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India's Leading Entrepreneurs on What Keeps Them Going The desire to solve problems at scale is one of the key motivating factors for most entrepreneurs in India today

By S Shanthi

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


Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It is one of the toughest journeys to embark on and often, one has to sacrifice many things to scale her or his business to a certain level. It takes a minimum of five years to start having a life beyond work.

That's why asked some of India's unicorn founders about how they stay motivated every day.

Nirmit Parikh, CEO and founder, Apna

"I believe that in today's world there's nothing more satisfying than to know that you've impacted someone's life, in whichever way possible. That's what drives me every day, to empower not one but a billion lives across the globe, by solving the earth scale issue of unemployment. This seed of dream has led me and my team on a mission to ensure that everyone has a job in every household, which can help uplift socioeconomic status and effect a radical cultural change in the country. Some mornings, it's simply incredible to witness how drastically the lives of apna users are changing through just a smartphone. Such positive testimonies spark an exponential urge to impact more lives by providing a level-playing field for many people with hyperlocal job opportunities and act as an arsenal to help them break the glass ceiling.

Every day when I wake up to messages about people getting opportunities through apna – that's what drives me to move ahead, because if it's one person today, tomorrow it will be a billion people."

Baskar Subramanian, founder, Amagi

"The fundamental job and the opportunity in front of us keep me going. The vision that I can go after and actually build is the most exciting. Everything that I come up with, so much to do and so much to get done and extremely interesting opportunity in front of us, for each of us to be able to contribute, I think that's the driver. Day in and day out I feel that and that's what drives me. Everything else is incidental. They will happen, but this is the whole reason I wake up from bed every day."

Ashwin Damera, co-founder and CEO, Emeritus

"The guiding light of my life is the mission — to make high-quality education accessible and affordable across the globe. It is this desire to be the change and work for the welfare of society that does not allow me to step back. It is the fire within me to do something and impact over a million lives that keep me going. At Emeritus, we built our business with this in mind and a clear vision of the product we were building.

In India alone, 40 million people are enrolled in various courses in higher education (including undergraduate and postgraduate). This equates to a 27 per cent Gross Enrolment ratio (only 27 per cent enrolling in degree, of the total graduates). The government wants this enrolment ratio to go up to 40 per cent signifying a 15 per cent increase in seats. Mathematically, around 20 million new seats need to be created to meet the demands. There surely is a gap between the supply and the demand side and we need to have hybrid models of learning as the brick and mortar models cannot accommodate the ever-growing demands. The desire to change the education landscape never lets me stop and keeps me going."

Kallol Banerjee, co-founder, Rebel Foods

"India is the fastest-growing unicorn hub in the world. An important facilitator of this has been the country's focus on creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurship. The fact that adding to the inputs can create a global impact on the startup culture, especially in the food tech sector is what drives us to do our best. The sheer dedication to unlocking many great economic possibilities, and the hard work of team members towards larger missions to make a difference is the biggest motivation to strive for. We find our duty to serve the best to our customers who are not only our loyalists but also our critics that help us grow. Relentlessly working to achieve a better customer experience and making products that will leave an impression has kept us awake at night and has led to many innovations at Rebel. Along with that, the trust and support put in by our investors keeps us driven. The collective growth of all innovative thinkers is transforming and inspiring. We endeavor to add to the revolution that is now redefining the Indian industry."

Rajaraman Santhanam, co-founder, Chargebee

"Solving problems at scale that can create value for the customer is what motivates me every day. I also look forward to making sure that everyone in the company is equally excited to come work every day and build something new. Finally, being in the SaaS space, I feel happy, proud and grateful that I'm building an Indian company for the world."

S Shanthi

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 



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