“If Kerala has an image problem, then God save the rest of the country,” author and business leader Subroto Bagchi responded when asked about the State’s perceived poor rating based on the ease of doing business.
Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of TiEcon Kerala that concluded here on Saturday, Mr. Bagchi said it was time the intelligentsia of the State projected an authentic image of Kerala.
“Anybody who comes to Kerala goes back a fan,” he said. “Good people do good business and the ease of business depends on whether people are good.”
“I have seen progress and hope every time I visited Kerala in the past decade. If there was no ease of doing business where would have that progress come from,” Mr. Bagchi wondered.
“Three things are critical to businesses flourishing in a State – a culture of business, iconic business leaders, and an idea about customer – and Kerala has all three factors in its favour.
The small and medium businesses in Kerala are so inspiring and their leaders such as Beena Kannan and Kochouseph Chittilappilly have taken corporate social responsibility to the level of individual social responsibility. When that happens, society’s respect for business goes up making it comfortable for other business people to invest and settle down, he said.
Today, the Kerala model in skill developed and incubation is being watched by the rest of the country. So is the Kerala story in various other fields.
So, instead of feeling diffident, Kerala should march ahead with more confidence, Mr. Bagchi said.
Mr. Bagchi emphasised the need to attract young people to the start-up scene. “It is not the number of start-ups that matters but the quality. Youths require comfort, interaction, and diversity that get their creative juices flow, which has not been clearly understood by policymakers.”
“Most start-up-intensive places are creativity-intensive places, which are in turn youth-intensive places with lot of fun. Young people want clean, good fun. Give them that and they will come like ants to sugar,” he signed off.