Reluctant entrepreneurs


A businessman sitting next to us on a plane many years ago described how, when he returned to India in the mid-1970s after completing his MBA in the United States, his uncle had taken him out for a lesson in true entrepreneurship. It was early one morning when he and his uncle headed for the Bombay Stock Exchange. But instead of going into the modern tower that houses the exchange, his uncle wanted him to observe four women who were sitting on the sidewalk, facing the road in front of the exchange. The aspiring businessman and his uncle stood for a few moments watching them. The women mostly did nothing. But occasionally, when the traffic stopped, they would get up, scrape something off the road, and put it in plastic carrier bags next to them, before returning to their seats. After this happened several times, the uncle asked him if he understood their business model. He confessed to be baffled. So the uncle had to explain: Every morning before dawn the women went to the beach, where they collected wet sea sand. They then laid it evenly on the street before the real traffic began. When the cars started driving over the sand, the heat from their wheels dried it. All they had to do then was occasionally to scrape off the top layer of sand, now dry. By nine or ten, they had a quantity of dry sand, which they brought back to the slum to sell in small packets made from discarded newspapers: The local women used the dry sand to scrub their dishes. This, the uncle reckoned, was true entrepreneurship: If you have very little, use your ingenuity to create something out of nothing.........Read More

 

Source: Business Standard


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