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5 entrepreneurial traits that can be taught in schools & colleges

The whole country is in throes of entrepreneurial dreams. We have more and more incubation cells in colleges and schools than ever before.  Credit courses are being offered on the topic of “entrepreneurship” in educational institutions in India. Alumni who are successful entrepreneurs are invited for inspirational talks, more than ever before.

The question to be asked now is this – “Is this all increasing the entrepreneurial ventures in the country which is resulting in rise in employment creation?” OR is this some fad which too shall bite the dust in another year?

I personally feel there is a huge disconnect in what is needed and what is being delivered.

Can entrepreneurship be taught?

I doubt anyone can teach you to be an entrepreneur. It’s something that encoded in your DNA. It needs one or more of the following :

  • Vision
  • Passion
  • Risk appetite
  • Hard work and discipline
  • AND you need to be more than a little crazy.

Know any course that teaches you these? I didn’t think so.

How schools & colleges can still help in building an entrepreneurial culture in India

Given that I have just proclaimed that you cannot teach the core values that make or break an entrepreneur, what am I driving t?

5 point agenda in driving the entrepreneurial spirit:

  1. Ability to plan and execute projects - Create projects and plans which requires them to get out of the classroom. If your students are responsible for organising an event in school, they will plan, create a budget, perhaps even generate funds through sponsorships. What is they were responsible for vendor selection for the intercollegiate fest you are organising – they need to do quality checks, get the best quotes and so on. Is there any theory class that can equip them to do this? Let me give you the fall side of this. We recruit kids from campus – they are dying to do great things in life.
  2. A culture which celebrates failure – Given the magic wand and asked to change one thing I would love to wipe out the stigma we put on the failure. Why do we scare our children so much about failure? As a parent, teacher or principal of Indian Schools and colleges, have you ever sat down with a child and asked ( not rhetorically) what went wrong? Have you offered help to create a plan and change the course of things without being judgemental? Again, didn’t think so.
  3. Teach them finance – how many schools teach the basics of personal finance to children today? The most important life skill and you leave it kids to learn the same from parents or even worse, that they will automatically learn this by osmosis?
  4. Help them be trouble shooters -Over the last decade I have interviewed nearly 100 candidates for various positions. Some of them from the most prominent institutes in the country. They are great in doing things on paper but completely lost and clueless in executing project plans in real life. Worse, they may start off with great fanfare but are left clueless when the first road block appears. Enabling them to be troubleshooters will ensure that if life throws them a curve ball, they will walk around the bend and look for the next step –w without waiting for someone to come up with a solution
  5. Sales & Marketing – There is an incredible stigma attached with this profession in our country today. Everyday, we are selling something – it could be our ideas, our skills during an interview but we leave out students out into the world without ever equipping them with this key skill. If you are an entrepreneur and you do not know how to sell, then you are doomed.

After all this, you will still not legions of entrepreneurs. Because for that the earlier mentioned DNA plays a big part. But here’s what you will definitely have achieved.

Schools: Your students would have a far better idea of their talents and inclinations. Do I have an inclination to take up managerial track, or finance or literature or join the flock and be an engineer? You would definitely have enabled them to make a better choice.

Colleges: You are empowering your student with incredible amount of confidence to venture out and get things done. Do they ever pursue entrepreneurial dreams? May be not – but in that case, you have made them excellent resources that any corporate organization will be lucky to have them!

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