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School education crucial for entrepreneurial skills

By Dr Anuradha Mehta,

School education can help students acquire knowledge about business and about the role of entrepreneurs in society.

Starting up one’s own business is one of the most rewarding achievements in life, writes Principal Anuradha Mehta.

We know that students are the most powerful resource which universities have to stimulate entrepreneurship. The model supports academic institutes in constructing an environment that encourages student entrepreneurship and aims to help universities convince students to continue their careers as entrepreneurs. However, there is no evaluated theory how to encourage students to become entrepreneurs.

School education can contribute to the developing entrepreneurship skills and to the knowledge about business and about the role of entrepreneurs in society. Also, education can contribute to the encouraging entrepreneurial initiative and to the development of the attitude.

Starting up one’s own business is one of the most rewarding achievements in life. It gives a person the freedom, which is by far the most powerful outlet for self-expression. However, getting there is not easy. It requires specific qualities and there is no defined path to follow.

Education at schools can play an important role in the regional entrepreneurial climate. If schools focus on creating new inventions and knowledge, they will serve as an important output of knowledge and innovation, which can be exploited by new ventures. Academic entrepreneurship has become a priority for policymakers as well. That’s why the New Education Policy (NEP) talks about the reimagining of vocational education. No one can ever succeed alone so having the right campus and resources is crucial.

It is important for an institution to promote student entrepreneurship programme on a regular basis to build campus awareness. This can be done via regular informal student meet-ups, meetings which introduce interested students to the entrepreneurship program.

Another step to take the student entrepreneurship program up is to organise internal start-up hackathons (event where a large number of people meet). These are more involved events that can last a full day or longer. During the hackathon, students can be encouraged to form teams, identify a problem to solve, find suitable solutions that can translate into a viable business venture, and finally pitch their idea to a designed jury.

One of the most important part of supporting student entrepreneurs is to provide them proper mentorship and advisers, also understand a student’s time frame, resources and responsibilities in order to provide the best advice. Connecting with industry and real-life entrepreneurs will be a great idea to treat the entrepreneurship facility as an institution in itself and to put together a proper advisory board comprised of experienced, connected and passionate individuals ready to contribute their expertise and time.

We can invite external speakers, motivators, and mentors from a variety of areas. In following young entrepreneurs from the start, the best practice is to partner with a medium to a large firm that may be interested. For example, a business could dedicate team members to work on a consultancy basis with the school. The main interest of the external stakeholders is to keep an eye out for potential ideas and start-ups that could benefit them. It is important for the institution and students to connect with the international organisations, try to be an active member of their community, ask for advice, and when possible, organise video conference calls

Here I would reiterate my point by saying that the NEP 2020 has given us the basic idea for this programme. It all depends on us how we connect ourselves with it and achieve our goal by implementing the same.

Dr Anuradha Mehta is the Principal, Red Roses Public School, Delhi. Views expressed here are personal.

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