s more important to earn self respect than just chase money. Accordingly, the government is taking various steps to involve women into economic decision making, which will boost their self-respect. He also invited various ideas from the public in this regard.
In the live session, Suresh Prabhu said that ethics and profitability can indeed go hand in hand. Taking the example of Warren Buffett-run Berkshire Hathaway, Suresh Prabhu said that investors are willing to invest in the company due to the strong ethical fibre of the firm. In the agro-based industry, Suresh Prabhu mentioned that the government is looking at various ways and means to improve the mobility of perishable goods.