From the Director General’s Desk


Has COVID-19 Encouraged Enterprises to Innovate & Evolve?

COVID 19 has had its twists and turns. While a lot has been said about how it has taken a toll on businesses and entrepreneurial activities, much needs to be highlighted on the front of COVID having seen businesses pivot and come around a full circle.  But before we go into that discussion, let us cast an eye on the findings of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2020-21, which EDII leads. According to this largest study of entrepreneurial dynamics, ‘the major indicator of entrepreneurial activity – the total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) has declined significantly due to the COVID -19 pandemic. Of the total population in the working age group in 2019-20, TEA was 15 % but has come down to 5.34%.’ Let me add that the study noted how the TEA decline is more severe in the case of female entrepreneurial activity which decreased by 79% as compared to the male entrepreneurial activities that fell by 53%. The overall entrepreneurial intentions fell to 20.31% in 2020-21 as compared to 33.3% in 2019-20.

While I highlight these statistics to show that entrepreneurship did get affected as a career choice, during the pandemic, I also hastily add that a good percentage of the respondents, i.e. 53% said that they knew someone who had started afresh during these difficult times.  So, can we draw the conclusion that business has not been a vulnerable option for all? Some could still think ‘differently.’ No wonder the COVID years, i.e., 2019 to 2021, have seen the rise of maximum unicorns. 44, 10 and 9 in the years 2021, 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Many entrepreneurial businesses pivoted to meet new needs for goods or services borne out of the crisis and did not just survive but grew.  Many learnt to think fast and innovatively, mobilize their resources to create sustainable and profitable ventures, befitting the times. So, while the overall scenario seems to have got affected, the COVID times, did unleash a wave of innovation. The agility of entrepreneurs to leverage their networks and repurpose their expertise and equipment, has seen success. These are the ones who have combined ingenuity and resources to create a safer future.

I vouch for entrepreneurship that is supported by the right kind of knowledge, skills and focus. Entrepreneurship has undoubtedly become a key factor for sustainable economic growth and has huge potential in every possible way. Efforts to improve the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem should also keep flowing. Entrepreneurship education at school and college levels could be extremely helpful in creating ‘thinking & aware entrepreneurs’ who do not crumble under crisis; instead curate ways and methods to survive. Also, let me add, focussed research, policy advocacy and a pool of mentors would also greatly benefit in improving the entrepreneurial landscape of the country.

I look forward to multitudes opting to learn the dynamics of entrepreneurship and adopting it as a career.

Best wishes !!!

­- Sunil Shukla