100-times bigger opportunity in startup ecosystem: Jignesh Shah

100-times bigger opportunity in startup ecosystem: Jignesh Shah

The financial market wizard says minimum one crore jobs and up to 10 crore jobs can be created in the next 10 years through this ecosystem

New Delhi: After setting up 14 exchanges across six continents in a span of ten years, engineer-turned-financial market wizard Jignesh Shah now sees 100-times bigger business potential in a 'startup ecosystem' which he feels can create up to 10 crore jobs over the next decade.

After a payment default of Rs 5,600 crore in 2013 at his smallest venture National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), which had a daily trading volume of Rs 200 crore as compared to more than Rs 1.20 lakh crore a day at his biggest exchange MCX, Shah was forced out of all Sebi-regulated businesses under regulatory orders amid a multi-agency probe.

Shah, however, said he is confident now that the time has come to start his second innings as court orders are absolving him of all the charges one after another as no agency could prove even a single paisa of wrongdoing on his part, nor on part of his companies.

However, he wants to focus this time on a mentoring role and help youngsters with innovative ideas live their entrepreneurship dreams by providing them a platform for "institutionalisation, globalisation and scaling up" of their ventures. "When I set up exchanges and launched different products, I was creating and innovating for a very elite class in financial markets. Today, I want to create something for the masses," Shah told.

"I want to be a coach now and nurture young entrepreneurs by putting in my entire experience and everything I have got to create world-class and world-scale institutions in all the verticals that we will work in. I want to create a big assembly line of future Jignesh Shahs," he said. "I created and nurtured a business that made India the world's second largest marketplace in commodities trading and we were on the top in all businesses our exchanges did. And this feat was achieved in a political environment that was not very conducive," the 52-year businessman said.

"We now have a very conducive environment with a strong leadership under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that wants to promote entrepreneurship and job creation," said Shah, now Chairman Emeritus of 63 Moons Technologies, the rechristened and re-booted version of the Financial Technologies (India) Ltd, the erstwhile parent holding firm for all the exchanges founded by him.

"We created 10 lakh jobs through our exchanges during a period of ten years (2003-2013). But entrepreneurship is 100-times bigger opportunity than what I had in the exchange space and it won't be wrong to say that we can create minimum one crore jobs and up to 10 crore jobs in the next 10 years through this startup ecosystem," he said.

Asked to explain what kind of 'ecosystem' he wishes to create and what areas those startups would work in, 52-year-old Shah, who hails from Gujarat and started his career as an engineer before setting up Financial Technologies in his early 20s, said it would not be limited to the areas of technology and financial markets.

"It can be in agriculture, which attracts me the most today, it can be in genetics and it can be in robotics also. There won't be any constraints," he said. Referring to Prime Minister Modi's call for creating institutions that are of global scale, Shah said his only regret in life has been that he was scaling global heights at a time when the political leadership of the country lacked this vision and a supportive environment would have made India the world's largest financial marketplace.

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