Budget 2013: How the young entrepreneurs receive the budget

 Young people, who are taking to entrepreneurship like never before, were watching the Budget very closely. ET spoke to seven young entrepreneurs, running businesses as diverse as mobile technology, life sciences and skill development, for their views on how the finance minister fared in addressing their concerns.


Internet Ignored Yet Again: Phanindra Sama | 32, PILANI SOFT LABS (REDBUS) 

The online bus ticketing site was founded in 2006. The company has sold over a crore bus seats and grown 250% annually for the last five years. 

Target Turnover for FY2013: Rs 600 crore 
 Expectation from Budget 

dotcomBSE 0.00 % bust and Internet infrastructure issues drove out investors in the early 2000s. Now, they are again funding such businesses, but infrastructure is still bad. Mobile Internet has been impacted by the spectrum scam. There are regulatory issues regarding FDI as well. I hope the government announces policies to help the growth of Internet and mobile infrastructure as it will help attract more investments. Otherwise, we run the risk of missing yet another chance. 

How Relevant Budget Was 

It is disappointing that Internet and mobile infrastructure has found no mention in the Budget. I don't think any previous Budget also addressed the issue, but now, we are in the middle of the digital age and I was expecting some measures at least. The increase in duty on mobile phones costing over Rs 2,000 is bad. Manufacturers are trying to bring down the price of smartphones and these are bought by not just the discretionary customer. However, corporate funds for academic incubators being treated as CSR is a fantastic move. 

"Corporate funds for incubators being treated as CSR made me smile. At least, things like incubators and startups have come onto the government radar. It is a start." 
Better Fund Flow for Startups: Manish Sharma | 40, PRINTO 

Retail chain for print and document services, including business or personal stationery. Has received venture funding from Sequoia Capital and Seedfund 

Target Turnover: Rs 17 crore 

Expectation from Budget 

Since Budget 2012 set the bar so low, I am a bit apprehensive about 2013. Last year, we had to take so many blows in terms of access to capital. Government action, or the lack of it, was inexplicable. The Goods & Services Tax Act is long overdue and I hope an announcement is made this year. It is critical for small entrepreneurs, since we really need a level playing field. I am also hoping for a more streamlined tax structure. 

How Relevant Budget Was 
Abit disappointed that a stronger definitive statement on the Goods and Services Tax was not made. While the information technology infrastructure is yet to be built, without which the states could not have implemented it, it is still a lost opportunity. However, extending the pass-through benefits to angel investors is an extremely positive move. Separately, the 
finance minister's announcement that startups can list themselves on the SME exchange, without the need to go public; will ensure that greater liquidity will flow in. And correspondingly, it will also ensure that transaction costs of going public later will come down. 

"The distinction between FII and FDI has to be further clarified as this impacts e-commerce companies." 

FM Called it Right: Valerie Rozycki Wagoner | 30, ZIPDIAL 

Bangalore-based ZipDial, cofounded by Wagoner—a US citizen—has developed a mobile engagement platform based on the concept of a 'missed call' 

Target Turnover: Rs 5.4 crore 

Expectation from Budget 

FDI is a complex topic, but foreign investors should be made comfortable as these 
investments are critical. This is especially true when the economy is tightening. A large number of sectors like technology, education and healthcare will be positively impacted when more money pours into these areas. Young innovative technology ventures, which are now coming up in India, need access to these funds. The government needs to figure out how to allow investments in startups and fund such technology ventures more effectively through its various funds and departments. There is a tendency to do a hatchet job, there is need for a nuanced approach. 

How Relevant Budget Was 

Some of the issues that affect startups, such as 
foreign direct investment, have not been addressed in this Budget. However, initiatives like low-cost finance being made available for clean and green energy is a step in the right direction. Such measures will enable investments in this industry. Corporate funding for on-campus incubators being considered as Corporate Social Responsibility is also a great step. The government needs to find more such ways to incentivise corporates and academic institutions to invest in early-stage ventures. 

"No Budget makes everyone happy. The fact that there are some positive measures is in itself significant." 

Education Allocation a Plus: Satya Narayanan R | 42, CAREER LAUNCHER INDIA LTD 

An education services firm offering coaching for competitive exams 

Annual Turnover: Rs 220 crore 

Expectation from Budget 

I would like to see more investment in skill development as that is the key pain point for India. Also, the country needs higher financial outlay to drive equal opportunities for the poor and underprivileged with respect to education and training, including school, vocational training and test-preparation for higher education. This will democratise opportunity and attract entrepreneurs to the education sector. 

How Relevant Budget Was 

I support the measures announced by the finance minister, especially the 17% increase in allocation to the education ministry, but would like to see more focused spending, given the efforts in the last three-four years. Separately, while the finance minister's stated objective of ensuring vocational training of 10 lakh youth is admirable, the government should have aimed higher, given the young and growing population of the country that will soon enter the job market. The government has to ensure a substantial increase in gross enrolment ratio and a corresponding fall in students dropping out.

"Budgets are mostly rhetorical in nature rather than focusing on deliverables."