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20 good opportunities in India for entrepreneurs

Last updated on: May 4, 2010 17:16 IST

Image: A woman learns to ski on a slope in Gulmarg, 55 km (34 miles) west of Srinagar.
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters

There is certainly no formula to become a successful entrepreneur. Some may succeed and make good profits, others sink along the way. Which are the most lucrative sectors for entrepreneurs? Here's a list of 20 good opportunities entrepreneurs can look at...

1. Tourism

Tourism is a booming industry in India. With the number of domestic and international tourists rising every year, this is one hot sector entrepreneurs must focus on. India with its diverse culture and rich heritage has a lot to offer to foreign tourists. Beaches, hill stations, heritage sites, wildlife and rural life, India has everything tourists are looking for.

But this sector is not well organised. India lacks trained professionals in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Any business in this sector will thrive in the long run as the demand contuse to grow every year. Foreign tourist arrivals during January-March were 15.63 lakh with a growth rate of 12.8 percent, compared to 13.86 lakh during the first three months last year.

2. Automobile

India is now a hot spot for automobiles and auto-components. A cost-effective hub for auto components sourcing for global auto makers, the automotive sector is potential sector for entrepreneurs. The automobile industry recorded a 26 per cent growth in domestic sales in 2009-10.

The strong sales have made India the second fastest growing market after China. India being one of the world's largest manufacturers of small cars with a strong engineering base and expertise, there are many segments that entrepreneurs can focus on in India's automobile and auto components sector.


20 good opportunities in India for entrepreneurs

Image: A labourer carries a roll of cloth at a roadside dye factory in Siliguri.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

3. Textiles

India is famous for its textiles. Each state has its unique style in terms of apparels. India can grow as a preferred location for manufacturing textiles taking into account the huge demand for garments. Places like Tirupur and Ludhiana are now export hubs for textiles. A better understanding of the markets and customers' needs can boost growth in this sector.

4. Social ventures

Many entrepreneurs are taking up social entrepreneurship. Helping the less privileged get into employment and make a viable business is quite a challenge. There are many who have succeeded in setting up social ventures. With a growing young population in rural areas who have the drive and enthusiasm to work, entrepreneurs can focus on this segment.


20 good opportunities in India for entrepreneurs

Image: Indian employees seated in their cubicles at a call centre.
Photographs: Sherwin Crasto/Reuters

5. Software

India's software and services exports are likely to rise with export revenue growth projected at 13 to 15 percent to hit about $57 billion by March 2011.

With one of the largest pool of software engineers, Indian entrepreneurs can set higher targets in hardware and software development.

The information technology enabled services have contributed substantially to the economy. With more companies outsourcing contracts to India, business to business solutions and services would be required. Entrepreneurs can cash in on the rise in demand for these services with innovative and cost effective solutions.

6. Engineering goods

India continues to be one of the fastest growing exporters of engineering goods, growing at a rate of 30.1 per cent. The government has set a target of $110 billion by 2014 for total engineering exports. Entrepreneurs must capitalise on the booming demand for products from the engineering industry.


20 good opportunities in India for entrepreneurs

Image: Education, a sector to focus on.
7. Franchising

India is well connected with the world. Hence, franchising with leading brands who wants to spread across the country could also offer ample opportunities for young entrepreneurs. With many small towns developing at a fast pace in India, the franchising model is bound to succeed.

8. Education and Training

There is a good demand for education and online tutorial services. With good facilities at competitive rates, India can attract more students from abroad. Unique teaching methods, educational portals and tools can be used effectively to make the sector useful and interesting.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Food processing has good prospects.
9. Food Processing

India's mainstay is agriculture. Entrepreneurs can explore many options in the food grain cultivation and marketing segments. Inefficient management, lack of infrastructure, proper storage facilities leads to huge losses of food grains and fresh produce in India.

Entrepreneurs can add value with proper management and marketing initiatives. The processed food market opens a great potential for entrepreneurs be it fast food, packaged food or organic food. Fresh fruits and vegetables too have a good demand abroad. A good network of food processing units can help potential exporters build a good business.

10. Corporate demands

There will be a good demand for formal attire with more companies opening their offices in India. People who can meet this demand in a cost effective way can make a good business. With corporate gifting getting very popular, this is also a unique business to explore.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Huge demand for Indian ayurvedic medicines.

11. Ayurveda and traditional medicine

India is well known for its herbal and ayurvedic products. With increasing awareness about the ill-effects allopathic medicines, there will be a huge demand for cosmetics, natural medicines and remedies.

12. Organic farming

Organic farming has been in India since a long time. The importance of organic farming will grow at a fast pace, especially with many foreigners preferring only organic products. Entrepreneurs can focus on business opportunities in this sector. There are many small-time farmers who have adopted organic farming but the demand is still unmet, offering many opportunities for those who can promote organic farming on a large scale.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Entertainment sector, a money spinner.
Photographs: Reuters.

13. Media

The media industry has huge opportunities to offer young entrepreneurs. With the huge growth of this segment, any business in this field will help entrepreneurs reap huge benefits. Television, advertising, print and digital media have seen a boom in business.

Digitisation, regionalisation, competition, innovation, process, marketing and distribution will drive the growth of India's media and entertainment sector, according to Ficci.

14. Packaging

With China invading the markets with cheap plastic goods and packaging materials, there is a good opportunity to develop good packaging materials to meet domestic and foreign demand. There is a huge demand various sectors like agriculture, automotive, consumer goods, healthcare infrastructure and packaging sectors for plastics.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Flowers in full bloom.

15. Floriculture

India's floriculture segment is small and unorganized. There is a lot to be done in this lucrative sector. The global trade in floriculture products is worth $9.4 billion. With a 8 per cent growth, it is expected to grow to $16 billion by 2010. India's share in world trade is just 0.18 per cent.

This is a huge market to be tapped considering the rising demand for fresh flowers. More awareness and better farming and infrastructure can boost exports.

16. Toys

Another evergreen industry is toy manufacturing. India has potential to manufacture cost effective and safe toys for the world. With Chinese toys being pulled up for toxins, the market for safe and good quality toys beckons Indian entrepreneurs.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Need to develop healthcare.

17. Healthcare sector

India's healthcare sector is dismal. The private sector can play a vital role in developing this sector. With medical tourism also gaining momentum, the sector can attract foreigners who are looking for cost effective treatment in countries like India.

18. Biotechnology

After the software sector, biotechnology opens a huge potential. Entrepreneurs can look at a plethora of options with the application of biotechnology in agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, poultry, dairy and production of fruits and vegetables.


20 good opportunities for entrepreneurs

Image: Nova S200 (also known as Nova Mobile), with mobile phone charging feature.
Photographs: Courtesy, D.light Design.
19. Energy solutions

In a power starved nation, the need to develop cost effective and power saving devices is gaining more significance. There is a huge demand for low-cost sustainable energy saving devices as well.

The government has already unveiled the National Solar Mission which has set a target of 20,000 MW of solar generating capacity by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had urged the industry to see the huge business opportunity and set up 'Solar Valleys' on the lines of the Silicon Valleys. These solar valleys can become hubs for solar science, solar engineering and solar research, fabrication and manufacturing. So there is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs in this sector as well.

20. Recycling business

E-waste will rise to alarming proportions in the developing world within a decade, with computer waste in India alone to grow by 500 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020, according to a UN study. This sector opens a viable business opportunity for entrepreneurs in terms of e-waste management and disposal.