America is a classic example of turning adversities into opportunities. Notwithstanding their diverse backgrounds, the European settlers established themselves and pushed out the British Colonist. The resolve to make their country a melting pot full of opportunities augured well, and they ended up attracting talent from all over the world, making them a part of the great American Dream. This entailed contributions from every single state.
The city of Jammu is at a similar junction with the abrogation of article 370;we have opened up to the outside world, offering a flurry of opportunities to the Dogra populace. The American analogy may not be apt in terms of socio-political circumstances, but the opportunity is similar. We have a chance to play in the open arena now and contribute towards strengthening the UT and nation-building. For the last three decades, we have been seeing the exodus of qualified professionals to Indian metropolises and abroad. Well, this is our chance to stop the brain drain.
How do we do it? For starters, let us first accept the importance of the private sector as the future job provider. Back in the day, medicine and engineering were the favored subjects and a Government job was a dream come true, but now, that is passe. There are enough and more options to pursue today, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Fintech, and Consumer Tech, to name a few. It is just about creating the requisite infrastructure and environment for the youth to think beyond routine jobs.
A startup is one such space that can contribute immensely to the economy and open the doors of prosperity for the locals. Indians are born entrepreneurs, and people from Jammu are no exception. We need to think big. Let us not forget that all the large conglomerates of the world started with a small idea.
India has a thriving startup culture, and globally we rank third when it comes to creating Unicorns, a startup with a billion USD valuation. Out of the 50 Unicorns that we have today, none of them is from Jammu. With the abundance of such bright minds, there is immense scope for setting up world-class enterprises backed by innovation. The only thing that is holding us back is the lack of funding and startup infrastructure.
We need to handhold our youth by setting up multiple startup accelerators and incubation centers. Why should the Government or Colleges only take this initiative? Professionals from all the fields can join hands and form a Jammu Startup Fund to provide seed funding and mentor innovative business ideas.
With the influx from neighboring districts, Jammu is reeling under socio-economic pressure. And with the second-worst unemployment rate in the country, creating thousands of jobs has to be our utmost priority. So everyone is equally responsible for the future of Jammu, and we all have to contribute towards the greater good. Who knows, with abuzzing startup ecosystem, we may see fund infusion from International Venture Capitalists and attract talent from all over the world.
Vikram Singh is a Banker, author, Startup Evangelist hailing from Jammu and is a regular Guest Faculty at India’s top Business Schools. He recently authored his Bestselling Fiction novel, titled “Mystery of the Urban Monks”. The book garnered positive reviews and was ranked number 4 on Amazon Hot New Releases. His earlier award winning short story “God’s Own Child” was published in the book titled “Kaleidoscope”, available in bookstores and Amazon. He has also co-authored an article with IIT Delhi on Artificial Intelligence in Banking, published in Indian Management magazine.