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Entrepreneurship education: Cracking the hardest of nuts

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An Interview with Narrotam Aryal

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Entrepreneurship generally refers to the concept in which an entrepreneur starts his business with innovative ideas, risk taking and venture financing. Entrepreneurship is a concept that has been developed lately. It has altered and improvised the concepts of traditional business, and, as many claim, has rightly done so.
Entrepreneurship and education are usually perceived as different terms. But when put together, the two concepts seem to enhance the performance of the other. Entrepreneur must have qualities of innovative thinking, risk taking, passionate work and ability to mobilize resources in optimum level; the aptitudes that a specialized training and education can develop.
King’s College has for the first time introduced a streamlined course on entrepreneurship education in Nepal. The College’s Executive Director/Principal Narrotam Aryal hereby shares his insights on the subject, with the GlocalKhabar Team.

1. What is your personal definition of entrepreneurship?

> For me, entrepreneurship, in the simplest form of it, is creating new things to solve societal problems.

2. How do you link entrepreneurship with education? Why do you think is education important for an entrepreneur?

> Going by the standards of business and education in our country, people have a tendency to work a company owned by someone, if the office is glamorous, fascinating and sophisticated. People enjoy what is easy, trendy, and sustainable. Most business schools focus on creating students that are rather willing to enter into corporate sectors or banking sectors for sustainable jobs.
However, I tend to differ on this generally understood scope of business education. Nepal has never lacked resources. All we have lacked is a proper management and utilization of available resources. By bringing the concept of entrepreneurship in formal education process, we try to motivate youth to do new things and get into something that can do on their own
Having said that, entrepreneurship does not only provide employment for self; it rather expands the horizon of employment opportunities for others as well.
Our vision is to promote entrepreneurship at grass root level. When youths who are educated build an expertise in generating newer ideas in running businesses on their own, the boundaries of business and economy are bound to improve.
It is not possible to have in place commercial agriculture, modernized tourism, and other innovative prospects in business, unless we create modern entrepreneurs through streamlined education process.

3. Is Entrepreneurship different from business?

> Yes it is.
Entrepreneurship basically is about having innovative solution to any problem existing in a particular society.
For instance, while business is building on regular options in a society, initiating something new with limited resources under, can be called entrepreneurship.
It is always good to innovate and generate options on own. This can be attributed to three primary premises. One, working for others will not help create new businesses. Two, if one looks at the spectrum of landscapes of Nepali businesses, only a few families are in the mainstream, while others are largely sidelined. Three, it is important to break the traditional norms of running a business in Nepal, so as to get a global exposure.
When youth are well placed, equipped with integrity and exposure, business takes a new height and metamorphoses into entrepreneurship. For instance, the major problem in our contemporary society is that we are not transparent; the governance system is not good enough and the sense of social responsibility among the individuals miserable. The rise of a new breed of entrepreneurs can be the perfect solution to meet these problems.

4. What are the basic characteristics of entrepreneurship?

> Firstly, the concept should be new. If not totally new, it should be more efficient and effective than the general ones. Mobilizing local resources and adding some values on what we already have is mandatory in developing entrepreneurship. For instance, if we have capital, land, expertise and required skills, we will also have to know how to put them together and generate better results.

5. What is the response towards entrepreneurship education?

> Honestly speaking, entrepreneurship education has so far failed to attract genuine interest of students and parents, in spite of the fact that it is one of the most popular subject of discourse at the present day and time. There is a reason to it. It is simply because we do not want to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. The children are spoon fed with their dreams to get into a corporate house as a clerk or a manager, but hardly anyone is told to dream of running his/her own business in future.
When you offer students with MBA degree, they are more interested in general fields that open up prospects for them in multiple job opportunities and a stable life. On the contrary, entrepreneurship ventures are more risky, and unless you are really good at what you are thinking, your venture is hardly going to get the taste of success.
In that regard, entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nepal has still to develop a lot.
People have to understand that entrepreneurship is for those who want to take risk, overcome challenges and get on top with the help of their passion.

6. There are people who want to become entrepreneurs. What assistance does King’s College provide to them?

> I would start with the title of the book by Shiv Khera “Freedom is not free.”
If you want to exercise freedom then entrepreneurship is for you and entrepreneurship comes with responsibility of yourself.
Usually the factors that hold back students from venturing into something new on their own are – lack of seed money to initiate the business, doubts related to amount of income and a fear of the lack of guidance and support.
Having looked at the limitation and circumstances King’s College has decided to provide students with a well equipped working space, and functional and industrial mentorship.
The College also offers a seed money up to Rs 150,000 in loan. Apart from that, Clean Energy Development Bank, in partnership with the College, provides Rs 300,000 in loan to the students without any collateral.
Above all, at King’s you don’t need to pay for phone, net, computer facility among other attributes. All that you need to come up with is an idea.
The College does the rest to make the best out of it.

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