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Social Entrepreneurship

This Serial Entrepreneur Tells why India Needs region-specific Ventures for Its Inclusive Growth

"The cost of doing business is much lower in Bengal than any other part of India as real estate is still very cheap here."
This Serial Entrepreneur Tells why India Needs region-specific Ventures for Its Inclusive Growth
Image credit: Entrepreneur India
Freelancer, Entrepreneur India
4 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

He is a serial entrepreneur with businesses in India and South Africa and supports ventures that promise social impact like micro-finance, insurance, and health care through investments.

Meet John Mayne, from Kolkata, who has 18 years of experience in the corporate sector, having worked with American Express Bank and Aviva Life Insurance.

Running businesses in diverse domains for more than a decade, Mayne has realized that serial entrepreneurs are restive individuals who loath to run a business when it becomes stable after the high-risk stage of getting it off the ground.

“They always tend to avoid the unexciting management aspects of businesses. That is characteristically what eggs them to move on to the next entrepreneurial endeavour. New idea for business is also another strong reason that drives them,” he shared.

“Reputation of doing a successful business also makes it easier for them to raise funds for succeeding ventures. They possess a good understanding of the environment they function in and are more adroit at launching a product to the market at the opportune moment. Besides, having learned from their mistakes, these entrepreneurs are better armed to tackle the risks they will encounter,” maintained Mayne.

Public Role in Nation Building

A first-generation entrepreneur, Mayne believes not only the government but individuals also have a role to play in the country’s development.

“India is such a big and diverse country, a union of so many different cultures, religions, beliefs and customs. The government often faces numerous challenges in implementing a single developmental programme due to this diversity,” he stressed.

He advocated region-specific entrepreneurship, as founders of such ventures will understand local languages better than anyone else.

“I started my journey as an entrepreneur from Kolkata as I feel that I understand this region better than other places and will be able to do things faster here,” he illustrated.

For Inclusive Growth

Myne started his first venture while still in school. He started a night learning centre for the women in the slum, adjacent to his home. “We also started providing training in tailoring as a source of income. But the most-structured venture which I launched after quitting my job as Regional Director in Aviva was Anjali Microfinance — a company focused on financial inclusion and woman empowerment,” he said.

“Banks, insurance companies, financial companies only focus on the segment which is safe. But, unfortunately, majority of our population does not fall under the category and I felt that my experience and learning in the financial sector can be better utilized by creating a business for these sections of the society,” clarified the 44-year-old entrepreneur.

Geography Irrelevant in Today’s Business Narrative

His entrepreneurial experience has a lot to say about the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Bengal. In his words, “Every entrepreneur has to overcome challenges whether he/she operates in Bengal or anywhere else. There are a lot of wrong perceptions around Bengal, which I don’t believe. I see a lot of opportunities, which are beneficial to the kind of businesses I am involved in. There is still huge gap in financial space, insurable population, quality and affordable health care. The cost of doing business is much lower here than other cities in India. Real estate is still very cheap here,” asserted Mayne.

However, he agrees that the investment scenario of the state has to change, and more and more investors should come to the state. “The state needs more incubators supported by the government and private companies to promote entrepreneurship,” he suggested.

Attitude and Transparency are Key Drives

According to Mayne one has to follow the inherent passion and keep doing the right thing at the right moment as an entrepreneur.

“You cannot stop when things go wrong. Get good like-minded and passionate people in your team who share your value and vision, and always think big,” he advised.

Mayne is presently, scaling operations for all his businesses and wants to reach out to more than 2 million clients through his products and services across all business in India and abroad in the next five years. 

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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