"At the outset I must thank Dr. Patel for inviting me to the function. Before narrating some of our experiences at Hero Group, let me congratulate and compliment the students of all the three streams (New Enterprise creation, Family Business Management & NGO Management) who have received their PG Diploma today.
I was happy to see young entrepreneurs walking away with their certificates. These students, no doubt, are extremely fortunate. In our days none of these facilities were available. We learnt from each and every one who could give us some knowledge and information regarding an enterprise or its functioning. Our teachers were - our suppliers, our vendors, our buyers and our peers. There were no books on the subject. Every single aspect was learnt from experience and trial and error method.
To go out and become an entrepreneur was not an easy task. We brothers, for our livelihood joined jobs but soon realized that we were a different material. Service ws not our cup of tea. So we picked up bicycle components trade to begin with. Like others, we went through difficulties, worked hard and never gave up. Jemshedji Tata was our national role model.
India dhad just attained Independence, and everyone was preparing to venture out and be part of national reconstruction. For few of us it was nearly a compulsion as we had lost everything in partition.
The social atmosphere then was such that, a large section of the society did not look upon entrepreneurs with the same respect as public servants or people of other profession. Therefore, the achievements of entrepreneurs of those days have to be judged by the circumstances that prevailed in the early years of independence.
But things rapidly improved. India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the architects of India's Five Year Plans realised the centrality of the role of entrepreneurs. The country for some time did lack clear-cut policy on enterprise development, but it was more than compensated by the initiatives of the political leaders and bureaucracy. I have several instances of Punjab Chief Minister Shri Pratap Singh Khairon taking proactive decisions to help entrepreneurs of the state.
Not everybody can become an entrepreneur even if one desires to do so. I don't mean to say that he or she should be a special person; but should be a person who has an uncanny knack of identifying an opportunity and be able to take appropriate risks at the right time.
Having said that let me qualify my statement that all of us are gifted with some or the other natural talent. Some are able to use and benefit from the talent directly and in some other cases some supplementary help is required for the use of the same. Recently in an international forum I was asked as to whether an entrepreneur is born or made" ?
The question looks as though it is riddle of "chicken or egg first". There is no "either-or" case in the real world. There are both types of possibilities and instances.
Take for example Soichiro Honda the founder of Honda Motor Company, Japan. He was a great innovator and a man with a vision. He toured all over the world to look at various technologies; innovated 4-stroke small engines; became a racer to understand the technological needs of a racing bike. I have not come across such an adventurist in my life. But not many people know the other side of Mr. Honda. He had poor business acumen. All his early ventures utterly failed. Only when he joined hands with his friend Mr. Fujimura, the real entrepreneur in Mr. Honda was born and the enterprise they started together became a stunning success without a parallel.
In another instance we have the example of Bill Gates who is a born entrepreneur. What he started, as a business initiative in a garage, is today the best-known "rags to riches" story in the world. In his case his zeal to start up something on his own did not wait till he completed his degree.