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BW Businessworld

Last Word: Think Differently And Go Where No One Has Gone Before

The more inspired and motivated young people are, the more they will feel a need to explore, create and innovate

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Entrepreneurs are the driving force of any nation. They are value creators and represent a nation’s potential to generate employment. Entrepreneurship involves initiating, doing, achieving and risk-taking to build an enterprise which is respected for its value system and culture and driven by customer centricity and creativity.

India, in particular is known to be a tricky business environment and I believe that by encouraging the pursuit of knowledge and engaging youth in new things on a regular basis can spark their interest in entrepreneurial activities. The more inspired and motivated young people are, the more they will feel a need to explore, create and innovate. Education, therefore, plays a crucial role in fostering entrepreneurship and it starts at a young age.

I am often asked the question, ‘Can entrepreneurship really be taught?’ The answer is complex. While, it’s no secret that entrepreneurs “think differently”; and approach business in a much more creative way, I also do feel that students can be encouraged from a young age to take the initiative to ‘go where no one has gone before’.

In India, many traditional education systems have been designed to train us to follow instructions. There is a reliance on standards, a prescribed curriculum.

We need to transform and look ahead. And it should be done now.

Teaching Entrepreneurship
When thinking about entrepreneurship education, providing tools such as market research, business planning and negotiation techniques are a must. However, I believe a comprehensive entrepreneurship programme must go beyond this and consider teaching entrepreneurial reasoning and behaviour. Working towards improving interpersonal skills is equally important. An entrepreneur should be trained on developing presentation skills. You need to be able to communicate well to sell your vision of the future to investors, prospective customers, team members and others. Higher education institutions should strive for a curriculum that promotes initiative and taking more responsibility for one’s own future.

New competencies of entrepreneurs gained through formal education can lead to the emergence of new entrepreneurs, who will set up and run their own businesses, with an in-depth understanding of finance, projections and forecasting and a deep exposure to global markets. While there is no one “right” set of characteristics for being a successful entrepreneur, certain general traits and practical skills will help you succeed. I am also of the opinion that knowledge acquired by students at higher education institutions should not be limited to theory; rather, it should be practice-oriented. Creativity skills are learned, not from sitting in a classroom, but by experiencing and applying creative thinking processes.

Above all, I believe that life-long learning is particularly important and the key to sustained success of any entrepreneur. As the famous American author, Denis Waitley once said, ‘continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.’ Surround yourself with smart people.

And, it is important to remember that the price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Arun Bharat Ram

The author is Chairman, SRF Limited

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