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Lack of interest or lack or support?

Is there a lack of interest amongst students towards Entrepreneurship or lack of enough support from society for prospective Entrepreneurs?

Are today’s educated youth interested in taking up Entrepreneurship?

Does our society care enough to promote entrepreneurial culture?

A random survey conducted by this writer to probe the above questions. 526 respondents, across 12 colleges, in their final year of graduation program or post graduate course participated in the study. Out of 526 respondents, 12 percent reveal that they are interested or planning to start their own enterprise in near future. 4 percent said that in future they may become entrepreneurs but not immediately.

Why there is such a lack of interest amongst students towards Entrepreneurship? 71 percent of the respondents said that they want to get exposure in the corporate set-up, to gain experience. 68 percent said that they want to build up their profile by gaining job experience in their respective domain. 80 percent respondents said that they have never thought of becoming an entrepreneurship as they feel that they would not able to arrange for the investment required to start an enterprise.

In fact amongst 12 percent respondents who have plans to become entrepreneurs, 89 percent believe that banks, venture capitalist or angel fund are more eager to reject ideas or proposal as they are in a hunt to discover so called lucrative or unique or innovative business idea. When specifically asked what they think to be two most important barrier for them to become entrepreneur. 88 percent said no support system exist for them to become an entrepreneur. 73 percent said that they have no idea how to become an entrepreneur.

Surprisingly most of the Arts, Management and humanity courses both at under graduate and post graduate level have entrepreneurship has one of the subjects. In these courses as well as in Business schools and colleges, students are given the false impression that entrepreneurs took a straight path to the light switch. There’s one curriculum, one right way to study subject, and one right formula that spits out the correct answer on a standardized test. Textbooks with lofty titles like ‘The Principles of Entrepreneurship’ magically reveal “the principles” in three hundred pages. An authority figure then steps up to the lectern to feed student “the truth.”

Textbooks, explained theoretical physicist David Gross in his Nobel lecture, “often ignore the many alternate paths that people wandered down, the many false clues they followed, the many misconceptions they had.” Students are taught about many successful entrepreneurs—as if they arrived by a grand divine visitation or a stroke of genius—but not the years he spent exploring, revising, and tweaking them. The Products and ideas, these successful Entrepreneurs failed to establish—don’t make the cut as part of the one-dimensional story told in Business schools and other classrooms. Instead, our education system turns the life stories of these entrepreneurs from lead to gold. As adults, we fail to outgrow this conditioning.

What is lacking to promote entrepreneurship is the tie up with existing entrepreneurs and start-ups to give these students the first hand live exposure in Entrepreneurship.

There are tens of schemes by state as well as center government agencies and also statutory public limited banks for training and financing the young Entrepreneurs, particularly women Entrepreneurs.

What is required that educational institutions should launch advocacy inside classroom as well as campus to create awareness about the existence of these support base for those who are interested or intends to become an entrepreneur.

There are three old concepts which are still aggressively taught in business schools as well as in the syllabus of entrepreneurship. These concepts of ‘risk taking ability’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘original idea’ is clinched and served its life time cycle. For an established enterprise these concepts may be useful but to accept fresh entrepreneurs to come up with unique concepts and innovations at the initial stage that to without providing any infrastructure support or creating eco system for them is nothing but discouraging our young generation to take entrepreneurship. There is a need for new approach.

As John Gardner wrote, “The renewal of societies and organizations can go forward only if someone cares.” If we want to promote ‘entrepreneurship culture’ few measures are essential and should be implemented. These are:

  • In schools across India, entrepreneurship should be included as a practical subject with mentoring system in place.

  • Every college and higher education institution irrespective of the course they offer including medical colleges should have active incubation centers to welcome every idea from their own students and make arrangements for supporting it either internally or tie up with external institutions or organizations.

  • Corporate should be encouraged to have their own incubation centers were young entrepreneurs are mentored and supported.

  • If establishing of Parents teachers association is taken up seriously, then large numbers of parents can also become mentors for budding entrepreneurs.

Also colleges have many facilities which can become training hub for entrepreneurship. Such as:

  • College canteens can become an important entrepreneurship hub and perfect setting for training as well as real life exposure. Students’ team can be assigned certain areas of canteen as a strategic business unit which they have to manage profitably. This will also promote the culture of earn while you learn.

  • College Gymkhana is another center which has all the potential for students to become entrepreneurs. There are thousands of students who have become part time trainers in commercial Gymnasium. These students can be mentored to manage the in house gymkhana.

  • Events managements of college can be a boon for the students interested in becoming entrepreneur. Every college event has multiple requirements from stage management, to security to sound to hospitality. All these areas can be given to students who have flair for entrepreneurship under able mentors.

College procurements such as stationery, computer and other accessories and other requirements can be given to in-house students’ team who get the first hand training in managing these procurements.

Housekeeping and maintenance also can be organized and manage by in-house students, who can make arrangements for maintenance of the entire infrastructure as well as campus.

The statutory agencies have to take certain initiatives and give incentives to educational institute management so that they are encourage and receive support to create an entire eco system which is essential for promoting the entrepreneurial culture. There is huge talent pool within the campus which needs to be tapped and set in motion.

Dr Hanif Lakdawala

Performance coach.

Trainer and mentor start-ups,

Director Professional courses A.P. College.

Conducted around 1100 WORKSHOP

Worked in four different Pharma companies for 12 years

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