Entrepreneurship is a term that appears in every policy debate in today’s contemporary world of globalization and technological development, and there is no doubt that entrepreneurship has played a critical role in the development of advanced economies. The developing countries, such as India, who are late comers to the global economy, have recognized that entrepreneurship will be critical to catching up with the developed countries; as a result, India clearly emphasized two main areas in its Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy draft of 2013.The first is to improve the country’s innovation ecosystem, while the second is to increase the number of entrepreneurial activities. Since then, the people have been encouraged to start and build their own businesses and accordingly many schemes were established to fund and provide incubation support to new startups.
When discussing entrepreneurship in general, we should first have a clear definition and role of an entrepreneur because many people refer to all businessmen as entrepreneurs, which make us feel strange about choosing entrepreneurship as a career for ourselves or our lads. Also many governments around the world offer Entrepreneurship Development Programs, believing that entrepreneurship is the key to economic development. In the midst of all of this activity, one fundamental question remains: who is an entrepreneur? History of its definition in academia traces its roots to France where it began with the writings of French scholar Richard Cantillion. He was the first writer to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship. Cantillion’s entrepreneur is someone who engages in profit-making transactions; specifically, he is someone who exercises business judgment in the face of uncertainty. This was the inception of academia defining role of an entrepreneur in economy and since then many other schools of thought defined an entrepreneur differently and the Austrian School legacy, however, culminated in the work of Joseph Schumpeter, the icon of the role of the entrepreneur. He is usually referred to as the father of innovation and entrepreneurial sciences.
According to him, the entrepreneur is the consummate innovator who derives his profits from successful innovations. This definition is more relevant in today’s world, and the word "innovation" is what distinguishes a regular businessman from an entrepreneur. So, when we talk about an entrepreneur, we mean someone who starts an innovative business that meets people’s unmet needs while successfully earning a profit for it. It usually refers to the products or services which are not yet available in the market. In the words of modern innovation studies we usually call it the market disruption.
In his book ‘Sapiens,’ Yuval Noah Harari claims that the evolution of any culture or belief is dependent on the stories that humans have passed down through generations. Socrates, on the other hand, stated that "the story tellers control the world." These same stories are the reason for our parents’ or students’ career choices, and they are the same stories that have created career hierarchies. A student who performs well in his or her matriculation exams is expected to study science and pursue a career as a doctor or an engineer. In general, success stories in our valley revolve around these two professions, as thousands of students compete for a seat in a medical or engineering college. Our stories may be useful for the students who qualify, but we have no stories for the students who make up the majority: the unqualified ones, whom society labels as failures. Similarly, we don’t have a story for those who study other subjects, such as commerce and arts, because we generally regard them as uncompetitive.
Entrepreneurship is a career that offers inclusive opportunities. Anyone, regardless of their field of study, has the potential to become an entrepreneur. History is replete with examples of people who never attended college but went on to become extremely successful entrepreneurs. Nobel Laureate Prof. Mohammad Yunus believes that the humans are born with the entrepreneurial traits and anyone, regardless of his or her strata in society could become an entrepreneur and it is the world’s systems and beliefs which push a human to the job markets. So, unlike any other career option, entrepreneurship does not require a good academic record or any kind of special skills; all it requires is knowledge of developing business models based on day-to-day human needs.
Starting an entrepreneurial venture used to be risky because it carried a lot of uncertainty, but with the state’s recognition of the importance of entrepreneurial workforce, the risk is now shared and much of it is undertaken by the state. When it comes to startups, the risk that most people consider to be the most prevalent is financial risk, and to address this, the government launched various schemes and initiatives to fund new startups and other innovative ideas. Similarly, the government established numerous incubation centers throughout the valley to support and nurture new business ideas. However, there is a strong need for knowledge dissemination about the activities, and these initiatives, regardless of subject domain, should be included in the curriculum of our educational institutions.
When it comes to our educational institutions, we need to change the stories of success, and instead of creating hierarchies, we should not limit the parameters of success to any particular profession. Entrepreneurship as a career path should be emphasized from the start of students’ careers. With the ongoing Industry 4.0, we already know that much of human labour will be replaced by machines, and economists have already predicted a massive surge in unemployment in the future, so it is strongly advised that we change our narratives of success and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem among all of our institutions so that we do not lead ourselves into painful distortions for our present and future generations. Furthermore, when discussing the academia of innovation and entrepreneurship, there is a huge policy vacuum in the valley that needs to be filled. As a result, there should be leads from our universities studying the different dynamics of our states’ innovation ecosystem and suggesting policy frameworks to foster it.
(Author is M.Sc. Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, NIT Srinagar. Email: muzamil_02ms20@nitsri.ac.in)


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