Entrepreneurship education & culture of enterprise: relevance & policy issues.

AuthorPaltasingh, Tattwamasi


Entrepreneurship is a remarkable force that has a huge impact on facilitating growth and societal progress of a nation. It involves innovation, employment generation and social empowerment. Education in the area of entrepreneurship may help people to develop skills and knowledge, which could benefit them for starting, organizing and managing their own enterprises. About 12 per cent of the world's population in the age range of 1864 years is constituted by entrepreneurs of one or the other kind. Level of entrepreneurial activity has increased over 50 per cent between 2001 and 2002 and this rise comes amidst a decline of 25 per cent in the global average during this time period. About two-thirds of the entrepreneurs are men and one-third is women with the largest representation from the age-group of 25-44 years (Reynolds et al, 2001). Among the Asian countries, India, China and Thailand demonstrate relatively high degrees of new technology in entrepreneurship (Niels et al, 2007). An adequate provision for education is one of the important requirements for a nation's development (Gopalkrishna & Rao, 2012). Initiating one's own venture has never been an easy task, however, a formal training could help a person to move ahead with proper planning. Therefore entrepreneurship education is gaining much momentum in recent times. Educational institutions imparting formal and textual education may not be in a position to offer any assurance to get access to employment in the formal job market. In such situation, entrepreneurship education is extremely important as it encourages innovation, fosters job creation, and improves global competitiveness. The nature of emerging economic entities and the new business creation provides the structures within which individuals acquire most of their economic resources in addition to social recognition. Education, training and work experience are considered to be the most common indicators of human capital, associated with the success of entrepreneurs. Against this backdrop the present paper aims at analyzing the importance of entrepreneurship education in India. There would be an attempt to understand how the policies can be intervened to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirits among the students.

Contemporary Relevance

Human capital is one of the major contributing factors for the growth and development of any nation. The role of entrepreneurs in creating new enterprises is of crucial importance. Indian economy needs to enhance the level of innovation, creativity and the spirit of entrepreneurship in order to confront the global competitiveness. It is important to mention that only accumulation of knowledge and information does not solve the purpose of disseminating entrepreneurial spirit among the students. If the framework of knowledge can transform the structure and future of the concerned organization in a positive direction then only one can be convinced about the appropriate utilization of knowledge. Hence the success depends upon how the knowledge is utilised in what direction and for what purpose.

Age, gender, work status, education, income, and perceptions are all significant socio-economic factors for an individual's decision to start a business. People with post-secondary or graduate education are more involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (Niels & Hardin, 2006). The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) shows the decadal increase in unemployment rate in India. The figure of unemployment has increased by one million between 2000-01 and 2001-02. An increasing unemployment rate i.e. 9.2% and under-employment in India emphasize the importance of entrepreneurial activities in the country (NSSO, 2004). The Planning Commission report also strongly recommended self-employment as a wayout for the problem of unemployment (Planning Commission, 2002). India has emerged as the second most entrepreneu -rially active nation among the 37 nations which account for 62% of the world's population. Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) Index defined as the percentage of people who undertake entrepreneurial activities in comparison to the labour force (population aged 18-64 years) is 17.9% for India (Niels & Hardin, 2006). However, the level of entrepreneurial activity in India may not be sustainable without the support of the right kind of education system. There is a need to create a strong link between the spirit of entrepreneurship and education (Reynolds et al, 2000). Countries which have emphasized on Entrepreneurship Development Program have been found to be successful in achieving higher growth of micro, small and medium enterprises i.e. MSME, (Jahanshahi et al, 2011).

In today's context one needs to reflect upon the trends and advances in technology that can further influence the manufacturing process, process of information technology and on the whole the overall development of a unit. One needs to create additional intellectual capital, which can enable to enhance the capabilities. Improving the training of the staff members and providing the learning atmosphere is a very important component for building the intellectual capital, which further enhances the culture of innovation. The learning need not be only passive rather it should be replaced with creativity, active problem solving with innovative ideas. Instead of having rigid rules and regulations the educational institutions need to be transformed into flexible and responsive networks for creating and exploiting relevant atmosphere for dissemination of knowledge and information. The people involved with training and development should keep in mind that their current activities should continue to promote uniform and standard knowledge, attitude and skills for inculcating entrepreneurial spirit among the learners (Swedberg, 2000). The atmosphere in which the learning goes on should offer greater variety and appropriate environment for successful continuation of the tasks and stimulation for initiating other related activities.

Our knowledge entrepreneurs need to confront the realities of the situation, confront with practical problems rather than getting carried away by the rhetoric of knowledge management. One needs to give a serious thought about what should be the outcome of textual information, conduction of conferences as well as imparted teaching and training. One can notice the missing dimensions of knowledge creation, knowledge management and the exploitation of knowledge. The traditional approach to knowledge is entirely different than the way knowledge is conceptualized and conceived today. The traditional approach has emphasized knowledge that is to be preserved and stored rather than being disseminated. Accumulation of knowledge is a process rather than an event. What used to be the past knowledge may not be relevant in today's context and may not contribute to open avenues for future opportunities. At the same time one cannot rule out the fact that the contemporary knowledge is based on the past experiences. It can contribute as the foundation of the present learning process with a flow of connectivity. Experiences contribute in rectifying and modifying the existing knowledge base.

Entrepreneurship Education

Entrepreneurship as a concept is defined and analysed in different ways by different scholars across distinct time and space (Sexton & Landstorm, 2000; Hisrich & Peters, 2002; Iversen et al, 2008; Trivedi & Stokols, 2011). Some of the scholars have tried to define entrepreneurship education within the same culture of enterprise. Even if there are innovative ideas and new creations, within the same cultural context the industrial bases can be renewed and the modern industrial structures can be maintained and sustained (Jack & Anderson, 1999). Of course, it is too difficult a task to arrive at any consensus, as the whole process of conceptualization is never uniform and one-dimensional. Some scholars have made an attempt to provide an integrated approach to the understanding of entrepreneurship looking at the concept and the process from academic, political and socio-economic angle...

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