Youth Entrepreneurship :Need of the hour

Entrepreneurs are one of the essential pillars of economic growth and job creation. They are out there doing their best to build a better economic future for their communities and their country. Michael Porter, famously said, “Entrepreneurship is at the heart of national advantage”. No wonder, in the recent years, the promotion of entrepreneurship as a public policy for job creation, empowerment and innovation is gaining ground in India.

Nurturing entrepreneurship amongst youth can be highly beneficial for the individual as well as society. It is an important facet of unleashing individual creativity and energy for the purpose of greater common good.

Launching entrepreneurship awareness program 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.

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.

A recent study on entrepreneurship in India by Gallup tells us that India has abundant entrepreneurial talent, however, Indians lack in risk taking. Building entrepreneurial culture is a long term prescription. This can happen only when academia and government work with business, to start bringing local entrepreneurs into classrooms. Isreal, USA, Chile, Rawanda, Ireland have all done this.

Entrepreneurship is usually associated with new ideas, new ventures, disruptive technologies, quick prosperity of entrepreneurs, job creations 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 in high schools. These are not science courses. But courses that allows process of inquiry and risk taking. Students should be encouraged to make and break things. The curriculum should take care to build students competence, confidence, courage and passion for the inventiveness. Schools and Colleges should create learning environments that allows students to put theory into action, where failure is respected.

While the above prescription is not exhaustive, 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.