In India there is no word for entrepreneur.
But we do have over 5,000 languages which mean there are a lot of words for absolutely everything else. There is a word for a ‘business person’ who makes money and on the other hand, there’s a word for a ‘social worker’, who solves problems but doesn’t make money.
Not having a ‘word’ for entrepreneur poses a particular challenge when you are trying to reach 100 million young people with a mass media campaign about the power of entrepreneurs to solve problems by building businesses.
Imagine for one moment that you are one of these young people growing up in India – you are 15 years old, you live in a slum or a village, and one day your teacher asks you, as teachers often do: What do you want to be when you grow up?
You know the right answer – “Doctor, teacher or lawyer”
And yet there’s a moment, just a fraction of a second, where you think that you might like to be something else. But you don’t have the words for it. And it’s not the right answer anyway.
What if we were to change the question?
Instead of asking: What do you want to be when you grow up? We ask “What business would you start, if you could, to solve a problem?”
Vinod, age 14, in a small school in South India, said “I’d like to tell you about my second-hand shoe story”.
Vinod’s second-hand shoe business is for people who are poorer than him who can’t afford to buy shoes. Vinod says he needs three pairs of shoes to start, he’ll begin by giving the shoes away free of cost to three different people in three different communities, and he says, “When they wear my shoes, they’ll talk about my shoes, they’ll buy my shoes”
‘Be! An Entrepreneur’ is about changing the question, so that we get different answers.
10 epic movies
50 books/graphic novels (each one teaches an entrepreneurial skill)
15 radio episodes
1 venture fund that invests in young people to start enterprises that solve problems where they live