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Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

Availability of govt jobs has almost dried up in Manipur state. Getting recruited into govt jobs are also extremely tough requiring bribing and having contacts with govt ministers/officials. If one compares the amount likely to incur to get a govt job with the amount one will get as salary in the lifespan of that job, it’s mostly obvious that one will be running into debt for the sake of getting a govt job. Young graduates have almost no industry jobs to work within Manipur except leaving outside Manipur to look for job. So, the question is – ‘isn’t there any other career option for young graduates in Manipur?’

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There is the saying – ‘Where there is problem, there is the opportunity waiting to be unlocked’. It’s now left to self how one approaches the problem. Another interesting saying is – ‘When you got nothing to lose, why not take the chance?’ So, how about planning to own a business as one graduates and becomes the ‘Boss of own life and other employees’.

Anyone who just passed 12th standard (i.e. 17th/18th yrs of age) is already sufficient to be in the world of business. By that age and qualification, one has got the basic education (reading, writing, calculation, social common sense, world we live in) and also, the physical and mental strengths to lead. May be what’s still missing for running/owning a business is the will power and extra guidance/tips on that business setup.

The ultimate formula for a business is based on the simple mathematics equation of ‘Profit or Loss = Selling Price – Cost Incurred’. By considering how to maneuver the parameters on right hand side of the equation, the result on the left hand can be impacted accordingly. To understand concept of a business; try to imagine how a local shop operates, how a school functions, how a rickshaw driver works, how elderly women at Keithel (i.e. Photpham Phambi) make a living, etc.

If a ‘Business’ is to be demystified, it can be viewed as activities happening in three aspects;

(1) Legal/Financial Accounting – A business needs to be a legal entity thereby requiring a registration to operate and show financial statements annually for Income Tax filing. The govt lays down regulations (including tax benefits and supports) for doing business in that industry sector and the region where it operates.

(2) Continued Justification of a Business Case – The logic behind purpose of doing business has to be appropriate at any instant of time throughout lifespan of the business. A business can’t continue to run if incurring losses beyond permissible limit of operation, or business has failed to achieve minimum targets as expected by promoters or shareholders.

(3) Sales-Production-Procurement logic – Any business goes with this concept of ‘get something’, ‘add value on that something’, and then ‘sell off that modified something by making some benefits (e.g. money)’.

While studying a degree course in a college within Manipur, a youth can focus on how to setup a business before graduating. The college may have few basic ingredients that may be helpful to the business setup – such as access to library, buildings, high bandwidth internet, academic staffs, like-minded friends, local communities, industry professionals and govt officials, etc. Also, the similar resources in Manipur University, Central Agricultural University and other higher education institutes in Manipur can be utilized for own business setup support. There are development grants provided by various govt ministries in each district which youths can apply for business setup. Also, youths can avail training support provided by state govt departments (e.g. Manipur Skill Development Society) and central govt departments (e.g. ministry of DoNER) from time to time.

What’s worth reminding herein is ‘Life is not a SPRINT, but a MARATHON’. Graduating from a college is not just the end of life or start of a career. Also, ‘What’s the difference of doing and not doing a degree course in Manipur?’ in the sense that ‘Will someone give the graduate a job in Manipur after graduation?’ Time of youth is to try to find out the purpose of life and what one is best at doing things. One may always fall back on parents to restart a life/career again till age of 20-25th yrs. All the big businesses and organizations we treasure today (e.g. Facebook, Microsoft, Apple) are built by youths in the age of 15yrs-30yrs. So, why not try and take the chance when feasible. Get a business mentor today and start thinking now.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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Education is imparted in a systematic approach worldwide for a purpose which is ‘sharing knowledge to inspire minds’. Though School Education may be rather about teaching and learning, but, Higher Education in college/university is more about empowering students to get a job or start a new business in their post-degree career. Unless graduates are exposed to skills and experiences during their studies (thereby finding utility latter in the job market and social environment), the time spent in college/university will amount to waste of time and effort in today’s competitive world. Thus, teaching may be considered as the main theme of education, yet ‘Employability & Enterprise’ tends to be the main objective of education from the ‘performance measure’ perspective.

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 The current education policy in Manipur state has been focusing mostly on providing teachers to schools/colleges and their transfers management, creating infrastructure, and student intake numbers; instead of any new innovation and growth aspects in education to deal with local societal needs and changing global environment. This approach may work with management of school level (up to 10th or 12th standard) institutions but ought to fail drastically when dealing management of colleges and universities. Students out of school level institutions feed into colleges and professional institutions for higher studies or on-the-job studies. If there is no better college, Manipuri students just need to leave Manipur state in post 10th or 12th std for higher studies and thus, we are seeing thousands of students leaving every year (thereby also affecting state’s economy). For higher education institutions to survive, presence of vibrant industries around to provide jobs and business setup opportunities to graduates out of those colleges/universities is also essential. Higher education institutions are source of inspiration and guide to our society by producing responsible adults with add-on values in addition to the book knowledge. Thus, education policies for school level and higher level ought to vary drastically and both need serious attention by using different approaches to deal with.

Private schools (if not govt schools) within Manipur can survive successfully; because ‘score-card and pass % of students’ (which is within the control of school management with less/no influence from other external sources) are the only benchmark used for rating schools and no other measuring aspects are currently used (e.g. extra-curricular activities, staff profile, diversity of staffs as well as students intake, health and safety on school premises, financial fees and scholarships offers, support for disability students, religious tolerance, focus on sports facilities, and promotion on traditional culture, etc). State govt also seems to focus more on school education as compared to higher education and even indicated its intention to create ‘Manipur Education Services (MES)’ similar to Manipur Civil Services (MCS) just to look after school education services. Though it may be innovative, the focus has been not yet clarified on what exactly will be role and accountability of MES officers. One MES official can be assigned per a group of schools or per zone or per district to manage the non-academic aspect of school administration; e.g. management of school infrastructures to maximize utilization factor and timely maintenance (thereby cost saving), budget management and local social impact of school to maximize benefits of govt funding and school education objectives, etc. Thus, school teachers can focus on teaching part while state education officials can focus on non-academic aspects.

State govt seems to get no clue what to do with higher education sector in Manipur. Manipur University may be responsible for academic aspects of its affiliated colleges (e.g. updating course materials, checking mandatory quantity and quality of academic staffs per college, conducting exams under the new semester system, providing certificates to graduates, etc), but, its role starts and ends with affiliation of colleges only. Also, since Manipur University is now a central university and not under state govt, it may say anytime to any govt colleges to seek for de-affiliation if unsatisfied with what/how they function. Yet, Higher Education officials seem pleased only with task of govt colleges in Manipur just getting affiliation certificate from Manipur University. State govt are supposed to work more closely than before with Manipur University to devise far-reaching higher education strategies for Manipur and transform colleges into innovation houses; thus, helping villages/towns across Manipur getting the benefits from nearby colleges apart from local youths getting college education. Because, Manipur University has already gain autonomy from state govt on what/how it likes to function, thereby state govt can’t just direct whatever it used to in the past. Thus, Higher Education officials ought to be clear on what is within their role and what is delegated to Manipur University regarding the management of govt colleges within Manipur.

We are yet to see much discussion on ‘what happens to students graduating out of colleges in Manipur (affiliated to Manipur University and other universities outside Manipur) and universities in Manipur (i.e. Manipur University, Central Agricultural University)’, and ‘how colleges/universities in Manipur ought to support students for their future careers’. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) does take employability (i.e. students getting a job on graduation) and enterprise (i.e. student enterprises in college, new startups by students, new innovation ideas/products from college, engagement with local businesses and industry professionals/alumni) as part of their rating approach for colleges and universities in India, though in less priority and less percentage focus. Sadly, ‘Employability & Enterprise’ agenda has not yet been  seen as one of the main priority areas of Higher Education policy in Manipur, though the agenda is very essential for the survival of colleges within Manipur and can transform colleges into innovation houses for benefits of local people in Manipur.

Looking from the perspective of ‘Education as a system of input, operation, and output’, questions arise like – ‘Why do we create products (degree courses) for consumers (college students) which got less utility (applications) in the local market (industry jobs)?’; ‘how much % of course contents is about hands-on application of knowledge being taught?’, ‘how much budget % is allocated per college on career development aspect as compared to staff salaries and infrastructure maintenance?’, ‘what is the policy of local business engagement for each college around course design and skill development aspects?’, ‘what is the involvement policy of alumni to support back colleges/universities?’, ‘how is other ministries in state govt (e.g. Industries & Commerce, Science & Technology, regional development agencies in each district and panchayat zones) coordinating with higher education department and various colleges from the aspect of innovation for enterprise and employability agenda?’, ‘how about satisfaction surveys from graduates every year on each college by defining performance metrics to rate each college and accordingly provide innovation funding for relevant support?’, ‘how much responsibility and accountability is assigned to the management team in each college for welfare of students and college infrastructure as compared to education ministry itself?’, ‘how the aspect of student unions in colleges currently focused on political aspects can be reoriented towards innovations around course studies?’, ‘why no plans are made to make buildings and equipments of colleges available for students’ career and skills development activities instead of leaving under-utilized in non-working hours (of evenings, weekends, and holiday breaks), ‘why no delegated staffs assigned to provide career development and enterprise creation support in each college/university?’ and, so on.

On the ‘Employability and Enterprise’ agenda, state govt may implement a hybrid model of funding and operation for higher education institutions in Manipur e.g. a centralized depository of support services (in terms of course contents, business startup funds, on-demand enterprise support services, advisory consultants/academics, equipments, a web-based knowledge resource to be accessed by representative of each college if not by every students, etc) and a localized support services per college (e.g. one-to-few teaching staffs be delegated after relevant trainings to advise on entrepreneurship and deliver enterprise support activities, or appointment of management graduates having experience in such enterprise activities).

‘Manipur Innovation Council’ chaired by Chief Minister setup in 2011 ought to look into overall higher education scenario and enable colleges and other higher education institutions to transform themselves into innovation houses to cause effective socio-economic impact to the village/town wherein they are located. Also, upcoming ‘Manipur Innovation Roadmap 2012-2020’ whose design work is currently advertised by Planning Department in Manipur State Govt through a tender process needs to incorporate concepts of making all the higher education institutes in Manipur contribute towards innovation culture in Manipur, and integrating other innovation related govt ministries with higher education institutes to empower youth as well as local businesses in easy access to necessary business support and technical know-how.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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We seemed to come out more worried when we got out of schools and different from how we used to be when we got in. In schools, we seemed to have pick up lots of phobia and been hardcoded to do only few predefined tasks ahead in our lives. As a kid, we used to be carefree to try new things, naughty to explore ideas out of curiosity, and daring to go roads not yet taken. For humanity to progress, we do need balancing the attitude in our school education system between protectiveness for security in future and creativity for innovation.

The complete education system ought to be seen as a structure enabling multiple entry and exit doors. Reading about ‘Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)’ of UK and European Qualifications Framework (EQF) of European Union (EU) may throw some ideas about the need to have an education framework that maps various learning programs we’ve got (such as certificate, diploma, degree, etc) into a tiered-leveling structure specifying knowledge, skills and competence imparted in each level. Not all kids go to college after schools and thus, we can visualize ‘passing out from school’ as an exit door to the society (and from the education system). So, the schools ought to impart relevant skills and visions to the kids before they pass out of school to be able to fit and contribute into the society we live.

Entrepreneurship is not merely about a course to be studied but a philosophy that needs to be embedded into our mindsets in every field of activities or studies. There isn’t a better place and time to embed entrepreneurship principles than inspiring to young minds during the school days through the school curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. Teenagers out of schools ought to feel empowered enough to explore the career each one desires with the underlying principle of ‘Entrepreneurship = Success’. Interestingly, European Commission has been investing huge time and money (in millions of Euros) to its constituent EU countries since a decade on ‘Enabling teachers as a critical success factor towards entrepreneurship education in schools’ and ‘Embedding entrepreneurship education at school in Europe through national strategies, curricula and learning outcomes’.

Latest news about inclusion of vocational courses at various schools in Manipur may seem like a welcoming thrust for socio-economic development in nearby towns/villages where the schools are located. Yet, it should not be implemented as dislocated add-on arrangement to the current educational system in place. Otherwise, strategy to implement vocational courses in schools may turn out to be a failed programme after investing huge funds in crores, time and efforts. No matter how useful the vocational courses may be, most parents will not wish their wards to study vocational courses as compared to general Science/Commerce/Arts courses in schools. We got to understand that every parents dream of their wards to be doctors, or, engineers, or, IAS officers in future; and the current implementation approach of vocational courses do not show the feasibility of vocational students to be groomed towards a long-term career than a low-level ad-hoc jobs after undertaking those vocational courses.

We need to review the current approach of school education system and come up with a combined framework that provides an appropriately balanced structure of (1) hands-on vocational skills learning, (2) embedded entrepreneurship principles, (3) instilled social responsibility ethics, and (4) imparted basics of knowledge for future. Manipur state can be the first state in India to come up with a standard education framework before other states in India (instead of just being followers always as in the past). It’s time to let go of the old concept of school being just only ‘a building with few teachers to teach local kids in pre-defined course books’.

Regarding course contents for primary school education, the basic set of courses may comprise of (1) Science & Technology, (2) Social Sciences, (3) Citizenship, (4) Languages, and (5) Physical Education. Teaching and learning methods in each course ought to have hands-on practical projects/workshops for applying theories into action both in individual as well as team modes. Inclusion of something like ‘Citizenship’ course subject (as in USA and EU countries) as part school education is very essential considering the diversity of India as a nation and Manipur’s history within India. This ‘citizenship’ course subject may focus on building social responsibility concept on growing up kids and imparting ‘common sense’ input to students for social impact locally. Also, imparting computer/Technology related contents in each of the subjects within school education is necessary to avoid viewing computer skills learning as a stand-alone subject. Lastly, inclusion of more workshops and project works in individual or team as part of school course structure is essential to apply entrepreneurship skills in action.

Regarding course contents for secondary school education, the basic set of courses may still packaged as now (science, arts and commerce streams) and yet include the aspects of (1) Applied Innovation (as add-on workshop or project works of the learned concepts in both individual and team modes), (2) Next-Career Ready Knowledge (to support students in preparing for various entrance exams to professional studies after 12th standard), (3) Exit-to-Society Ready Skills (to include vocational skills which are still useful and relevant to serve jobs for industries within the scope of science, arts and commerce streams). Current school system tends to produce ‘top scoring students’ who lacks in professional personality attribute due to current school education system not focusing on soft-skills aspect too which is in fact found to be the most critical factor to instilling leadership and management quality in one’s future professional career. Course delivery approaches ought to contain feasibility of students to speak/debate/exhibit their learning out of the teaching in classes in open forum or competitive event as applied innovation.

As just like the saying ‘A happy family produces wonderful kids’ means, we should consider welfare and working aspiration of school teachers on the similar priority level as the need for students to be taught the necessary knowledge and skills for their future. Schools (at primary and secondary levels) can be made to be more enjoyable places to interact for not only students and teachers but also among local communities around the schools. Vocational courses aligned to already delivering school curriculum may be imparted out of schools by school teachers as certificate courses (on free mode or pay-as-you-learn mode) for public in the local community either as short-term course or annual course. School teachers may be also encouraged to apply bids for funding from state govt to undertake extra-curricular projects in the local community which may complement the learning and teaching of the respective school courses; such as supporting disable students to learn, guiding teenagers outside schools to apply school learning into social activities, etc. Thus, a career in school education for school teachers may be transformed into an exciting career option and local schools can also become self-sustaining institutions by generating revenues through delivering locally appropriate vocational courses for a fee to public.

To instill ‘Entrepreneurship’ passion into young minds, we first need to create a thriving entrepreneurship culture in the schools. Right from providing motivated teaching staffs (with clear and exciting career in school education) to creating course-contents package (for kids entering schools to exit as empowered teenagers ready to face whatever comes in future instead of phobic youth towards the complex world out there in future), we have to review the current school education system in a more holistic and transparent approach of ‘Cause-Impact’ analysis. Since education is to empower our younger generation to lead humanity towards a better world, we have to teach our kids that ‘Entrepreneurship equals Success’.

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com; E-mail: shanjoym (at) gmail (dot) com

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Our basic need is survival and rest of other activities is around making that living comfortable. Thus, ‘Education’ is about enlightening us the best appropriate way of doing things from past experiences, while ‘Common Sense’ is the knowledge about applying past experiences on day-to-day realities happening around us.
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Like in most countries, India follows a system of imparting knowledge to students in the form of a tier-system of education (e.g. 10+2+3 for general studies) so that necessary level of teaching and learning is provided to only those sections of people who actually require that level of knowledge. There are also various skill-based training and vocational education system in place in India. There are reasoning behind the form of pedagogy developed for education system chosen by govt in own countries. The question each student/youngster should be asking self is ‘How much education is enough for self and future career making?’

Logically, we can consider all forms of profession being comprised of two types of education needs – Business aspect and technical aspect. For example, rice is an essential food needed in our daily lives. Knowledge is required to understand how to cultivate and get rice – thus, that’s about technicality and there are students learning courses on Agriculture (e.g. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture). Also, knowledge is required to obtain rice from fields, transport rice to storage, distribute rice bags to wholesalers, sell rice to consumers – thus that’s about business and there are students learning courses on Management of Agriculture businesses (e.g. Master of Management in Agro-based business). Similarly, for better healthcare system, we got education systems on becoming doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, social carers, dentists, medical technicians, etc. In order to systematize the know-how to cater to needs around us, we create ways of educating the learners in a leveling tier approach. Thus, if we try to see the bigger picture around a profession and the related environment within which the profession operates, we can realize that education is rather about providing a common sense way of dealing with our societal needs.

Having a basic level of education (10th Standard in India) is sufficient for someone to understand the society’s common sense better. Having intermediary level of education (12th standard in India) is about preparing someone to have an interest in a segment of industry/knowledge with more focus; while having a graduate level of education (12+3 standard in India) is about giving the specific required level of knowledge to someone to execute the most tasks necessary in that industry segment. Further level of education (Masters or doctorate levels in India) are to provide specialization study to understand with more depth why things happen as they are and what new approaches can be created/discovered to do things in a better way. Thus, one does not need to go to college or university for higher study ‘as mandatory need’, but rather based on ‘situational need’. Just to reemphasize this view, globally reputed firms such as ‘Apple’ and ‘Microsoft’ are founded by College drop-outs (whom latter employs qualified engineers/managers with degrees and doctorates to run the companies). Even locally within Manipur (and in other parts of India), we can see large businesses run by not even 10th standard pass entrepreneurs and yet these able-industrialists manage to run their businesses by employing skilled engineers and managers accordingly.

Youngsters (under guidance from parents) often proceed to study popular courses in professional undergraduate level such as MBBS, BE, BPharm, BSc-Nursing, and also in general studies such as BCom, BA, BSc. Some youngsters directly get entry to job or on-the-job related courses in central and state govt services such as paramilitary forces, NDA, banking, state police, etc. Very few youngsters in Manipur (and even in entire India) deviate to think about setting up own businesses or learning knowledge/skill that will help themselves in setting up that business of own dreams.
In countries like UK, the approach of ‘Learning by Doing’ is followed more in the society in the form of youngsters taking up apprenticeship jobs in companies just after completion of GSCE (similar to Class 10 in India) or A-level (similar to Class 12 in India), and growing their careers henceforward from bottom to management level. Most organizational managers and CEO/COO do not even possess universities degrees, yet they are expert in their technical or business skills. Also, senior managers are often found coming back to universities at the age of 30+ to study in some degree courses related to their already experienced industry to have the skill of critical thinking with academic learning approach.

Though one needs not necessarily go to colleges/universities to make a living or successful profession/career in life, one can gain a lot by going to colleges/universities once in a lifetime. Education is rather meant to give away experience of ‘various know-how’ collected over years to the future generation in a very simple and concise format in a very short period of time. Colleges/universities are not just meant for getting higher education in various knowledge domains or industry sectors, but also a platform/forum for meeting people (like-minded as well as non-like-minded) to share ideas and experiences to learn from each other for own future. By being in colleges/universities, one can get access to libraries (having tons of knowledge contents), professors (having vast experiences in the areas one may have interest to explore), colleagues (having similar interest to work together in future projects), and professional networks (having industry experts and business support groups), friends (having similar social and emotional behaviors), etc.
Successful people in every profession never stop learning about things that may be useful in their lives irrespective of having gone to study in school or college or university. What may be effective about preparing self to learn about a profession is to start thinking in backward from that chosen future dream to present situation in order to evaluate how much education and what skill-sets one may need in order to realize the dream. Thus, first need in life is ‘survival’; then next need come ‘food’, shelter, clothes, etc; and then, educating self is to find a way out to earn money through a job/task to cater to the cost of surviving in style.

Thus, students/youths in Manipur should focus on having ‘Common Sense’ in life more than running after ‘Education’; because, education (in some appropriate form) is just only a means to acquire knowledge that is needed for having ‘common sense’ in one’s life.

About the Author:
Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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