The most critical input that would play a pivotal role in taking our economy to greater heights would be the entrepreneurial mindset of its human resources. The role of the entrepreneur would be to innovate and create economic opportunities.
India’s spend on research and development, which is around $36 billion, is less than one per cent of the GDP. The focus at present is more on basic research rather than applied research, resulting in publications that our economy cannot afford. What is required is to build an R&D culture in the research laboratories, university system and other research organisations purely dealing with R&D to integrate their research efforts with problems of industry, agriculture and tertiary sectors of the economy. The research approach has to focus its efforts from the point of view of intellectual property creation which could get translated into improvement in productivity and efficiency in different sectors to create a global competitive advantage. This would require special emphasis on ensuring that investment in R&D results in innovations which can only come by focusing on value-centric approach to R&D as against an idea-centric approach.
The need of the hour is to promote innovation-driven entrepreneurship. A favourable ecosystem exists today for this by way of social support and government incentives.
A host of institutions are working for the cause of promoting entrepreneurship that improves the chances for creating entrepreneurs through educational interventions.
If we look at the contribution of some of the leading institutions in the developed world, what strikes immediately is Stanford University’s Stanford Technology Venture Programme (STVP), the Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UC Berkeley, and the MIT Entrepreneurship Centre. STVP has built its international reputation as the pioneering Silicon Valley. Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation UC Berkeley, is the primary locus at the University of California, Berkeley, for the study and promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation in management and new enterprise development. Similarly, MIT has made its own unique contributions in promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation. Indian institutions of excellence need to create a culture for promoting innovation-driven entrepreneurship through their research endeavours. They have to come out with their own unique models for promotion of entrepreneurship.
A humble beginning has been made towards promotion of entrepreneurship by institutions like BITS, Pilani, IIT Mumbai, IIM Ahmedabad, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore, IIT Kharagpur, Nirma University and many more. Each of them has a separate centre/cell/society for promotion of entrepreneurship.
All of them provide, inter alia, incubation facilities having unique niche areas.
At BITS, it all started when five students got together with faculty and alumni to start the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership in 2002. We strongly believe that entrepreneurship is a way of life; it is not just about having an idea, taking few risks, going out to raise capital, put a marketing plan in place and start-off. It is a venture to keep innovating and come up with qualitative changes in the lives of people around you. The concept of entrepreneurship started getting into the minds of students when the centre got selected as one of the top five e-cells in India and became the co-founder of the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). NEN is building-up and leading a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort, to bring together Indian academia, industry, and international experts for sharing knowledge, skills and resources to form a nationwide launching pad for new entrepreneurs. Keeping the importance of entrepreneurship development in view, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), government of India, has taken the initiative to promote entrepreneurship development programmes in academic institutions.
The National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), established in 1982 by the government of India under the aegis of DST, is an institutional mechanism to help promote knowledge-based and technology-driven enterprises. It has an institutional mechanism for promotion of entrepreneurship through Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC), Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development (STED) Project, Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP), Technology Business Incubator (TBI).
The writer is chief of the entrepreneurship development & IPR Unit at BITS, Pilani