Saturday, May 03, 2008

Education and Entrepreneurship

Last week Star Vijay (Tamil TV channel) organized a debate about the role of Education in Entrepreneurship. It was organized as a part of 'Neeya? Naana?' (You? or Me?) program. They have called for two groups for the debate. The first set was un-educated (hardly passed 10th class) and successful entrepreneurs. They have accumulated more than a crore wealth thro’ their business, starting from scratch. The second set was the educated, working, middle class people. Following are some of the interesting points from the discussion.

First, the un-educated folks have more appetite to take risk and start on their own. This is mainly because they start doing business as a survival, so there is less to loose. The educated folks get into the comfort zone quickly. This has made them risk-averse. In fact most of the successful entrepreneurs like Dhirubai Ambani, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Azim Premji don't even have college degree but were able to build business emphires. The combination of passion, vision and strategy has made them successful more than what formal could have thought them.

Having said that can we completely rule out the role of education for entrepreneur's success? No. On the other hand educated, professional people are very necessary to scale up the business. They bring in unique skills for business execution, which is very critical for the success of the venture. Many of the un-educated entrepreneurs in India fail here because they lack to see the importance of education. They remain small and medium size entrepreneurs (or even self employed status) rather than building next generation professional companies.

Second, the educated community gets into the 'comfort zone' very quickly due to the job they do. Big company, stable salary and 9-5 job schedule makes them averse to taking risks. As the time progresses, the notion of entrepreneurship diminishes. They end up working for a person or a firm almost all their work life. Also many of them end up doing a job which is totally not related to the education they had. In the debate, many of them accepted that they are not satisfied/fulfilled with the job they are doing.

Third, the un-educated entrepreneurs still have agony of not getting proper education. Most of them agreed that they have heavily invested in their children's education by sending them to good school and foreign universities. Also they expressed that they still feel that they might be cheated by the educated people in the business life.

Finally the debate concluded that each set (un-educated and educated) brought their own strengths. The former has passion, whereas the later had the skill to execute the passion. In a globalized world both are very important to build a successful venture. I am not able to get the complete video of the debate. For people who can understand Tamil, please check out the promo of the debate below.



It’s nice to see such mature debates happening in regional TV news channels. In a way Star Vijay has set a new trend among Tamil channels. Recently they have started a first ever talk-show named ‘ippadikku rose’, which is anchored by a transgender.

Related blog post:
Abundance mentality and Entrepreneurship

1 comment:

NischalaAgnihotri said...

Hi,

This is a very interesting article and every entreprenuer must read especially the educated ones to come out of their comfort shells.

I would love to consider this in my journey as an aspiring enterperneur.