City: Bangalore a.k.a The Silicon Valley of India
Population: 10 million
At 1:15am on April 11th, we finally arrived in the Bangalore Airport. A warm, evening breeze hit us after our 25 hour journey from snow-covered Canada. We were welcomed with fresh flowers by our driver, who navigated the rollercoaster roads of Bangalore to get us safely to our hotel. These roads are truly an experience.
Three-wheeled auto rickshaw’s (exhibit 1), motorcycles, pedestrians, public transit buses (exhibit 2), cows (exhibit 3) and cars all share the same road. Zigged-zagged and crammed together into compact, Tetris-like rows, these drivers use up all available space on the road. On average, seven (+/- three) different vehicles shared a lane.
We have since decoded the secret language of honks:
1) Short, quick beep: I am behind you
2) Double beep: I am behind you and will be passing
3) Long beep: Please drive faster
4) Really long beep: If you do not drive faster, then move out of the way
5) Really really long beep: I am ready to run you over
The key to crossing the road is commitment – don’t turn back.
KTA: Canada currently has a subpar usage of their roads
Recommendation: Lanes should be removed from all Canadian roads to better utilize the space and reduce the amount of time spent on the 401
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Anonymous
In the pursuit of trying to address local pressing needs and improve the lives of those around them, the students have created ventures that help connect patients directly to the medical care they need, unlock the access to capital for those that require it the most, and provide reliable alternative light sources for families during energy cuts. The students are bright, full of big dreams and aspirations. They are never short of new ideas and are all very eager to start. But what is inspiring is that most of the ideas were developed not with the intention of changing the world, but rather they are created to simply help solve some of the pressing needs of the local community. In doing so a many of these entrepreneurs have the potential to transform the way of life in Bangalore and contribute to new economic growth in their community.
Not of all our students have joined the program in hopes of starting a new business but rather many of them come from family businesses they are looking to develop. However, working for an already established company does not mean that there isn’t room for entrepreneurship. The pressure of having to take over, manage and grow all the while working within the constraints of an already successful family business has pushed the students to think even more innovatively. Intrapreneurship is equally as challenging as entrepreneurship and the similarity between the two is that they both require a clearly defined problem that needs to be resolved, relentless motivation to continuously improve, and tremendous courage.
KTA: A business idea does not need to be revolutionary. There is also no need to wait for a big idea but rather start searching locally for opportunities to solve problems.
Recommendation: Stop. Open your eyes and observe the interactions of your customer. Open your ears and listen to problems of your customers. Open your mouth and speak with your customers. Understand their needs and then build solutions.