Lecture 4 (In collaboration with Startup JGU)


JGBS Pandemic Lecture Series

 Lecture 4 (In collaboration with Startup JGU)

 Thursday, May 28, 2020, 6:30PM (New Delhi)

Entrepreneurship as a Skill: The 8 Factors that Create an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Speaker: Ronita Choudhuri, Asst. Professor of Practice, JGBS


Unsure of what steps to take next? Struggling to make a decision in a volatile environment? Lacking clarity of how the market and world may change? With COVID, we are all living with the struggles that an entrepreneur faces. But entrepreneurs hypothesize on the future, experiment, and take calculated actions within a space of uncertainty. And while not everyone will start their own business, there is plenty for everyone to learn from having an entrepreneurial mindset.  Here are the 8 key characteristics to have when looking at entrepreneurship as a skill.


Ronita is an Asst. Professor of Practice at Jindal Global Business School. She is leading Startup JGU, a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship at the university, and blended learning entrepreneurship programs. Originally from the US, Ronita received her B.A. from New York University in International Politics and Economics and completed her Master’s with Distinction from the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. She worked for 6 years for the investment management firm MainStay Investments in New York City as a Senior Sales Associate. Her average daily sales were between $1- 5 million (USD) and became one of the top producing senior sales specialists at the firm. After completing her Master’s, she worked as a Project Manager for the United Nations Democracy Fund in New York, before moving to India over 4 years ago.  She is the co-founder of Armadillo Digital, a venture studio based in New Delhi that builds brands in ed-tech, ethical commerce, and digital media. Ronita teaches English at a low-income learning center in Delhi and is also a painter in her free time.

Prof. Choudhuri, who heads the JGU start-up innovation in JGBS is in line with the experts in the entrepreneurship domain that there is no one set formula to be an entrepreneur and it just cannot be taught. It is something one lives and experience on the life ahead. So, to have a clear vision of what actually an entrepreneurship is she states that it is an idea or venture that founders look to start. It can encompass an NGO, a social enterprise, a corporate etc. to bring an idea to life is quite a challenging task. Also, she states that entrepreneurship is matter of learning, understanding and adapting. In Indian context it is often clubbed with family business and there’s a lot of rational approach to it because of the internet. She was determined on the fact that there might not be any set formula yet there were certain skills required to learn in volatile situation. She embarks upon eight factors for entrepreneurship renewal mindset:

  1. Commercial Awareness: It is all about understanding what your customer values, what is the need now and the needs in the future. E.g.- NGO will have two sets of customers; donors and the community you are serving. The training, education etc will be valued by the community and probably the photos, the news of your company serving the society will value your donors. Similarly, Paytm capitalised on the digital transfer of money now and probably future needs would be to establish a secure line of transactional amount.

  2. Creative Thinking: People from different academic backgrounds are starting their own business different from their area of expertise. This gives birth to innovative thinking. Constantly question yourself why things can’t be different. We should not only be concerned about out-of-the-box thinking but also for the things that can be changed or improved.

  3. Adaptability: Covid-19 has taught us to be adaptable, be it work from home culture or students learning online. Similarly, we should keep adapting ourselves based on the circumstances and pay attention to the cycles of iteration. If we are stuck with our first product and do not act to improve it, we might lose out on opportunities and feedbacks will make no sense. We can build on team learning and teamwork through adaptability.

  4. Problem Solving: This skill is much harder to implement in practice than in real world. The easiest thing people can recall is identifying the problem rather than finding a solution for it. Therefore, it is the most important skill required for an entrepreneurial mindset. We need to be brave and face the situation confidently.

  5. Influencing: We are continuously influencing people around us; be it our friends to watch a Netflix series, our parents for a night out parties, our partners to go on a vacation etc. It means how to make people see the world from your eyes, from your perspective. To acquire a skill like this it is related to problem solving as solutions for the problems will be your own opinions and ideas and hence you need to influence your clients, customers, donors, teachers, managers etc. You need to use the correct set of arguments to influence people your way.

  6. Leadership: There are many book definitions of leadership but what makes it stand out is your ability to lead from the front in your hard times. It focuses on how you deal with your problems not only emotionally but also the actions you choose to react in a particular situation. We need to be self-reliant and self-confident during the hard times as this is the key.

  7. Drive: Have a reality check on what are the key drivers that constantly urges you to shape your idea.
  8. Resilience: It’s all about can you withstand the volatility, the punches and can you keep motivating yourself and move ahead. Through this hard time many companies are struggling to pay salaries to their employees, and this is mainly because they haven’t built enough on resilience. You should be able to stand firm when an unexpected hit you hard.

    Report by Aayush Poddar, IBM 2017.