There has been a huge shift in technological trends across the globe and as a result, the world is witnessing a rapidly growing digital economy. Easy access and availability of information and communication technologies such as cloud computing, mobile solutions, growth of social media and data analytics has increased the range of new business opportunities for the entrepreneurs. These technologies are influential tools which hold the power to reshape entire industries, reduce entry barriers, redefine value chains, increase market intelligence and provide opportunities for growth and innovation. If exploited correctly, these technologies hold enormous potential to create vast business value for the budding entrepreneurs. Increased usage of advanced digital technologies by new business enterprises can accelerate growth and increase employment opportunities as there is enormous scope of innovation in this sector. Hence, there is a huge underlying potential for digital entrepreneurs to grow.
Digital entrepreneurship consists of all those entrepreneurs who make a living by conducting business in the digital technology sector and can include basic activities such as development of web and mobile applications, earning a living through blogging, acting as social media influencers for organizations or simply interacting or creating digital content. These digital entrepreneurs also known as netpreneurs embark on new ventures by transforming or assisting the existing businesses by use of novel digital technologies or exploiting the opportunities created by these new technologies. Digital enterprises focus on the implementation of new digital technologies like power of social media, big data, mobile computing, cloud solutions, machine to machine connectivity, business intelligence tools, etc. to increase the efficiency of existing business operations, engage and interact with customers, increase value for stakeholders and ultimately create new avenues of growth.
The amount of digital connect has increased manifold and the digital connectivity is increasing with each passing second. According to experts the world has only begun to exploit the potential of the digital technology and we have successfully achieved only 1% digital connectivity till now. The number of devices which are connected with each other, and are simultaneously creating data, automating business processes and providing various services is simply exploding with technology cost declining on a logarithmic scale.
Many new ventures and enterprises are already leveraging the digital technologies to create value and have significant economic impact, but the digital entrepreneurs also face some challenges, some of which are as listed below:
ü SPEED: The technology is growing at a tremendous speed. Keeping up with this speed is becoming increasingly difficult as factors like globalization, changing stakeholder expectations and increasing customer demands add to the complexity of the issue.
ü GLOBAL COMPETITION: Launching the new digital technology or technology driven product is not the only challenging step for a digital entrepreneur. It’s just the start of a complex and hard journey. Increasing market demands for continuous improvement, and integration of various disciplines like content, graphics, technology, services, relationships, etc. all together has led to increased global competition which is difficult to cope up with without having the right skill-set and appropriate technology at the right time. There is an underlying need for constant innovation for all netpreneurs, without which they face the threat of extinction or being out casted by competition.
ü NEED FOR COLLABORATION, EXPERIMENTATION and ADAPTABILITY: The netpreneurs should be willing to collaborate with other firms in order to grow on a larger scale. They should keep experimenting with the latest technologies and should try to adapt their product with changing customer needs. All netpreneurs should develop the habit of rapidly responding to changes as and when they occur.
ü MAINTENANCE OF DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS: In order to sustain success, the netpreneurs should ensure maintenance of right distribution channels.
KEY FACTORS AFFECTING DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
i) Digital Knowledge Base and Information and Communication Technology Market
ii) Culture of entrepreneurship
iii) The business environment in the digital sector
iv) Accessibility to finance
v) Technological Skills
How can the country benefit from this new breed of entrepreneurs? Is it worth pursuing?
The increasing use of technology and the ease with which the technology decreases the load of work is simply amazing, and netpreneurs are utilizing this technology to makes life simpler and more efficient. The new technologies are providing us more flexible ways of scaling our businesses and that too in an easy and quick way, hence creating a highly favorable environment for the netpreneurs. Netpreneurs are using this technology to redefine the way we live and use technology for our day-to-day life activities. They have enabled us to have better connectivity with each other and increase the transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of our business, hence, they are the people to watch out for as they will be the ones shaping the way we see our future. We may get to experience new experiences, listen to new kind of music that we have never even thought of, watch movies and play games in a way never imagined of and be exposed to many more new experiences if we let these digital entrepreneurs experiment and give them more growth opportunities.
Some notable examples of netpreneurs:
· Websites like FLIPKART, EBAY and SNAPDEAL which have revolutionized the way people shop.
· ZOMATO has changed the way we decide to find a place to eat out
· FreeCharge has made recharging a cellular phone easier
· OLX has made selling and buying second hand products easier by connecting the seller and buyer