Till a few decades ago ‘profiteering and big business’ were considered bad. In the Bollywood of the 70s and 80s, the villain was often a businessman, and hence the notion that ‘business and profiteering is for crooks’ got imprinted on a generation.
Entrepreneurship, especially venture capital driven entrepreneurship, democratized access to wealth creation.
The thought for this article was triggered when someone asked me “Is ‘entrepreneurship’ different than ‘doing business’? Every young kid wants to ‘startup’. Is that healthy?”
I reflected on this question, and realized that while both words – business and entrepreneurship – may mean the same thing, the underlying associations with both these words were rather different.
To many, and perhaps more so to people from an older generation, the word ‘business’ was traditionally associated with someone doing his/her own venture, usually something small or mid-sized. And ‘big business’ was something that was considered the domain of ‘industrialists’ – a small breed of individuals or families that had lots of money and ‘connections’ with the political class, and hence were capable of using some form of clout – usually monetary – to create a favourable environment for them to conduct business. That was the environment of license raj, and impediments for doing business that had to be removed usually with ‘speed money’.
Till about 20 years ago, it was difficult for those outside the clout-wielding circle to think scale, primarily because business had to be started and conducted using your own capital.