Richard Branson of the Virgin Group certainly made a point when he said, "A lot of those people who are laid off can become the entrepreneurs of the future." But rather than wait to get downsized, superannuated, made redundant and all the other rather euphemistic terms used to tell you that you are no longer wanted, it is definitely wiser for young management students to look to entrepreneurship as the better alternative to make their way in the world.
At the VIth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 73 million people the world over are either budding entrepreneurs or own or manage a young business. Furthermore, the same study has shown that entrepreneurial activity increases with a reduction in GDP. Look at India today and right now. Are we not in a situation where entrepreneurship can be gainfully encouraged since the "employability" of a young graduate is at its lowest ebb? To quote Michael Hay, Deputy Dean and Secretary of London Business School and Co-Director of the GEM Global Project, "This year's GEM Global report has developed an even better understanding of the place of entrepreneurship in driving the performance of countries across the world. We can say with certainty that entrepreneurship, while different from country to country, is just as important in the developing countries as in the developed ones. Given the current focus on rebuilding and regenerating the tsunami-struck nations and many African nations, we cannot afford to ignore the role of entrepreneurship in driving inclusive economic development for all." The last sentence of the quote could very well include "developing nations" such as India.
In India today we need to encourage the young towards entrepreneurship. Why should they be steered towards entrepreneurship? Here are some answers:
- They can not be made redundant.
- They will find this more reliable than working for an employer.
- They will be their own "bosses".
- They will be able to implement freely their own ideas.
- Any effort they put in will be to their own benefit and will most certainly be translated into an increase in their financial worth.
It is perhaps coincidental that the young today are gravitating towards entrepreneurship. Over the last couple of years students from some of our best management institutes have created headlines when they have chosen to work for themselves rather than for "somebody else". Think of all the start-ups which have been phenomenally successful... think Flipkart, Flikr, Snapdeal, Myntra, OYO, and a myriad others. It has been documented that entrepreneurship is increasingly an option of choice rather than of circumstance.
What can be done to help those students who do want to become entrepreneurs? They would need help, guidance and direction. Most young people today are ++ when it comes to confidence and their very positive attitude towards life. They are also fairly focused and know what they want from life. So it is help and guidance that they need. There are very few agencies that provide this service in India. In the greater London area, for example, Capital Enterprise, a not for profit organisation, provides this service to the budding entrepreneur. You must have an idea though, and then you are guided through the various steps of setting up a business, right from getting a loan to setting up the organisation. It is therefore evident that such agencies are needed in India, in the cities and in other areas too, because the rural areas very often provide plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurship.
Students graduating from ISB&M have always been successful in finding satisfying and lucrative careers. But for those who prefer something different "Go on. Do it now."