By Dr Deependra Kumar Jha, Pro Vice chancellor, G.D. Goenka University, Gurgaon,
Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and businesses and should be a part of any institute’s fabric but not many will actively support it for obvious reasons. There is an inherent risk involved so is cost. Expertise and enabling support ecosystem is another factor. But then, there are exceptions.
Upcoming and well-intentioned institutions have enthusiastically embraced entrepreneurship on their campuses. They are setting up incubators and the trend is catching up. For instance, Sohna-based GD Goenka University, barely three year old has produced a start-up which has already turned heads. Harshit Kher, a third year student of Mechanical Engineering at GD Goenka University, is CEO of muck talked about, Phonewaala.com. “at the university, I got the encouragement to build my own startup and in my final year I plan to hire my classmates for jobs in my company. Isn’t that something exciting?”asks Kher.
In the last decade we have seen the arrival of a wide array of products and services that have transformed our lives. These revolutionary changes were brought about by young men and women, many of whom were yet to finish their university education, but whose innovations disrupted the existing business models. Many countries are facing recession due to market saturation, and this has led to unemployment and even civil unrest in those places. To avoid the same thing happening in India, universities and colleges must focus on initiatives like business incubators to encourage student entrepreneurship and celebrate the spirit of innovation. It is heartening to see a few innovative institutes trying to facilitate entrepreneurship on their campuses. The good thing is that this is not just limited to business schools. Students from the fields of technology, communications, humanities and social sciences and other areas are also actively involved in such activities. The aim of educational institutes today should not be limited to providing a degree alone. They should widen the horizons of students who currently join colleges and universities only to get a job. They should encourage these students to look upon entrepreneurship as an equally, if not more, attractive option.
Entrepreneurship has the potential to break down local and global barriers and help in the creation of a worldwide society of problem solvers. Institutes have a big role to play as they can provide students the room to innovate and give them a safe environment to do so. Entrepreneurship can be inculcated in students by focusing on case studies, linking curriculum to real world issues, partnering with existing industries and businesses, organizing expert guest lectures, providing consultancy, helping students launch new businesses, emphasizing on technology topics in curriculum and launching global exchange programs. This will help connect students to a larger global community. In turn, the institutes will also benefit because this will lead to building a strong alumni network.
The reasons to become an entrepreneur may vary from student to student. Some may do it for fun, some for money, some for the society and some for the heck of it. But our country will find a new identity through these bravehearts. Hence as academicians, it becomes our prime responsibility to provide an environment whereas student’s entrepreneurship skills can be nurtured and developed.