Saturday, 01 October 2016 09:18

Find and Solve Problems Don't copy Ideas


What strikes the minds of ordinary people who want to start a business in Nepal? A clothing store? A beauty parlour? A restaurant? Or a lounge bar? The techno-savvy ones, on the other hand, would probably think of starting an e-commerce company or may be a social networking site.

In other words, many aspiring entrepreneurs only think of copying someone else’s ideas, tweaking them a bit and rolling out the products as their own.

Well, this may work, but only in markets like China, according to Mahesh Murthy, managing partner of Mumbai-based Seedfund. China, for instance, has developed a replica version of Google search engine called Baidu. It also has its own Facebook in the form of Renren. And it has created the replica of Amazon called Alibaba.

“But Nepal is not like China. And it’s very likely that Google of Nepal will be the [authentic version of] Google itself, and Facebook of Nepal will be Facebook [created by Mark Zuckerberg]. So, don’t try to copy and paste, unless the government creates regulatory barriers to protect the [domestic] market,” Murthy told the NEXT Growth Conclave, a one-day seminar organised by M&S NEXT Venture Corp in Kathmandu on Sunday to promote start-up culture in the country.

Murthy, who has an employment history of around 35 years and has invested in start-up companies for the last 17 years, was of the view that “what works in one market may not work in the other”, as billions of dollars have been spent to create the next Amazon and Facebook and “they have failed”.

“So, create a product that creates delight. For this, your product needs to be different than others. [With this combination], that product can dominate the market,” Murthy told over 500 participants of the first-of-its-kind conference titled “Decoding Business Growth”, which brought together 12 prominent speakers from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Nepal and Thailand.

Murthy was trying to drive home the point that only companies that can create a niche for themselves can survive in this competitive world.

But how to come up with such an idea? Or, rather, how to create an entrepreneurial mindset that has the ability to think differently?

For this, one has to be motivated to learn, according to Joseph Jeong, founder of Hong Kong-based Oracle Strategies Cyberport. “Earlier, our brain was used as a hard drive to remember things,” Jeong explained. “Today, [because of digital revolution], our brain has started operating as a CPU [central processing unit], because everything one wants to learn is online. So, if you are willing to learn, you can find a mentor online.”

This learning might help one find passion and purpose, which will enable the aspiring entrepreneurs to set the “moonshot” goal, according to Jeong.

So, what can those “moonshot” goals be?

It can be anything, and you might stumble upon one, if you look around, identify problems and think of ways to create values, according to Sambhav Sirohiya, founding chairman of M&S NEXT Venture Corp.

“The biggest opportunities lie in biggest troubles.... Look around, we are living in one of the world’s poorest countries. As sad as it sounds, opportunities are sitting right here in front of you. So don’t focus on creating another website or another social media site. Think of bio-technology, robotics, 3D printers, and ending world poverty,” Sirohiya said, adding, success lies in creating values—true and honest values.

NEXT Launchpad rolled out

M&S NEXT Venture Corp on Sunday launched “NEXT Launchpad”, a mentorship-driven start-up accelerator programme, which prepares entrepreneurs. At the Launchpad, budding entrepreneurs go through four months of intensive learning and are taught how to refine business models, says the company. The mentors of the Launchpad are industry experts and veterans. The programme concludes when entrepreneurs present their growing companies to investors to secure funding. (PR)

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