Entrepreneurship issues and challenges in Kerala and the role of University of Kerala in fostering an Entrepreneurial culture and
the need for entrepreneurship education


By

Dr. K.S. Chandrasekar
Chairman, Board of Studies in Business Management
Director, Centre for Management Education and Entrepreneurship Development
Coordinator, Entrepreneurship Development Cell, MBA (Distance Education)
University of Kerala
Trivandrum-695 034

Mr. Jubi R
Research Scholar in Management
Sathybama University
Chennai
 


Abstract:  Even though India is a big country, it has many problems. One of them being the unemployment and gainful employment. It was found that unless entrepreneurial awareness is created, there will be social chaos. In this context, the government of Kerala, University of Kerala have started new initiatives like ED Cell, ED subcentres, Akshaya, Kudumbasree etc., This paper will throw light on the need for entrepreneurship as a curriculum in schools and colleges and the role played by University of Kerala in fostering entrepreneurial culture.

Key words: Entrepreneurship, Kerala, Entrepreneurship education 

Entrepreneurs are the driving forces behind any economy. They create large corporations out of backyard enterprises. Henry ford, Irving Berlins, Bill Gates, King Gillette and Rose Perot were people who envisioned a dream and took risk to achieve this Dream. They marched to a different beat. They were innovators, inventors, and adventurers. Entrepreneurship is a social phenomenon and it is not inherent within a person, rather it exists in the interaction between people. To be a successful Entrepreneur it requires practicing as a manager by acquiring various skills and efforts in learning to understand a business. Entrepreneurship is the future of the modern society. It reflects a ray of hope for the unemployed to earn a living and maintain a dignified life and also for the economic development of the country. Identifying a potential entrepreneur is always a difficult task. A person who hails from a business family may not possess the entrepreneur qualities and may not be interested in the same field. The government and other service organizations conduct special programs namely Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) mainly for the purpose of identifying and developing potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is an occupational enterprise undertaken at an individual level which often involves financial risk, quick decision, innovative adaptation, continuous investment and above all a temperament for organizing things for profit making and development. Its history in India goes back to the period of industrialization brought about by the British Raj. The present education system in India has not been able to promote independent thinking, creativity, a spirit of innovation and motivation for setting a challenging and achievable goal. The environment and policy however offer diverse opportunities for sustainable self-employment to ensure contribution of workforce to industrial economy. There is thus a need is to inculcate the spirit of enterprise into the psyche of the present generation.  With all the socio economic development going towards Kerala, the entrepreneurial culture was not set in. Hence this paper will identify those aspects and the challenges before University of Kerala in fostering the climate of entrepreneurship. The effort should culminate in offering a Masters programme in Entrepreneurship under the aegis of the university.

Kerala, a 100% literate state, has the highest rate of educated unemployed in the country with over 40 lakh unemployed youth on the live register of Employment Exchanges. This comprises about 20 lakh graduates and otherwise technically qualified. Kerala has attained worldwide acclaim for its achievements in the social sector, particularly in the health and education system. But the performance in the industrial sector has not been keeping pace with the potential of the State. Government of Kerala has recognized this factor and has instituted bold and forward looking measures to tap the unique strengths of the State aimed at providing a sustainable stimulus for industrial growth. Kerala has a high per capita rate of consumption, but it imports a major share of its requirements including food. The educated and technically qualified youth are migrating for want of jobs and sufficient employment opportunities. The abundance of capital and manpower are not being tapped adequately. Keralites are reluctant to invest in economically productive activities even though there is a surfeit of techno-economic talent. The factors contributing to this state of affairs may range from labour market rigidities to the absence of a favourable investment climate and has to lead to a generation of entrepreneurship been lost. Kerala's GDP per capita is about average for India, but its economic growth rate has been considerably slower. Unemployment rate in Kerala is the one with problem- Kerala:  11.6% (rural), 12.2% (urban) as against India:  2.3% (rural), 5.7% (urban). This has forced many Keralites to leave and look greener pastures in India or abroad.

Some of the reasons for lack of entrepreneurship in Kerala are due to: Preoccupation with redistribution, aversion for taking risks and preference for secure employment, lack of confidence to innovate, poor self-esteem of entrepreneurs, lack of business culture built on mutual trust, unsympathetic and unsupportive bureaucracy and the labour laws and institutions that are heavily biased against the entrepreneur. According to JMI Sait, former Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO, the factors inhibiting entrepreneurship in Kerala are: culture of the society, availability of right skill sets, infrastructure, networks and government policy and administrative support. He also cited certain aspects in which the entrepreneur in an individual takes a back seat: subsidy consciousness, high targets versus instinctive decisions, mistrust – of labour, peers, colleagues, misguidance – relatives, friends, retired executives and government officers, fear of bankers, taxmen, pollution controllers, sanitary inspectors, politicians etc., inadequate knowledge of laws –rights and liabilities and slow legal system.

The employment scenario in Kerala is as follows:


This gives the indication of the scope for entrepreneurship in Kerala. One of the issues in Kerala is primarily the unemployment scenario. Given the right skill set and attitude, this can be tapped into its full potential. Even the college admissions show the similar trend as evident from the following table:


During the year 2004, following is the spending by Keralites:

Readymade garments                                  Rs. 412.31 crore
Medicines                                                 Rs. 405.75 crore
Sarees                                                     Rs. 365.09 crore 
Washing soap and other washing products      Rs. 355.87 crore
Toilet soap                                               Rs. 269.91 crore
Cloth for shirt, pyjama  and salwar                Rs. 224.86 crore
Hair oil, shampoo, lotion and hair cream          Rs. 174.46 crore 
Tooth brush and paste                                Rs. 149.66 crore

This shows the basic area where entrepreneurship can be nurtured. In the food items sector, there is a high degree of concentration in low technology products such as cereal powders, curry powders, pickles and jams. The number of players in technology-intensive product lines such as desiccated coconut, oleoresins and coconut milk is very limited.

The following can be identified specially for Kerala:

1. Tourism – Ayurveda/ Health/Eco/Coastal/Backwater
2. Food processing
3. Information and Communication Technology
4. Biotechnology
5. Nanotechnology
6. IT enabled services
7. Media management
8. Coir and Handloom sector
9. Rubber sector
10. Fisheries sector
11. Farm and Estates

Specific areas for Kerala can be:

1. Food sector, Food Processing, Food Analysis, Packaging, Cashew processing, Bakery and confectionery.
2. Fisheries, Fish Hatchery, Processing units, Aquarium, Sea Food sector
3. Coir and Handloom sector, Rubber based industries
4. Plant tissue culture, Nursery, Horticulture, Floriculture and Farm management.
5. Diagnostic testing labs – Biochemical tests, water testing, Environmental testing and medical laboratory testing.
6. Information Technology Enabled Services, Software Development, Molecular Biology Data analysis, computer aided drug design and clinical trials data management.

Entrepreneurship Development Cell of University of Kerala will have to develop an awareness campaign among the people at large and also explain the same to all the stake holders of the system. One way is to develop EDS –Entrepreneurship Development Sub -centers in all the affiliated colleges of the University. It will act as a nodal centre for entrepreneurial ventures. Teachers to be picked from each college for training under professional practitioners and teachers. The reason why this is needed is since Kerala requires an entrepreneurship movement to lift the State from its current state of industrial backwardness. Building up entrepreneurship awareness and developing a culture of entrepreneurship are vital steps in this regard.  An entrepreneurial culture will flourish when all the institutions of society–the political leadership to be sure–are moving together, and all the levers of society are mobilized to feed and nurture that central proposition. Young entrepreneurs will grow and develop when the proper incentive structure is truly in place–one that starts from a young age. University of Kerala will be working towards doing the same through its Entrepreneurship Development Cell and  the Centre for Management Education and Entrepreneurship Development (CMEE).

CMEE will be involved in undertaking the following activities which will foster the employable Student Initiative (ESI):

  • The Centre will identify the soft skill requirements of the management students.
  • Arrange for programmes like Spoken English, Business Communication.
  • Organize Personality Development Programmes.
  • Offering entrepreneurship training with relevant agencies/ institutions.
  • Develop the skills required for facing interviews and groups discussions.
  • Professional development of students.
  • Arranging short term crash courses on any specific management topic.
  • Organizing Workshops for making the students competitive (e.g. effective salesmanship and retailing)
  • Arranging meeting with industrialists through the University-Industry interaction.

The possible programme that will be launched under the CMEE will have:

Semester 1

Semester 2

semester 3

semester 4


Semester1

ED11 MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
ED12 ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR
ED13 ACCOUNTING FOR MANAGERS
ED14 MANAGERIAL ECONOMICS
ED15 INTRODUCTION TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP
ED16 OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
ED17 BASIC MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS
ED18 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Semester 2

ED21 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
ED22 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
ED23 MARKETING MANAGEMENT
ED24 BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
ED25 ENTREPRENEURSHIP LAB
ED26 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ED27 LEGISLATIONS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
ED28 SMALL BUSINESS  MANAGEMENT

ED29 Project Identification, Formulation, Appraisal & Implementation
* Project Work which includes  Field work:
4 weeks and presentation

Semester 3

ED31 INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND E-BUSINESS
ED32 NEGOTIATION SKILLS AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
ED33 NEW ENTERPRISE CREATION & DEVELOPMENT
ED34 FAMILY BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
ED35 PROJECT APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT
ED36 CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
ED37
SCIENCE PARKS, TECHNOLOGY PARKS & TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS INCUBATORS

Semester 4

ED41
TECHNOPOLIS, SCHOOLS OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, INNOVATION CENTRES
ED42 BUSINESS POLICY
ED43  PROJECTS
- MANUFACTURING SECTOR
- SERVICE SECTOR
- AGRI BUSINESS


 


Dr. K.S. Chandrasekar
Chairman, Board of Studies in Business Management
Director, Centre for Management Education and Entrepreneurship Development
Coordinator, Entrepreneurship Development Cell, MBA (Distance Education)
University of Kerala
Trivandrum-695 034

Mr. Jubi R
Research Scholar in Management
Sathybama University
Chennai
 

Source: E-mail November 28, 2006

     

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