Emerging markets: Indian entrepreneurship

Kamini Banga

Kamini Banga interviews two sisters, executives in the $2.6bn Godrej family business, to explore what the truths and myths are behind the cult of the Indian entrepreneur, their role in India's dynamic growth, and what the rest of us can learn from this creed

The driving force behind the booming Indian economy is the cult of the business entrepreneur who not only owns the business but is the face of the business. There are examples in the West, such as Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, but entrepreneurs in India seem to enjoy even greater hero status and preside over much more diversified conglomerates. Ratan Tata, for example, chairs a $70bn family business that takes in cars, steel, chemicals, hotels, beverages and telecoms.

But just how important is the role of the Indian entrepreneur in India's economic ascent, and what lessons are there for other markets? I put these questions to two sisters, Nisa Godrej and Tanya Dubash, who are executives in the Godrej family business. Founded in 1897 by Ardeshir Godrej, the business today is a $2.6bn conglomerate with interests in sectors including real estate, FMCG, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security and agricare.