As an officer in Cottage and Small-scale industries, of all the experiences that I have been able to accumulate one of the most enriching one has been to be able to meet and interact with young creative and dynamic minds that have pledged to break the “glass ceiling” and plunge into the avenue of start-ups with applaudable commitment and unwavering determination. Entrepreneurship in itself is one of the most challenging areas in regard that it is always in a constant evolution, always tied up to variable factors such as consumer choice demand and mass perception.
To enter into this exciting equation of entrepreneurship means to be able to synergize both the challenges and opportunities and create a unique brand for both the entrepreneur and the product/ service. As youth are the foundation of all aspects of development in any nation, entrepreneurship is no exception and as young minds penetrate into launching a startup this induces a country to leap forward in socio-economic growth and development.
In the context of Nepal, though start ups have not been yet been able to be the focal point of economic circulation, in the recent years youth have entered business market with a promising start up initiative that has began to re-define our economic structure. It is true that youth entrepreneurship is in its formative years, where many young people are still in the verge of exploring and digging in areas where they feel capital can be invested; however, there have been exemplary transformation of struggling start ups into thriving business. On a bitter note, Nepal census survey has indicated that there is around 6.9 percent of unemployment in Nepal, as a citizen of such a potential country, it is definitely disheartening to all of us to have to hear real account stories of how many of our capable youth are finding shelters in the arid barren desserts of Gulf countries where instead they could be thriving in the country.
Nepal having embraced a mix economy model, today
Certain observations have been made as to how, we all concerned stakeholders can collaborate
Youth entrepreneurship dialogue:
On a theoretical framework, Nepal has introduced the concept of youth entrepreneurship dialogue however; we have still failed to operate it in a grass-root level, targeting the youth entrepreneur group.
Young entrepreneurs need to be given a platform where they can meet face to face with other young entrepreneurs and be able to exchange ideas, concepts, visions, challenges.While drafting policies and conducting talks that concern youth entrepreneurs it is vital to understand that their representation is indispensable.
Youth entrepreneurship dialogue in the present time, needs to transcend boundaries of countries. This involves collaborating a rising youth entrepreneur of Nepal with that of Uganda; where the two emerging youth entrepreneurs can interchange their share of entrepreneurship stories and be able to assimilate the acquired learning in their own business journey. As globalization continues to expand, it has become more than ever important that young entrepreneurs connect and build a network with young entrepreneurs around the world.
National and international youth entrepreneurship dialogue paves a way for young entrepreneurs to identify themselves with business culture and trends within and beyond the borders of the country.
Collaboration with academic institutions:
In the present context of Nepal the subject of entrepreneurship has found its place in many courses and institutions, Business management, Business administration have been a popular choice among many young students. However, as in any other field there lays a tremendous gap between theory and practice. Real life profession is not always an execution of what we have studied and memorized from study notes and reference books. Thus education today requires that we understand to bring together real life work pressure and study notes.
Young entrepreneurs need to be invited to colleges and schools where they can share their experience of startup ventures, their share of struggle and failures. In many foreign countries academic institutions have introduced the concept of “open day business field visit” where young students are given first-hand opportunity to experience what start up really is.
On a positive note, there are some academic institutions in Nepal that have done an exemplary job in providing a wonderful platform of theoretical exposure and equally practical demonstration. Internships, seminars, filed visits need to be included in the curriculum. Complimentarily, this also helps the youth entrepreneurs to be connected with likeminded young energy and vision.
Media needs to be the voice:
The constitution of Nepal has guaranteed media freedom, giving space to the media to cover news in any form and disseminate it to the nooks and corners of the country. Though there are some media platforms that have been including youth start up stories, this has yet to expand.
Youth start up ventures need to be well articulated in different media channels and forms. Digital media, print media need to be encouraged to share real account stories of youth business struggles and success. Their journey needs to spread as this acts as a catalyst to inspire the many other youth who aspire to join the field of entrepreneurship.
Documentaries, movies and talk shows should allocate space and time to put the voice of young entrepreneurs out in the public.
Entrepreneurship is not only confined to capital investment and capital formation, in the present context of today, social issues are equally indispensible. Social entrepreneurship is identifying social issues and channelizing them into business ventures. In Nepal, there is every reason that youth should be encouraged and motivated to address and include social issues in their start-up concepts.
Social entrepreneurship ultimately builds up social engineers in the society.
The youth who are climbing the ladder of entrepreneurship need to delve into social, environment issues that are around their own vicinity and concretize them into a start up.
Markets as Effective platforms:
Today consumers more than ever in the history have been market oriented. Even in Nepal, the notion of ‘window shopping “has gained immense popularity. Shopping malls need to designate space to youth start up products and services. Accordingly, the youth entrepreneurs need to find time to be able to orient the customers regarding their product and help them to build an idea as to what their product and service is really about. This not only give as platform for the youth entrepreneurs to show case their products and services but also builds a rapport with the customers and expands the Public network.
Youth in any nation are the power hub. In Nepal around five lakh young energy and minds enter the market every year; this is a potential number to bring about leaps of change in the country. Youth entrepreneurship is not a “government, private” exclusive operation or assignment. The government, private and cooperative sector need to work hand in hand, so together we can allow youth ventures to shape the face of the nation.