Sunday, January 24, 2021

Entrepreneurship development

Employment generation is a major concern and one of the most important policy objectives of governments across the world. The concern becomes more serious in developing economies because of disproportionately higher youth populations – a phenomenon globally known as youth bulge. More youth simply means more individuals on a lookout for jobs. Nagaland is no exception. So irrespectively, the biggest challenge is to create jobs. In such a scenario, it would be unreasonable to expect governments to be the sole job providers. Instead, governments have to primarily and proactively assume the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for youth employment – an environment that facilitates youth start-ups. These business start-ups, in turn, act as job engines for more youth; thereby triggering a perpetual virtuous cycle of entrepreneurship development and youth employment. Our socio-economic condition is entangled with unstable socio-political and socio-economic dilemmas. Although, many governments have offered protection/subsidy policies and made ample efforts to enhance entrepreneurial activities but all such hard work did not bring the desired outcome. Besides law and order condition and political instability, there are further dilemmas which are bigger and more extensive. Fostering entrepreneurship is not only vital for promoting our competitiveness but also imperative for a journey to prosperity for the underprivileged. Entrepreneurship development has the potential to create jobs through the formation of new business ventures; utilization of available labour and resources to create wealth, stimulate growth, and boost the economy. The Government has a practical role to play in providing an overall environment that facilitates people in identifying and developing entrepreneurial qualities in them. Overall environment includes financial assistance policies and schemes, establishment of entrepreneurship innovative centres to let entrepreneurs grow. Supporting policies of Government not only assist entrepreneurs in generating revenues for the Government but also helps in combating with the unemployment in the State. Today the challenges of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation are cumbersome Government regulations, limited financing options for start-ups, low levels of education (entrepreneurial skills), poor perception about entrepreneurship as it is equated with small business in selected areas only. Besides, entrepreneurship is not encouraged as a career option for young graduates in our society. People in Naga culture are conditioned to attach the stigma of failure to the self starters or beginners. However, if the State’s economy is to be developed and Nagaland has to tag itself as a State of entrepreneurial intellect, urgent and stringent measures need to be taken. At the 3-day State level exhibition and entrepreneurship conclave on the theme ‘Encouraging Entrepreneurial Emergence’ under the National SC-ST Hub (NSSH), Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) at Dimapur on February 6-8, Chairperson, Governing Council of YouthNet, Hekani Jakhalu highlighted some practical problems faced by entrepreneurs of the State – lack of access to knowledge and skills to run a successful business, lack of mentorship and collaboration with other entrepreneurs, limited understanding of business skills, limited market knowledge, lack of funding access for startups, lack of financial, human resource, management, branding, lack of awareness of central schemes, lack of basic infrastructures, etc. She felt that Government needs to put in place all these infrastructures so that proper eco system is created for the entrepreneurs. Two major approaches can be adopted towards training the aspiring entrepreneurs – the generic and the vocational. The scope of generic approach of entrepreneurship training includes creativity, innovations, risk taking and an ability to plan and manage business start-ups. This is often supplemented by a lean session of business – or sector-specific technical training and inputs by a domain expert. The vocational approach aims at developing the required competencies by offering technical and vocational trainings. International Labour Organisation (ILO) in one of its reports ‘Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development’ urged the member nations to create specific programme to engage the youth in vocational areas of automobile mechanic, metal work, electrical, electronics, carpentry, tailoring among others. Such intervention, the ILO opined, was the solution to the ever-widening challenges of joblessness worldwide. “Local entrepreneurship is the only alternative for addressing unemployment issues in Nagaland,” said Hekani Jakhalu at the State entrepreneurship conclave. This becomes all the more important for our State in the context of shrinking job opportunities and the need for promoting entrepreneurship that leads youth to sustainable self-employment and financial independence.