Dr. Urvashi Makkar, with Ph.D. in Marketing and an Executive Program in Human Resource Management from IIM Calcutta, is an academician par excellence with a knack of entrepreneurial spirit and a persistent passion for continuous learning to upgrade her teaching. A widely travelled academician having Leadership Certifications from Harvard University, UK-India Education & Research Initiative (UKIERI) besides many others in the list and with a rich experience of more than 27 years in academics, research, teaching, training, consultancy; an ardour for innovative learning and an expertise in transforming Management Institutions by focusing on organizational development, she has created a niche for herself in the domain of management education.
Economic development of a nation is synonymous with an upward change wherein the per capita income of the country gradually increases with the passage of time. However, technical progress alone is not sufficient to bring about economic development, unless technological breakthroughs are utilized creatively by entrepreneurs – the catalysts in the essential journey of industrialization and economic growth who actually explore the country’s available resources to their full potential.
If one analyzes the economic history of some of the presently developed countries such as the United States of America, Japan and Germany, it unveils a cause – effect relationship between entrepreneurship and economic progress. Research indicates a strong correlation between the quality and quantity of entrepreneurial ventures in a country and its economic development. and It is only active and enthusiastic entrepreneurs.
In the last couple of years, adding to the technology driven disruption, the world is witnessing a massive COVID-led transformation. As reported in the The Financial Time, countries across the globe have reported a boom in startups against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, a surge partially attributed to the massive layoffs and uncertainty therein. There is a tremendous shift in the requirements for a formal sector job, and
In the last few years, the global pandemic has brought about a true boom in startups, as the number of new companies around the world has significantly surpassed the indicators of last year. Such a surge in entrepreneurship is being attributed to workers who were laid off and started their own businesses. The Financial Times has reported a boom in entrepreneurship in many countries has been recorded against the backdrop of the pandemic of 2020. Added to this, the technology driven disruption has brought about a phenomenal shift in the skill sets required for the formal job market.
Entrepreneurship, which brings with it critical thinking, creativity, initiative and a sense of purpose is the burning need of the hour for equipping the budding professionals of today to confidently sail through the hyper volatile and competitive work environment of tomorrow. Entrepreneurs are the engines that energize a country towards economic growth. Nearly 60% Indians possess strong entrepreneurial qualities like business-mindedness, persistence, creativity, risk taking spirit and optimism. Despite this, data indicates that very few start new businesses, some of the reasons for which include bureaucratic potholes, right type of funding, poor infrastructure, personal risks, cultural barriers
However, the crucial aspect of entrepreneurship must not be discussed in silos. On the contrary, it must be discussed in terms of the entrepreneurial ecosystem nurtured at home along with the stimulus given by the society and country at large. Considering the vital role of entrepreneurs in contributing to the economy of any country, the nation needs an environment wherein being an entrepreneur must be one of the topmost priority in the career wish list of a child as he grows up.
One of the vital prerequisites for fostering entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic development of any country is the kind of “entrepreneurship ecosystem” prevailing in it. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a blend of social, economic, cultural, and political components within a region. Hundreds of elements are part of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem which broadly encompasses culture, policies and leadership, availability of finance, quality of human capital, favorable markets and a wide range of institutional as well as infrastructural assistance. The role of entrepreneurship in economic development varies from economy to economy depending upon its material resources, industrial climate and the responsiveness of the political system to the entrepreneurial function.
In many ways, the New Education Policy 2020 is an endeavor to encourage and inculcate the spirit of innovation, and to some extent, entrepreneurship. It has been lauded by academicians and corporate alike as an instrument that is going to put the existing Indian education system at par with the advancing world. Having a strong focus on making the students to not only learn but rather, more importantly, ‘learn how to learn’, the policy also talks about pivoting education towards inculcating critical thinking, problem solving, creativity in the learners while simultaneously guiding them on how to be multidisciplinary, and how to innovate, adapt, and absorb novel perspectives in the dynamic and changing domains.
Indians are known for their capabilities for jugaad, which gets the work done, but this is neither scalable nor replicable and cannot be standardized. However, innovation is. Innovators need a well-rounded education which will enable them to think laterally and innovatively. Post 1991, when India opened its economy to the world, a greater emphasis has been laid down upon encouraging entrepreneurship. Attempts at various levels have been made to promote entrepreneurship among individuals. Unfortunately, the education system prevailing in India prepares individuals to seek for traditional employment rather than instilling the confidence to do something that one likes. It is important to note that the curriculum in universities is designed such that it results in an individual as a ‘job seeker’ and not ‘job provider’.
The role of educational institutions in entrepreneurship development cannot be neglected as these are the breeding pools for the entrepreneurs. In India, the awareness about entrepreneurship is still in its nascent stage and students still prefer to seek employment rather than starting their own venture. This is because our education system is designed such that it kills creativity and innovation. There is a great need for higher educational institutions to move away from conventional memory-based learning to a system that is more focused to foster creativity and innovation.
The educational institutes should design the curriculum such that they have the scope of creativity and innovation. The traditional education system prevailing in India lacks the spirit of innovation and does not provide adequate scope for entrepreneurship. Educational institutes must strive to provide opportunities to the students for enhancing their skill sets in business development, competitive analysis and sustainability. Initiatives like Workshops, Guest Lectures, Panel Discussions, Seminars, Surveys and Research activities must be regularly organized in order to provide a holistic platform to the learners for interacting and networking with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and others experts from the corporate world, thus broadening their horizons in acquiring capabilities for developing creative products and services. Recruitment and career development of educators, professors and researchers should take into account entrepreneurial attitudes, behavior and experience as well as entrepreneurship support activities.
Additionally, in order to successfully navigate through the not so easy and at times bumpy road of entrepreneurship, it is essential that along with the hardcore technical skills, educational institutes must also inculcate the intangible but vitally important life skills. One such life skill is “Learning Agility”, which is that rare skill that triggers you to “know what to do when you really don’t know what to do”. It encapsulates the ability, willingness and passion of an individual to learn from experiences and then apply the knowledge thus gained to sail out smoothly and perform brilliantly in unforeseen and challenging situations.
The youth of the nation must develop in themselves the Power of 3 ‘Ps’- ‘Power of Visualization’; ‘Power of Anticipation’ and ‘Power of Dreaming Big’. They must try to be limitless rather than defining their boundaries in order to unlock their enormous hidden potential and give wings to their dreams. For policy makers, fostering a favorable entrepreneurial ecosystem in the nation is a burning need of the hour for accelerating the nation on the road for economic progress.