Are there different challenges and opportunities facing the Hindu business community of Europe compared to indigenous or other communities?
I have been asked to address this issue at the forthcoming World Economic Hindu Forum in Thailand. As co-founder of The Indus Entrepreneurs UK, (TiE-UK) part of over 40 global business chapters and the first European Chapter, and as the longest serving TiE-UK board member, it is an issue I’ve been thinking about for over a decade at least. And now as an Advisory Board Member of the City Hindu Network, an issue I will be thinking about long into the future.
But surely business is business. If there is one thing which has only one colour, it is money – and that colour is green. It only has one religion – profits. So are their Hindu-specific or Indian specific obstacles and opportunities?
Opportunities, and the obstacles a business faces because of a lack of opportunities, usually occur due to a lack of networks. We trust introductions from trusted parties. We include in our due diligence how much we know about someone already and what others say about them. The more people know you or your product the greater your opportunities and fewer your obstacles. It’s both rational and emotional. It’s human nature.
Therefore the greatest obstacle and opportunity to Hindu or Indian businesses is their access to quality networks. Through those networks, you build relationships, access points, know-how to overcome obstacles, information on which opportunities are available and how to access them.
Not being from Europe, or having families here for generations, we may be at a networking disadvantage. Of course some have not been held back, but many of us are.
Those without access, for instance to Parliamentarians, often in my experience become bitter about it and critical of those with networks and access. They will criticise those with access to networks as ‘gungadins’ or ‘sell-outs’ claiming those who are well networked are doing it for honours. Such critics do not serve their fellow Hindu. They need the services of psychiatrists.
Or take those inside Hindu networking organisations who then become autocratic dictatorial leaders blocking access for all others through their lack of leadership, vision and their constant bullying and seeking of limelight. These too allow their ego to dominate and destroy service to their Dharma. They too need psychiatric help.
It is why I’ve been involved in the establishment and growth of business networks targeted at Indians and Hindus. It is the single most useful thing a businessperson can do for his fellow entrepreneurs – create the infrastructure allowing obstacles to be removed and share opportunities.
Indeed if you want to know why Silicon Valley is so successful – it is because it is a network, a cluster, an ecosystem. A network which brings know-how and capital together. It is why the British PM was keen to create TechCity in London – a similar network of capital and entrepreneurs. Through this a virtuous circle of role models and business persons to aspire to can be created.
Are there different challenges and opportunities facing the Hindu business community of Europe compared to indigenous or other communities? Yes, not just our lack of Hindu business networks but also our often-times self-sabotaging leaders and our critics who throw stones at the well-networked. By the way, I am on Linked In and you are welcome to use all my connections and networks.