16 Become rich, create wealth - Clifton DeSilva

posted May 30, 2018, 10:39 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 10:39 AM ]
We Catholics are sitting on an opportunity to create an entrepreneurship corpus of Rs 5,000 crore, says financial advisor and educator Clifton DeSilva. What is stopping u?

By temperament, and according to public perception, we members of the community seem to prefer incomes that accrue from being job-seekers (salaries) or from risk-free savings avenues (fixed deposits). We like to see a future laid out in front of us in terms of what we can expect.

Wealth creation can occur through either the income mode or the saving mode. But in both cases, rule out salaries or FDs. You can only make money as an employer (not an employee) and from investing in risk-oriented assets like shares, not fixed deposits. And this is where Catholics, in particular, seem to be holding back.

Time and again, we have seen this happen, but usually in other communities. There are innumerable instances where start-ups have scaled up and grown into huge conglomerates. A classic example is that of Reliance Industries, which, from an investment of less than Rs 1,000 is today valued at over Rs 6,00,000 crore. On the savings front, an investment of Rs 10,000 in 1984 in Eicher Motors is today valued at around Rs 900 crores, without taking dividends into consideration. Both these illustrations may be extreme cases, but there are plenty of other examples close to these in nature.

Other minority communities like the Parsis, Jains, Sikhs etc. have created huge wealth for their communities. But the Catholic community has been labelled as job-seekers, rather than job creators. Unlike the above-mentioned communities, we are seen as lacking financial muscle, and this in turn is cited as a reason for not embracing entrepreneurship, as well as the lack of mentorship. And yet, the story could be quite different.

As stated earlier, the majority of the Catholic community are job-seekers. And while no studies have been made, it is safe to estimate that perhaps 95 per cent are chasing jobs, while only 5 per cent run businesses.

Astoundingly, this 5 per cent represents perhaps 1000 Public Limited Companies, based upon membership of various Christian Chambers of Commerce. Over the last few years, I have met several Catholic businessmen who have built excellent companies which have huge valuations; many of these companies have been built from scratch to scale. The tragedy is that in most cases, these companies end up in the scrapheap, as the next generation does not share the views of the founder and prefer to migrate to countries like Canada, New Zealand, etc!

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