“Real growth of a country is in the heart, mind, body & soul of young men & women of a country” – Sir C V Raman
When it comes to the productive population of a country, countries like India are at an advantage. Report by MOSPI (2017) indicates that India currently has the largest share of youth population in the world & will continue to hold so for the next 20 years. According to a research paper submitted by Rucha Tandulwadkar, an assistant professor at the University of Pune, a majority (about 63%) of the population in India is in the working-age group of 15 to 59 years. The growing entrepreneurship interest rates in India are predominant between age groups 25-34.
The youth population of a country determines its ability & potential to grow. Youth entrepreneurs can change the way society develops. Their local - innovative thoughts & actions to get self-reliant can improve the standards of living, facilitate the creation of wealth & jobs for the growth of the economy. Overall, the concept of entrepreneurship promotes the idea of sustainable economic growth. Entrepreneurship is getting greater focus from policymakers due to the way it contributes to the economic development of a country.
Role of educational institutions
Higher education institutions have a pivotal role to play in fostering entrepreneurial behaviour & mindset.
1. Entrepreneurial education encompasses not just the training to help you develop skills to be on your own but to think ambitiously & think of a larger good.
What should entrepreneurial education necessarily teach?
- Firstly, create the ground for entrepreneurial thinking. Train and encourage students to take risks, build self-confidence, and instil leadership attitude.
- Making students innovation-ready. Along with giving them formal insight into academics; enabling them to think critically, and enhancing their communication & collaboration skills will help them invent their careers.
- Provide tools & techniques to understand business literacy. Combining traditional economic & business principles with real world, practical experiences & operational challenges to prepare them for a self-reliant future.
2. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman advocates that it is crucial to inspire young people to build companies that will provide long-lasting employment for the country’s citizens. The job market is ever-evolving; job profiles that were relevant a decade back are no more valid!
Motivate students through case studies –
Case studies present the real-life success stories of achievers. Business case studies are now a part of the curriculum at the graduate level. But it would be beneficial for better preparation to introduce it in the undergraduate programs. Alumni of an institution who are self-reliant serve as a great source of inspiration.
3. Partner with businesses for hands-on experience
Colleges & universities can partner with successful companies to provide students with experiential learning. Entrepreneurship-in-residence programs help students work with successful entrepreneurs & start-up founders to understand the nuances of businesses better. Again, it is essential to introduce these programs at the undergraduate level. Established, self-employed individuals can connect with students, serve as mentors, inspire & mould them.
4. Collaborate with entrepreneurial learning centres
Entrepreneurial education can be imparted by collaborating with well-known entrepreneurial learning centres. Guest lectures from renowned entrepreneurs, hosting business-plan contests as an inter-collegiate activity can expand the level of creativity & build a competitive spirit.
5. Help students launch their businesses
Educational institutions should develop incubation centres & innovation cells to convert job-seekers into job-generators. Through incubators, higher education institutions can provide student entrepreneurs with the infrastructure & required facilities to launch & run their start-ups. Also, universities can partner with student entrepreneurs & business administration institutes to conduct market research, obtain finance, and create viable business modules. At student-level, there is not much pressure to succeed. Everything is learning for students and prepares them to take risks in the future.
The energy & passion of the youth, if channelized and used optimally, can bring about positive changes in society. But training entrepreneurs is only one side of the coin; creating a culture of entrepreneurship is what benefits a nation in the long run. Universities can employ a combination of these initiatives to create an attractive entrepreneurial climate.
QS I·GAUGE considers entrepreneurship an important rating criterion for higher education institutions and encourages more colleges & universities to take up the initiative.