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Development of young entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is now extensively being promoted and focused in business courses in academia. This is a much required and imperative shift in the environment in most of the academic institutions. As President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry during 2006-2007, I was on the Board of seventeen educational institutes and universities by virtue of my designation. I would often advocate the need to develop entrepreneurs but emphasis was mostly placed on the concept of orienting MBA students to enter the service sector. Informal surveys of students with whom I interacted then, and subsequently whenever I was invited to be a speaker in these institutions, revealed that a majority of them wanted to pursue a career in the financial sector and most of them were hoping for a position in foreign banks. The disconcerting response was that very few wanted to set up a business or even make Marketing as their career objective.

Entrepreneurship becomes a reality when graduating students comprehend and envisage the dynamics of this subject. The first and foremost step is to lay down a structured plan of action to become an entrepreneur and that this journey may be filled with hindrances, logistic issues, and understanding how the complex government machinery operates. A budding entrepreneur must recognize that an entrepreneur is someone who is cognizant of the fact that the risk factor is considerably higher, because at the outset, capital, whether one’s own or someone else’s, is at stake and that generating more capital out of this outlay is a challenging venture. Notwithstanding this risk, the success of the enterprise largely depends on acumen, vision, and grabbing the opportunities that flow in or are available. In short, the upcoming entrepreneur requires Creativity, Courage and Cash. Hands-on approach, devotion and fortitude, combined with the 3Cs, will enable the entrepreneur to ascertain the role of “economic person” which is what an entrepreneur really is.

The development of an entrepreneur should not be limited to the academic curriculum but must now take on a more holistic approach. The new entrepreneur, albeit possessing creative ideas or innovations, must accept the fact that in order to succeed or shine out, a new paradigm must be adopted and implemented. Despite the fact that a new entrepreneur could be deficient in capital, thus limiting his or her scope of activity, the ground reality now is to take advantage of technology and to apply this technology to upscale the workings of the enterprise. More often than not, the entrepreneur is allocating most of the available time to manage and operate the enterprise. This leaves less time to concentrate on the possibilities of expansion, latest knowledge, and, more importantly, on innovation.

Apart from the curriculum, it is imperative that the new entrepreneur is inculcated with a skilling program keeping in view the concept of Future of Work. They should be provided access to real time counseling and business training. These could go a long way in mitigating the fear of failure or taking decisions that may negatively impact on the venture’s future. However, organizations that offer counseling or training charge heavily and this deters the young entrepreneur. This is where the role of Chambers and business organizations, such as Employers Federation of Pakistan, comes in. It is incumbent upon these business organizations to set up mentoring facilities to counsel and train the entrepreneurs. The members of these business organizations should adopt the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility by enrolling themselves as mentors to provide practical advice, upskilling and guidance under the mentorship program. This is especially helpful to young women entrepreneurs who face more obstacles in running their businesses and who usually start off by looking into the future through rose colored glasses.

Entrepreneurship could be explained in terms of the quality or condition of entrepreneurs. There is usually confusion between entrepreneur and entrepreneurship. They are not interchangeable. Arthur H. Cole in his 1968 article “The Entrepreneur – Introduction Remarks” stated that “The entrepreneur rarely holds long to the concept of success that lured him into initial action. He is moved by his ever expanding knowledge of the total situation surrounding him, to modify his primary objectives, thus fitting action of his enterprise more closely to the requirements of the economy.” Michael H. Morris in his 1996 Working Paper “Sustaining the Entrepreneurial Society” defines entrepreneurship as “the relationship between entrepreneurs and their surroundings and the role government plays in creating these environments”. A well-defined entrepreneurship must include the social constitution, of which each “economic person” must be granted the basic rights, i.e. the right of free enterprise and right of property. Why are so many in the Pakistani Diaspora successful and prosperous entrepreneurs in the USA or UK while Pakistan’s economy is still lagging behind?

Gustav Papanek of Harvard University in his 1962 article, “The Development of Entrepreneurship,” lists four so-called non-economic conditions that may be necessary for the development of entrepreneurship:

1. A government and civil service able to maintain law and order, to prevent massive capital flight, to enforce import controls, and to provide reasonably adequate overhead facilities;

2. At least a very small proportion of the population accustomed to responding to market incentives;

3. A value system and institutions that were not so hostile to entrepreneurial activity that only a strongly deviant group would be prepared to undertake it;

4. A political system which did not collapse despite high prices to consumers, high profits for industrialists, and the presence of many foreign technicians.

It is essential for academia, government and business organizations to take into account the youth bulge and strategize a long term plan of action to motivate them to become entrepreneurs. This plan should also include venture capitalism, one window facility from government, practical mentoring, and gradually graduating them from an entrepreneurial activity to a prominent role in the domain of entrepreneurship.

Majyd Aziz, "Development of young entrepreneurs," Business Recorder. 2020-12-03.
Keywords: Economics , Economic growth , Economic zones , Foreign banks , Economic person , Harvard university , Gustav Papanek , Pakistan , MBA , USA

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