Thursday, September 23, 2021

Encourage entrepreneurship

Editorial 2

For an economy that already has been bashed by recurring cycles of conflict and shabby road connectivity survival is an inherent challenge. Talking about our economy it is a known fact that majority of the people by dint of circumstances have shown a preference for government jobs. The private sector is almost non-existent here. Primary sector doesn’t yield much in terms of returns. Services sector has tried to maintain a tardy growth but failed. The state of affairs is such that the government has always been taking on itself the process of industrialization in our part of the world. Being the sole job provider, the job pressure on the government has been immense. Since the demand for jobs has grown much beyond the capacity of the government to provide the same, alternatives are to be sought. But fostering entrepreneurship here has been a challenge for decades. We know that Nagaland offers boundless opportunities in agriculture, horticulture, food, clothing, tourism, handicrafts, and other untapped resources. Most avenues have not been leveraged to their full potential due to socio-economic factors and the unsettled Indo-Naga issue. This has resulted in the state’s struggle to gain economic strength in the face of prevailing unemployment. We need sustainable solution to strengthen the economic base, which can only come from growth at grass roots level. At a time when industrial development is being touted as means to provide the much-needed boost to local economy, young entrepreneurs are dealing with a lack of support and unfavourable circumstances. Without a doubt, our youth, amidst all the challenges, have been displaying entrepreneurial zeal and taking strides towards progress. Fostering innovative mindset, increasing interest in entrepreneurship is often a catalyst that drives development objectives including growth, employment, and equity. For entrepreneurs to successfully contribute towards the society, however, they need vital resources such as funding, mentoring, human capital of a growth mindset, suitable infrastructure, and supportive government policies. Promoting business at micro, small, and medium levels could nudge economic activity and enhance the skills and potential of the youth whose employment options today are limited. Owing to the tough situation in the state, the government should take steps towards furthering up-skilling and training of the workforce and preparing them ahead of time. It is unfortunate that entrepreneurs and small businesses, despite having the potential to provide solutions to various socio-economic problems, are struggling to succeed in our state. The problem is multi-fold. The educated youth from universities prefer a job over exploring entrepreneurial opportunities. Due to absence of an ambitious entrepreneurial class with an outward looking approach, the youth has only a few examples to motivate themselves to outgrow the dogma of job-security and take entrepreneurship as a serious career option. The lack of expertise and innovation of technology that is vital for the formation of any product or service a business can capitalize on also contributes to the situation. Challenges such as lack of adequate infrastructure in terms of power, transportation and interruption in communication channels further impact existing businesses massively, resulting in a direct blow to their revenue. The geography of the state makes it difficult for major industrial development to happen, and frequent policy changes add to the overall difficulties faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses. The need is focused and consistent support from the government alongside an instituted structure to foster entrepreneurship and help address challenges and provide our economy the boost it needs. At the same time, while creating a support framework for entrepreneurs is vital to cultivate a startup ecosystem in the state, it is equally important to pay close attention to the development of skills of the youth. The idea must be to take entrepreneurship beyond urban areas and incubate startups and small businesses in the rural areas as well. Our state is rich in culture and has valuable resources. It has massive potential to benefit from various industries, including agriculture, tourism, apparel, and handicraft. However, growth will only hasten when backed by governmental policies to foster entrepreneurship and a strong support mechanism including mentorship, financial, and technological assistance. Also strategic steps must be taken by the government to create an investor-friendly environment, infrastructure for logistical issues, and developmental framework to foster entrepreneurship and uplift the economy in a sustainable manner.