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What Startups Can Learn About Entrepreneurship From Mahatma Gandhi

What Startups Can Learn About Entrepreneurship From Mahatma Gandhi

Day in day out, startups endure a struggle of their own. An entrepreneur’s journey is a tale scripted with sweat and tears, failures and disappointments, heartbreak and toil, losses and bankruptcies. Every day, they battle it out to script a journey of their own, to keep their venture afloat, to find the purpose behind their quest, to keep the flag flying high even in the face of insurmountable barriers. Their journey, their quest, their struggle, their venture is not much different from the seemingly impossible one undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, who scripted India’s journey of attaining complete independence from the British rule.

In small steps and movements, he slowly led an entire nation to free itself from the shackles of its colonisers, realizing his vision of a free India. Here are a few leaves that entrepreneurs can take out of his story, as they try to bridge the gap between their vision and the process of turning it into reality.

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

Needless to say, this would ring so well with today’s entrepreneurs who through the power of their ideas and technology are finding solutions to local problems in the fastest and most efficient way.


“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Before an entrepreneur wishes to bring about a thought shift in the society through his idea, he first has to fully believe in it and accept its potential to solve the problem he wants to. Only once he fully practices what he preaches, can he expect others to follow suit.


Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.

An important part of a startup’s journey is the failures it will face.  In a startup, one should be free to experiment, try out new approaches, without facing the stigma of having made a mistake. The culture fostered should be of experimenting and innovating, not of playing it safe for fear of failure.


“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

As an entrepreneur, you may start with nothing but just the belief that your idea will work and that belief will propel you onwards. Funding, success and revenues will only follow where there is faith and conviction.


“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

You might have to reiterate your idea again and again, battle resource crunch, money crunch or time crunch on a daily basis. It will only be the spirit of not giving up till you hit the right plan, the right solution and the right model which will help you navigate the lows and stay afloat.


“It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone.”

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. In a cushy corporate job, you will be safe and secure. But striking out of the crowd to find your true calling and following your passion will exhaust all the reserves of courage you have in you. Be prepared to be courageous.


“Continue to grow and evolve.”

Your journey doesn’t end with that one product, that one solution, that one model and that one big series A. Sooner or later, the competition will catch up with you. You have to grow, evolve, and change quickly to not become irrelevant, stagnant, and a has-been. As an entrepreneur, the goal is not the end of your path; it’s your path which is the goal.


On his 146th birthday, we remember Mahatma Gandhi fondly for all that he taught us!