Youth entrepreneurship is the need of the hour

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The entrepreneurs are one of the essential pillars of economic growth, job creation, empowerment and innovations gaining ground in India. It’s an important facet of unleashing individual creativity and energy for the purpose of greater common good.


Increase in job scenario

Entrepreneurship benefits the economy as more jobs get created, the nation reaps benefit of innovation and society progresses. Our recent study of young entrepreneurs in Gurgaon reveal, on average an entrepreneur creates five jobs in two years, but if the venture survives for five years, this increases to 50 jobs. The reason why Bangalore or Gurgaon are hot beds for entrepreneurship is that higher the density of small business in a city, greater propensity for new venture creation.


Entrepreneurship in school & college

Launching entrepreneurship awareness programmes in schools and colleges can ignite youth to the infinite possibilities of entrepreneurship — ranging from self employed to high technology entrepreneurship. Prof. Paul Reynolds’ research on entrepreneurial dynamics finds strong linkage between education in entrepreneurship and new entrepreneurship efforts. Most countries and policy makers have recognised this fact and are working towards building an entrepreneurial ecosystem through focused youth entrepreneurship programmes. The question is how do you build this?

Building and promoting entrepreneurial ecosystem for youth requires multi pronged strategy of encouraging entrepreneurial culture in school and colleges, celebrating entrepreneurship by providing role models in schools and colleges, introducing entrepreneurship developmental courses, setting up localised mentoring networks and making available early stage funding through banking system.


Building Entrepreneurial Culture

A recent study on entrepreneurship in India by Gallup states that India has abundant entrepreneurial talent, but, Indians lack in risk taking. Building entrepreneurial culture is a long term prescription. This can happen when academia and Government work with business to start bringing local entrepreneurs into classrooms.

Entrepreneurship is usually associated with new ideas, new ventures, disruptive technologies, quick prosperity of entrepreneurs and hence, people believe that there should be a strong link with economic growth. Essentially there are three main elements of entrepreneurship — an innovative idea , risk taking behavior of people and perception of presence of economic opportunities that can be exploited.

To do this, India needs to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship courses that will allows process of inquiry and risk taking. The curriculum should take care to build students competence, confidence, courage and passion for the inventiveness and teach them to put theory into action.

Every university in India must have a Centre for Entrepreneurship. These centres should identify and recognise local entrepreneur role models and involve them in educating people. University professors must open up their guards to actively engage with local small business community. University level business and technology incubators should be in a position to crack this code. Provided these incubators are run like a business. This can happen only when we create a pool of teachers who could teach entrepreneurship. America has an excellent system of Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) which could provide us the framework.

The culture of startup weekends need to penetrate to tier 2/3/4/5 cities. Since Indian academia lacks ‘how to do this’ vision, Government has to play a key role by providing grants, encouraging investors by providing incentives for investment in innovative student ideas and solutions to fast track the realisation of true potential.

Academia has to play a key role in this. We must document the success stories coming university labs. This can be enabled by making the commercialisation process out of university labs and incubators smooth. There are ambiguities surrounding intellectual property rights coming out of Government funded university research. This should be cleared with most commercial benefits loaded towards the researcher. This can unleash commercialisation of R&D. No less important are taxes— we should create capital gains tax exemptions for startup investments held for a period of years and offer tax incentives for startup operating capital.

A time-bound, purposeful policy with clear near term, medium term and long term goals shall go a long way in building entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

To read the story published in DAILY PIONEER, Click here