Entrepreneurship, Education and Values

The world of business is changing very fast. The last quarter century has witnessed a remarkable change in the manner business in India is run. From a predominance of owner-managed enterprises, we are witnessing a steady shift towards professional management.

The prime objective of a developing country like India is to achieve rapid, balanced and sustained rate of economic growth, which must be consistent with the principles of democracy, ensuring that the economic tasks will be in full accord with the interests of the humanity. Economic development if conceived without appropriate social changes soon becomes stagnated. The economic reforms initiated in 1991 have today made India one of the leading economies in the world.

Economic growth refers to an increase in a country's production or income per capita, with economy's total output of goods and services being measured by Gross National Product (GNP). At the present juncture, our economy needs more than growth. Economic development on the other hand goes beyond the economic growth to include changes in output, distribution and economic structure which may affect things such as improvement in material well being of poor, technical breakthrough, increase in economic activities and increase in the education level and improvement in the health.

The factors contributing to economic development are labor, technology, natural resources, capital and entrepreneurship. Successful new business ventures and economic development do not just happen. They are the result of combination of right environment, planning, effort and innovation. New business formation is the result of excellent human skills with developed technology added by available capital as well as other infrastructure to set in a development process. This right mix can only be achieved by entrepreneurs. India today has all the elements required to make it an economic giant, large technically qualified manpower, a huge consumer base, and a strong financial structure.

Indian industries and businesses operate in an environment entirely different from that in which American, European or even Japanese entrepreneurs do. We have mammoth problems of population, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and stagnation. This, coupled with an acute scarcity of resources, calls for ingenious management of what is available for the welfare of one and all. Unfortunately, a pan of our best talent, viz., young graduates, remains unexposed to and unconcerned with these problems. The aim of business education as taught by textbooks is making optimal, effective and efficient use of available resources. The objective, generally, is maximizing one's profits. What is needed today is a shift in thinking from the narrow domain of business to a broader concept of prosperity of the whole nation. The purpose of education should not only be to teach entrepreneurs generation of wealth but also its equitable distribution to ensure the well being of a country's production or income per capita, with the society at large.

A business is only a sub-organization of the society. The society is the largest possible kind of organization with goals of production, distribution and harmonizing individual relationships. If the aims of the part run contrary to those of the whole, the part will die out sooner or later. Therefore, we need entrepreneurs who do not think only in terms of business but also social welfare. Towards this end, we require entrepreneurs with social concern, social accountability, a broadened outlook and an Indian personality. These entrepreneurs will blend business sense with entrepreneurship.

The existing system of education in our country fails to inculcate such a vision in the young students. Careerism is the basic philosophy of students today. Most of the graduates prefer jobs with multi-national companies. Seldom do join they sectors that may be financially less rewarding but socially more satisfying. This mindset is partly a product of social norms and partly due to the education imparted to them. Therefore, we need a new model of education in this country which could create such entrepreneurs who have a larger view towards the society.

A student should receive not only training in technical and management aspects but also of a population, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and sense of morals and ethics. If the educational system fails to achieve its goal of imparting skills with values - if it imparts only the wherewithal and not the judgment of right and wrong -the result will be a herd of competent but confused and directionless professionals. Unfortunately, that is the state of affairs in India today. In this context, both the institutions and enlightened educators must critically examine their crucial role in developing successful citizens of tomorrow.

Unfortunately education system today has degenerated into a process of information transmission. Value inculcation is largely ignored. Needless to say that even skill development is also not up to the mark. Education, should also concentrate on the development of social, moral, aesthetic and spiritual sides of an individuals personality. These have been largely ignored in the present day education.

Education as described above will prepare entrepreneurs of tomorrow who will blend business with social responsibility. They will still maximize profits, but for the cause of society and not at the cost of society. Harmonizing diverse forces and interests is an essential part of management. Harmonizing is always better than competition. An Indian education system will groom entrepreneurs who will replace competition with harmonization. They will be able to harmonize individual, organizational and social goals.

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