Priti Chatter

A successful entrepreneur in Massachusetts, USA. Over three decades Priti has successfully partnered with amazing individuals to translate groundbreaking science into innovative solutions in the fields of telecommunications, healthcare and education. She holds five patents and additional pending.

In 1946, on the eve of India’s independence from British rule, the state of West Bengal (WB) ranked first among all states in terms of total employment and manufacturing industries making it a bustling economic center. Since then, regrettably, it’s been in steady decline; the many reasons that we have heard, analyzed and rehashed many times…. the economic policies have not served the state well in spite of its innumerable positives.

Now our best and brightest are often found flourishing overseas than at home. Bengalis have excelled in a multitude of professions as scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, bankers, business people, philosophers, and writers, including six Nobel laureates who are associated with Kolkata.  It’s disheartening to see the success not reflected within the state.

When I’m in WB, it reminds me of a grand mansion built decades ago with pride and since then it has not been cared for; now it stands in ruins beyond cosmetic repairs like a new coat of paint or a new window, but with deep cracks reaching the foundation. Where is the entrepreneurial spirit? Where are the good paying stable jobs? Can the new ventures and industries germinate and flourish once again?

Every Bengali (and Indian) is in agreement that course change is urgently needed. There are many factors in favor of WB in spite of the ravages of neglect; we still have the strongest education system in the country, thanks to our committed and untiring teachers and professors. We have ample water and electricity, and we are well connected by land, air, and sea. Our proximity to the far east—the global center of activity—gives us an edge, and the highly skilled and successful Bengali diaspora is ready and willing to lend their head, heart, and hands to the larger cause.

Entrepreneurship and industries are the foundation of any vibrant economy and we cannot be an exception. An innovative startup of today is the mega enterprise of tomorrow. Synergistic functioning of both individual initiative and government efforts supporting new venture policies are critical to realize the vision of a robust economy.

At present there is significant disruption happening in global supply chains.  Multinational companies are shifting away from China for a variety of reasons and aggressively seeking alternate sources for building their supply chain capacities. This shift presents an incredible opportunity for the aspiring entrepreneurs of WB.  The state has the opportunity to invite such industries/collaborations/new ventures and pursue them aggressively with incentives and support. Once established, the state should make active efforts to allow the new ventures to operate with minimal bureaucratic interference.

The state must proactively incentivize the young people (halt the brain drain) towards creation of new ventures. Establish incubation centers and technology parks in conjunction to our universities where starts-ups could come into existence, are nurtured by the eco-system, and then move on as they grow. Provide Tax incentives to Venture Capital funds who are based in the state and invest locally especially in technologies pertaining to mechanical, chemical, materials, and pharmaceutical industries.  Lastly, we should celebrate our local entrepreneurs and their successes to be the role models.

Many think being an entrepreneur is about having a unique, big idea; well, that’s true, but there are a few more things that need to be in the mix to be successful. For example, you need to take the idea and turn it into a living, working, viable organization. For many who are thinkers rather than doers, it’s an alarming prospect.

Each endeavor is truly unique, only two factors will remain constant—changes and challenges—you will have to step out of your comfort zone and sharpen your learning agility.  Each entrepreneur’s journey will be different. Consider using your circumstances as a catalyst to try new ways to innovate.

I wish much success to the new generation of entrepreneurs. We need to earn and make our own destiny.

“Arise, awake and do not stop until the goal is reached” – Swami Vivekananda
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