India is home to a fifth of the world’s youth demographic, and with an average age of 29, our unique demographic advantage and potential indicates our ability to sustain a rapid rate of economic growth. Disruptive technologies, automation and increased digital adoption have influenced the emergence of an entrepreneurial culture. Contrary to the myth that ‘successful entrepreneurs are born, not made’, I think entrepreneurial skills can absolutely be learned. In order to enable an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth, it is essential that we facilitate entrepreneurship in education and foster an environment where we encourage our youth to chase their dreams, from one corner of India to another and from India to the world. India now boasts of nearly 80,000 startups. With the integration of entrepreneurship in our education curricula, we will be set to be a nation of a million job creators, if not more.
India's entrepreneurial spirit
Entrepreneurship is an intrinsic part of the Indian DNA. With 79% of all companies in India being family-led home-grown businesses, this inherent entrepreneurial spirit has been the backbone of the Indian social and economic fabric for decades.
India’s new-age entrepreneurialism and start-up culture will be vital in creating and sustaining a competitive edge in the 21st century and be well-positioned for the technology-driven disruption that is reshaping industries. India currently houses the world's third-largest startup ecosystem, with 108 firms valued at over $1 billion. Never before have we been more dynamic and fast-moving as crucial drivers of innovation and prosperity.
In such a fertile ecosystem, the time is ripe for us to do more to facilitate an innovative and globally competitive start-up scene by integrating entrepreneurship more strongly into the education curricula. By promoting the inclusion of entrepreneurial programs for our youth we can empower them to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. As an educator and entrepreneur myself, I understand the weightage of teaching models that are designed to inculcate entrepreneurship more effectively by focusing on upskilling, effectuation, and harnessing evolving resources to create an impact. By actively encouraging and learning from mistakes and failures and fostering a culture of innovation, the students of today will be empowered to meet the challenges of tomorrow as entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Roadmap to opportunity
Many of us equate entrepreneurship with starting a new business, raising capital, and selling a new, disruptive idea. However, while it can be all of those things, it is also about using those skills to embrace new opportunities for growth and make the most of the scope for digitalisation. In addition, an entrepreneurial mindset pushes innovative thinking in work to identify and solve problems, recognise unmet needs, and bring creative approaches — to any setting.
In the future, the extent to which businesses use evolving technologies and technology-based interaction models will determine their longevity. While no one can accurately predict the ‘job titles’ of the digitally-maturing future, the baseline ingredient for success for India’s youth will be the ability to think and act like an entrepreneur. This presents a tremendous roadmap to opportunity.
Investing in the foundation of a good education, the soft skills of the arts such as critical reading, communication, creativity and collaboration is the need of the hour. This requires all stakeholders in the value chain to reimagine their roles, allowing for greater collaboration and engagement at each stage of the educational as well as entrepreneurial processes. Upskilling edtech platforms serve as key enablers of entrepreneurship by emphasising the importance of skill development, creativity, self-reliance, risk tolerance, communication, and problem-solving.
Entrepreneurial proactiveness will be the new key to success in a world that is increasingly technology-based and requires strong problem-solving skills. The ability of our younger generation to take risks, act decisively, and disrupt things with agility and without fear of losing will become our most valuable asset in this endeavor.
We need to jettison old thought patterns and make room for curiosity that looks beyond the status quo. We need to achieve the right mindset for every individual to lead. Therefore, we must cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among India’s promising generation of change-makers. As the famed French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
On this National Youth Day, I hope that India’s youth fulfil Swami Vivekananda’s dream by always yearning for greatness.
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