Business Categories
Feb, 04 2011


Entrepreneurship is on the rise in India. But what factors pull the trigger and make it happen? Is it an individual's search for growth and learning, or just name and fame? We explore the motivators…

THERE are endless factors that motivate a person into entrepreneurship. A lot of research goes into understanding why some individuals decide to break through the traditional ways of doing things and others don't. However, literature suggests there are no specific entrepreneurial traits available that describe the characteristics to which entrepreneurs generally conform to. Entrepreneurs can be outgoing or reticent, logical or instinctive, cautious or daring and can be driven by their individualistic instincts to venture into business.

The survey & methodology

In the last article, we had presented the overview of the study on ‘Entrepreneurship in India’. Moving ahead the present article analysis the key motivators for the entrepreneurs. The sample for the survey majorly included the Fore-Runners (42%), indicating aggressive second-generation entrepreneurs who want to grow to seize the contemporary business excitement, besides the Go-Getters (16%), the Pragmatics (24%) and the Dreamers (18%).

The sample, constituting a mix bag of first and generation entrepreneurs, was presented a set of 15 driving/motivating statements and asked to present their level of agreement on a Likert Scale. The result was run over factor analysis, which led to the four key motivational triggers. Following this, their submitted as well as individual scores were analysed for the final results.

As the study attempts to contribute to the existing research on the motivating factors of entrepreneurs, factor analysis reveals the following:

Key Motivator I: Acclaim and Recognition

One of the key driving factors of entrepreneurship observed amongst the recent breed of young Indians is inclination towards acclaim. This will lead to innovation-led entrepreneurship, which could be an advantage for the country in the long run. The inclination is anyhow inevitable, as the business ecosystem exhibits vibrant financial markets and high turnaround time for new business. At the same time, contemporary businessmen are professionally educated and confident, utilising their acumen to succeed in business.

Acclaim and recognition is the secondmost agreed motivator with a total score of 4,270, which means that entrepreneurs today seek fame over money when it comes to starting their own business. Amongst these motivators, the drive to challenge oneself seems to have obtained maximum agreement (4,580) followed by idea-led thrust for entrepreneurship (4,190).

Trigger 1: I want to challenge/prove myself

The eagerness to challenge themselves is the main motivator for entrepreneurs. Almost 91 per cent of the entrepreneurs, with least or most seriousness of intention, are motivated when they challenge themselves.

Trigger 2:  I want to make an idea or innovation happen

Entrepreneurship gives the freedom to try something new and break the stereotypes. The idea or innovation is the second major motivator. The second-generation entrepreneurs, who are planning to further expand their business (the Fore-Runners), agreed strongly with the statement (85%). Also, none of the Go-Getters disagreed, 94 per cent of them agreed to the statement. This indicates that the first-generation entrepreneurs in India are idea-driven.

Trigger 3: I want to fill a gap in the market

A total of 80 per cent respondents believed that they want to fill a gap in the market. This is essentially because of the present market scenario, which seems buzzing with new unexplored opportunities. Any sharp-eyed businessman would find his own niche to explore and hence feel driven.

Trigger 4: I want to do something that helps or supports other people

Entrepreneurship promotes employment and generates wealth, thus contributing hugely in the economical growth. Helping and supporting other people remains a major motivator for 72 per cent of the respondents. This is evident from the philanthropic business ventures of social entrepreneurs that one gets to hear in spite of an absolute lack of supportive infrastructure.

Key Motivator II - Growth and Freedom

This is the main motivating factor, which drives Indians towards entrepreneurship. It received a total score of 4,440).

Trigger 5: I want the freedom to adopt my own approach to work

It's a quiet trend, indicating a non-clichéd and traditional approach towards business, with 89 per cent of the businessmen believing that they want to adopt fresh approach towards work. A consistent agreement was also observed across the categories, indicating that adopting one's own approach is a priority when one decides to start his own business, with the score of Fore-Runners (89%), Go-Getters (93%), Pragmatics 96% and Dreamers (78%).

Trigger 6: I want to make more money

In the ultimate acid test, the Indian entrepreneurs emerged winners, as making more money is one of the biggest motivators (85%) for them. So the Indian businessmen do start their own business to earn more money than what they can earn in a relatively easier option, for instance job. The agreement is very consistent amongst all the categories of entrepreneurs, with the Fore-Runners (91%), the Go-Getters (75%), the Pragmatics (84%) and the Dreamers (84%)

Trigger 7: I have always wanted to be my own boss

This trigger has its roots in both for the need for freedom as well as dissatisfaction from job .However, the new-generation entrepreneurs believe freedom to be one`s own boss is the biggest motivator (89%). The frequency is similar for all categories of Fore-Runners (93%), Go-Getters (68%), Pragmatics (80%) and Dreamers (84%). The agreement is especially high amongst second-generation entrepreneurs, indicating that entrepreneurs who are already from business families are more averse to the idea of working under the supervision of someone.

Key motivator III - Dissatisfaction from job

Dissatisfaction from the job leads many professionals to quit their jobs and start their own business. The component exhibited a strong agreement with a total score of 4,120, validating that the future will witness more job incumbents shunning their jobs and venturing into business to follow their passion.

Trigger 8: I am dissatisfied with my current job

Dissatisfaction from job contributes to one of the major drivers of entrepreneurship. This trend has been quite visible, as there are lot many instances where jaded and dissatisfied professionals in their early 30s start their own ventures. It again raises a question for the Indian business ecosystem because there is hardly any entrepreneurial activity after graduation. So, students are encouraged to take up jobs when they are unsure of their interest.

Trigger 9: I have had difficulty finding suitable paid employment

Unemployment or lack of right employment often motivates people (72%) in India towards entrepreneurship. The statement has a significant agreement from the Dreamers (78%), as they feel that they might not get a suitable job or paid employment.

Trigger 10: I have the necessary skills and knowledge to start a business (h)

Beaming with confidence, the modern day entrepreneur (86%) believes he has the pre-requisite knowledge and skills. This is a very positive statement for the market and the economy, where skills can be harnessed into successful businesses. This belief is shared amongst all the categories, the Fore-Runners (95%), the Go-Getters (87%), the Pragmatics (84%) and the Dreamers (68%).

Key Motivator IV - Achievement and Advancement

Achievement and advancement is the least important motivator for Indian entrepreneurs with the least score of disagreement (3,320). These motivators are basically driven by the social economic impact on the minds of Indian businessmen. Evolving on the learning curve, many indigenous businessmen are motivated to develop their own ventures.

Trigger 11: I want to follow the example of someone I admire

The Indian socio-economic system tends to be very protective and historically, taking risk is not considered to be a very wise decision. No wonder, taking up a secured job is considered the ideal success path. That's why we lack legendary entrepreneurial success stories except for the likes of R.K. Narayanas and Sunil Bhartis. In all, a total of 61.6 per cent of the entrepreneurs agreed that they wanted to follow the example of someone they admire. Following the footsteps of successful entrepreneurs is the greatest motivator for Pragmatics with 68 per cent agreeing to the statement, followed by the Fore-Runners (65%), the Dreamers (52%) and the Go-Getters (50%).

Trigger 12: I want to continue a family tradition

Around 40 per cent of the second-generation entrepreneurs feel continuing the family tradition of owing a business is the major motivator to become an entrepreneur. Only 25 per cent of the Go-Getters and 28 per cent of the Pragmatics agreed to the statement, for Dreamers (10%), this is not a motivating factor. The disagreement in the rest of the categories proves that the motivation for first-generation entrepreneurs is emotion-driven.

Trigger 13: I want to develop a hobby into a commercial enterprise

It is a unique set of motivator, in which there is a strong belief in one's full-time profession. This is, however, not amongst one of the key drivers for the Indian businessmen. The results suggest 53 per cent of the Fore-Runners, 50 per cent of the Go-Getters and 42 per cent of the Dreamers agreed that turning a hobby into a commercial enterprise is another motivating factor. The surprise here is the Pragmatics, who are motivated by the trigger in a relative majority (60%). It's a hazy indication that in the next two to four years, we would get to see more and more of such entrepreneurs.

Trigger 14: I want to do my business better than my previous employer

A total of 53 per cent of the respondents agreed to this trigger. Individually, agreement includes the Fore-Runners (53%), the Go-Getters (68%), the Pragmatics (44%) and the Dreamers (52%), indicating that they are driven by the passion to do business better than their employers. This trigger has its roots in a steep learning curve, leading to entrepreneurship.

Trigger 15: I want to be able to work from home

The respondents showed 44 per cent disagreement to this statement, which implies that entrepreneurs are not motivated by the idea of working from home. More percentage of Dreamers and Pragmatics agreed, showing that flexibility to work from home serve them well. Further, 19 per cent of the Fore-Runners, 31 per cent of the Go-Getters, 48 per cent of the Pragmatics and 31 per cent of the Dreamers agreed to the statement.


Initially, breaking free was quite difficult for the risk-averse and traditional Indian Inc. But now, driven by the contemporary creative energies, the Indian entrepreneurs are surely ready to have a view of the world from where they stand.

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