Entrepreneurship: Being one’s own boss
Most of us have an entrepreneurial streak in us, and at some point think that the ideal job in the world would be to become our own boss instead of being answerable to one. Starting our own company or venture becomes a natural extension of this entrepreneurial urge.
Magazine articles, TV shows and movies have a way of glorifying entrepreneurs, especially those who gave up a steady, coveted career to be their own boss. Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer, has been eulogised in dozens of magazine articles for being a successful entrepreneur despite being a college dropout (actually he started Dell in his college dormitory by supplying cheap PCs to fellow students).
There are different reasons for people to start their own ventures. The basic human need to be materialistic is a strong factor. By working for a company or an organisation, you can only draw a prescribed amount of salary with benefits, bonus and perks, etc. However, with your own venture, the sky is the limit—literally. The success of modern entrepreneurs in the field of technology, including Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, Narayana Murthy and others has proven that with the right ideas, skills and drive, one can make it really big. The dream that one can make it really big pushes individuals to think outside the box.
In reality, entrepreneurship means working for a number of bosses. Every business venture has a number of bosses: clients, vendors and employees are all bosses to the business. Keeping them all happy, motivated and moving in a uniform direction remains the sole aim of an entrepreneur or business owner. Even in a smaller startup without any employees, you will still have to work with financiers, venture capitalists, governmental and local regulatory agencies and others stakeholders. Many first-time entrepreneurs get carried away by the glamour of starting a venture, and forget the need to cultivate strong people skills.
Entrepreneurship involves a willingness to take responsibility and ability to put mind to a task and see it through from inception to completion. Another ingredient of entrepreneurship is sensing opportunities, while others see chaos, contradiction, and confusion. Essence of Entrepreneurship is going against time with maturity and serving as a change agent. It is an outcome of the development process, which also encompasses the emergence of economic and social innovations.
Essential Characteristics of Entrepreneurs
Five entrepreneurial characteristics have been identified which include:
- Personal characteristics such as intrinsic motivation, hard work and values
- Technical preparation, business and management skills
- The capacity to utilize available resources
- Information to take advantage of business opportunities and entrepreneurial vision
- Interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with others and to understand the social impact of business development.
Need for entrepreneurs in India
In India, where over 300 million people are living below the poverty line, it is simply impossible for any government to provide means of livelihood to everyone. Such situations surely demand for a continuous effort from the society, where the people are encouraged to come up with their entrepreneurial initiative.
In our country, where the population is more concerned about making both ends meet, entrepreneurial activity will achieve sustainability only when support is provided both at the societal and governmental levels. The post liberalization industrial and economic scenario in India makes it imperative that a more dynamic and pragmatic approach be adopted to create entrepreneurs on a large scale. This would not only help in tackling the problem of unemployment but also in the growth of new entrepreneurs.
The academic institutions in the country generate about 3 million graduates per year and the 10th class and 10+2 students are around 7 millions. All of them seek employment either within the country or abroad. Today, it has become imperative that the school syllabus and university syllabus be integrated with entrepreneurship courses. This would enable students qualified in these schools and colleges, to have the confidence that they can start the small enterprises in agriculture, manufacturing or services sectors. Banks need to be entrepreneur friendly and should give them venture capital and support these young entrepreneurs and their creative ideas. This system will change the situation in the country by generating employment providers rather than employment seekers.
Encouragement refers to two aspects necessary for entrepreneurship to thrive, one is the provision of venture capital and the other being infrastructural support. Practical and cost effective programs need to be developed to address their needs because self-employed people will represent an important segment in economic revitalization.
Using knowledge and advanced technology as their strategic tools those who can take on the increased competition in the domestic as well as global markets are innovators and entrepreneurs in true sense. This can be achieved only if more and more people are motivated and convinced to choose entrepreneurship as a career and put their energies and resources to a productive use.
The future belongs to entrepreneurs
The future will see Entrepreneurship as the key driver of economic development. New businesses will be credited with providing variety of new jobs in the economy. Entrepreneurs and not managers will be in demand, as only they will be equipped to find order in chaos.
In today’s economy, technical and business skills are not enough to operate a business. Entrepreneurial skills are also required to anticipate changes, identify opportunities, and create a high-performance working environment according to the realities demanded by global competition. The development of entrepreneurship amongst engineers and general graduates is going to be an effective mechanism for technology innovations, helpful in the removal of regional imbalances and sustainable growth of small industries. Entrepreneurship requires a strong determination to reach goals regardless of personal sacrifice.
Developing entrepreneurship has proved to be crucial for promoting small business. In India, three decades of active growth in the area of entrepreneurship has brought maturity in programme and strategies. It has proved its usefulness and has clearly demonstrated future promises. Further, training has been found to be of significant importance in helping potential entrepreneurs to establish and run their enterprises successfully.
Educational institutions also have an important role in educating and training the workforce, not only independently, but also as vendors to employers who seek outside providers of training. The government is providing various incentives to attract young graduates towards choosing entrepreneurship as a career choice. The need of the day is to utilize and optimize such schemes and policies towards further employment to unemployed
Contribution of B schools
Originally, entrepreneurship courses were meant to literally 'produce entrepreneurs'. In 1947, Harvard Business School (HBS) developed an elective titled 'Management of Small Enterprises' for students eager to start their own businesses after World War II. The real thrust into teaching and research in the area came in the early 1980s when HBS graduate and pioneering venture capitalist Arthur Rock funded the first professorship in the field of entrepreneurship at HBS.
Today HBS requires its 900 first-year students to take a course called 'The Entrepreneurial Manager', and offers almost 20 elective courses in the area to its second-year students. American B-schools, including the likes of Wharton, offer entrepreneurial management as a major, preparing students for careers as autonomous entrepreneurs, family-business entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurs in corporate setting.
Interest in entrepreneurship as a subject is growing steadily in Indian B-school campuses. They have entrepreneurship cells, business plan contests, elective courses and, in some cases, full-fledged entrepreneurship centres, some going so far as to provide 'incubation support'.
Indian B-schools have made a more modest foray into entrepreneurship education. Every self-respecting B-school offers at least one elective in the area as part of the second year of the postgraduate programme (PGP). And interest from students is high. At IIM Lucknow, the 'New Venture Planning' (NVP) course has seen an enrolment as high as 70 per cent in some years.
In sync with the global trends, Indian B-schools are jumping onto the wealth creation bandwagon. Entrepreneurship centres offering research, training and incubation facilities are coming up all over the place. With more time, energy and resources being directed to develop entrepreneurship in India than ever before, a new trend of sorts is setting in. A handful of students are defying conventional wisdom and seeking to start out on their own - right after campus.
Prospective entrepreneurs have a lot of courses to choose from today. Both the government and private institutes are offering a number of graduate and postgraduate degrees and diplomas in entrepreneurship. Degree/Diploma holders in any discipline or those having passed HSC are eligible to join the course. Some institutes also demand work experience.
Apart from full time and part time courses even correspondence courses are now available for budding entrepreneurs. The pioneer in this field is Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) based in Ahmedabad
Various state level entrepreneurship development institutes, as well as EDI, have for decades, been conducting localised classroom Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) for would be entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Ahmedabad
- Amity International Business School, Noida
- Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), (IIM-A)
- Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, (IIM-C)
- K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai
- The ICFAI Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Hyderabad
- Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (Mica) has set up an Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC)
- Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, Hyderabad