Can someone working in a company, start a new entrepreneurial venture? ( In India )

Can someone working in a company, start a new entrepreneurial venture? Is there anything wrong to work full time in a company and at the same time be the owner of another startup company (seperate line of business) ?

This is some of the important questions employees have in their mind. Since the spread entrepreneurship is new to India, there are many who have realised it now.

Need some views and opinion of this.


Aninda Das

Replies to this Topic

@Aninda : Most of the companies have a legal clause that restrict their full time employees being part of another entity or organization while working with them.

While it is okay to work on your idea to give it a shape in the spare time, I don't think running a company and doing a job for another firm will yield any results because entrepreneurship/startup is not a distance degree course and if you want results you have to do it with 100% commitment.


Vijay is right in most of the cases. In the case of "separate line of business" without any conflict, one can "legally" have side business as long as the deliverables in the case of employment are met. In reality, it is very hard to manage an entrepreneurial venture with passion, dedication and commitment and continue to do justice to employment.

If the desired performance is not delivered, they will be thrown out of the job, business or both. I haven't seen any successful entrepreneur with one leg on the safe employment.

Edited Wed, Apr 21, 2010 11:17 AM

Thanks Vijay.

If the line of business is different why will there be a legal issue? Say an person working full time for a software company X wants to start his Tutorial School at his home.

"entrepreneurship/startup is not a distance degree course" ----- I am not geting link of what meant here.

There is huge percentage of employees who have realized that they need to start something of their own. Lakshman are you suggesting them to leave their current job and then start something new?

Aninda: Am not suggesting them to leave. My suggestion is that to succeed big time, do ONLY ONE THING. Individuals must decide what that one thing is! Many people would like to start a business but very few will actually start the business. This is reality!

If a wealthy employee wants, they can invest in stable companies(shares), real-estate, bonds etc., to multiply their cash. Running a good business is not a part-time activity. Never under-estimate the time, money and effort required to run them and make it atleast good success (if not great).

There is something called "pre-entrepreneurship"

It's that period of time before you start your own business, according to Rob May, the Business Guru. He says use that time wisely.

He advocates something quite practical that millions of aspiring entrepreneurs are doing today. He suggests you should work a few years in a large company - all the while using that time wisely to learn and develop a foundation to be a successful business owner.

Rob writes:

"What do you do pre-entrepreneurship? Most of you probably work a full-time job. I am a big fan of working a few years at a large company because you get the chance to learn some valuable things about process, procedures, and other ideas that you may need someday when your company grows. But be careful, don't stay so long that you get twisted and think the corporate way to do things is the only way.

You probably have some free time while working a regular job, so use it wisely. Turn off the tv and spend your evenings to prepare for your entrepreneurial future and you will significantly increase your chances of success. Here are the top ten things I either did, or wish I had done, before I started my first business."

To add to this,it's something everyone needs to do( start something new ) because there is no security in a job, so we have to learn to create our own security.

One of the biggest problems with the startup entrepreneurs is underestimating how much time it takes to get a business off the ground. Too many entrepreneurs run out of cash and have to abandon their entrepreneurial dream and get a job instead. They will never know if their business could have been a success, because their dream gets cut short. To overcome this problem system should encourage entrepreneurs to start side businesses while still employed full-time (assuming it does not violate a no-moonlighting policy of their employer).



@Aninda : Rob's views on "pre-entrepreneurship" is shared by a LOT of individuals, including me. Infact, I'd probably mark the final 2+ years in my last corporate avatar as apprentice period where I was trying to absorb as much as I could on the "whys" and "hows" of business. This is also probably the prime reason that a 2-3 year stint in the corporate world is sometimes a prerequisite for an MBA.

Having said that, please do be careful on ensuring that there is no conflict of interest. Using a cricket terminology (given the season), it is ALWAYS better to "play with a straight bat" - this is especially when you are going to start on your own and need to first build up personal credibility (you are no longer a corporate citizen / have a brand behind you).

Moonlighting in your core area of expertise is also not going to help you LEARN new skills. Instead, spend your free time within the corporate looking at HR (on policies), Finance (to understand cash flow), Marketing / Sales (market differentiation) etc.



PS: Am assuming your "why" is not related to earning more money, but, actually learning business :-)

@ Thanks Ravi, appreciate your views.

I have raised a generalized question( not specific to me ), you views and points are so important. I totally agree with your points.

I have tried to ask this questions to many people around, I am keeping track of them. I will share in the forum, soon the various comments.

I think this is a purely legal matter which very strongly depends on the exact contracts signed between the parties involved and the exact nature of work being done in job and the exact nature of planned new business.

There are at least 3 laws that matter here: IP laws (who owns all the ideas related to business which were generated during employment), Non-compete laws (are employees contractually bound to not compete with former employers) and free-labour laws (can a business restrict their former employees from earning a living doing a legitimate business).

And then there are moral/ethical questions.

As far as I know it is illegal for unqualified people to offer their opinion on legal and medical matters. Only qualified lawyers and doctors can offer legal and medical advice.

Also, I agree with those who are debating that it is "near impossible" for someone to build any substantial business while still holding a full time job.

They will not be able to do justice to their business or their job, in most cases BOTH.

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