May 11, 2011

It also helps if your country has ‘icon’ entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates in the US or Sir Richard Branson in the UK. India certainly has some, of whom the best known is Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys.

In China, however, there are no ‘icon’ entrepreneurs or role models, although entrepreneurs have been gaining greater prominence through Forbes magazine’s list of the country’s 50 richest entrepreneurs.

India has an additional advantage over China in terms of entrepreneurship-oriented bodies such as the TiE network (The Indus Entrepreneurs) or Wadhwani Foundation, which seek to promote entrepreneurship by, among other things, organising workshops and seminars nationally. Founded by entrepreneur Romesh Wadhwani, the foundation funds various entrepreneurship education-related projects like the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), which brings together prestigious Indian higher education institutions and entrepreneurs.

Jack Ma - INSEAD Knowledge's Jack Ma

Turner says nothing even remotely like this exists in China. However, that said, he expects India to lose this edge in the coming decade. With the emergence of companies such as, which was founded by entrepreneur Jack Ma in 1999 – and in which Yahoo! took a 40 per cent stake for one billion usd in 2005 – China is already to starting produce its own iconic role models. It will then be just a short step to creating entrepreneurship support organisations, possibly financed by successful entrepreneurs of the new generation. Consequently both phenomena are likely to speed up entrepreneurship development in China and erase the advantage India currently enjoys.

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