Too many entrepreneurs give up, says Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal

The 25-year-old is at the helm of one of the world's fastest growing hotel chains
Too many entrepreneurs give up, says Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal, the 25-year-old CEO of India’s Oyo Hotels & Homes.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 15 Jul 2019 03:09 PM

Too many young entrepreneurs give up on their ambitions “too early” before they can make an impact, according to Ritesh Agarwal, the 25-year-old CEO of India’s Oyo Hotels & Homes.

Agarwal – a college dropout – founded his first company, Oravel, in 2011, before launching Oyo in the Indian city of Gurgaon in 2013.

The company is now present in 881 cities around the world, with 850,000 rooms in over 23,000 hotels. It is now considered the third largest hospitality chain in the world based on room count. By 2023, it hopes to be the world’s largest hotel chain.

In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Agarwal said that he is often approached for advice by young entrepreneurs, although he still believes Oyo has “a lot to accomplish before we share advice.”

What he does tell people, however, is that “perseverance is an irreplaceable trait.”

“There is always light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “Way too many people give up early without realising that impactful or big things take time. It’s important to keep putting in effort. Keep at it.”

The benefits of young people

Additionally, Agarwal said he is an advocate of companies hiring young staff members, who he believes bring considerable benefits to an organisation. In the case of Oyo, the average age of staff members is in their mid to-late 20s.

“We’re very lucky to be in the crossroads of two industries which inspire the creativity and usefulness of young people,” he said. “Hospitality fundamentally inspires young people. If you go to your hotel, you will find a lot of young people. We’re also a tech-focused organisation.”

Young people, he added, “really put a lot of effort” into their work.

“They don’t work for just money. Millennials today want to work for a vision, which is more than just two meals a day,” he said. “Working for a cause is what sets them apart. They put in a lot of effort to make a difference. They want to be impact oriented.”

Agarwal also said that he believes that young people are ambitious, which inspires them to work even harder for their organisations.

“They aren’t satisfied with making an incremental difference,” he said. “They want to make a genuine difference to their lives and to their families’ lives.”

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