Narayana Murthy interacts with Mumbai's young entrepreneurs

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Mumbai, May 4 (UNI) Business enterprises should avoid venture capitalists to retain control and make sure they spend less than their earnings, advised Infosys founder Narayana Murthy while addressing students of Welingkar Institute of Management here.

Speaking at an interactive meet yesterday organised by The Indus Entrepreneur (TIE), Mr Murthy said, entrepreneur should make sure that cashflows were regular to avoid borrowing and diluting equity.

Depending on the nature of one's industry, planning the size of workforce was also important to avoid under-employment and attrition. ''At Infosys, we utilise around 80 per cent of our workforce at a given time,'' Mr Murthy said.

On the qualities required for an entrepreneur, Mr Murthy explained, ''Value is a non-negotiable quality for an entrepreneur and so is trust. The best way to buy into your idea is to walk the talk.'' Passion, optimism, high aspirations and long term planning were other important pre-requisites with a clear vision, he said.

He credited the success of Infosys, formed in 1981, to a combination of passion, confidence, exhilaration and mix of talents among the founders. ''We rushed in where angels feared to tread,'' he said.

Comparing the change in economic environment, Mr Murthy said, the reforms of 1991 was a watershed event in Indian history with its impact and afterglow will be felt for generations. ''The removal and reduction of licensing and restrictions, Current Account convertibility and allowing MNCs to have 100 per cent equity creates a new mindset with focus on the market.'' Before '91 reforms, the 'License Raj' sapped the energy and spirit of the country's brightest entrepreneurs with license to import a computer taking two-three years, telephone connections taking three-four years and banks demanded collaterals which were not feasible for companies starting out. ''Logic was not the strength of Indians then,'' Mr Murthy recalled.

He, however, added that his generation had great personalities like Gandhi, J R D Tata, Birla and Kirloskar who ran their businesses ethically and successfully for inspiration.

Mr Murthy cautioned the audience of the danger of overlooking condition of the poor. Revealing that he had discarded his belief in Leftism, Mr Murthy said the only way to solve the country's problem of poverty was to create jobs and practice 'compassionate capitalism'.

It was not the responsibility of the government to create jobs, but provide the necessary platform and environment. He urged the audience to make best use of the reforms and economic growth to propel the country and to wipe the tears from the eyes of the poor.

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