Opportunity through Enterprise'
(Dhaka Courier (Bangladesh) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The current world is grappling with financial crisis, unemployment, underemployment and youth bulge. For instance, in Bangladesh over 55% of the population is 25 years of age or younger (UN 2009). This denotes a dangerous ‘youth bulge’ far exceeding employment opportunities.
There is, therefore, a pressing need to provide greater opportunities for enterprise building. But certain factors are necessary for providing such opportunities.
Entrepreneurship skill development training
Appropriate vocational and entrepreneurship skills training are necessary. These are ‘new’ types of training centres to make the young, disabled and women to innovate, think and create and set up enterprises to respond to the needs of the emerging markets.
Entrepreneurship refers to innovation, creativity, risk taking and capability to turn ideas in to actions. Such training is most useful when undertaken by government in partnership with the private sector and NGOs. To be useful such training should develop enterprise culture, provide information on market and credit facilities through information and support services. It is also necessary as well as beneficial, to share information with other countries to identify good practices and how other entrepreneurs have tackled the problems of planning and setting up successful enterprises.
A wide range of training programs are required to equip the target group so that they are aware of the opportunities available. To promote enterprise it is necessary to develop an entrepreneurial culture with young people from school level to foster the kind of attitude necessary for innovation and creative projects. Enterprise building has to be encouraged and to attract investors. The governments in partnership with the private sector and NGOs could develop implementable Action Plan so that factors promoting opportunities are increased.
The three in partnership, with their respective strengths, can work in complimentary relationship to achieve the objectives of promoting greater opportunity for enterprises. Large enterprises and SMEs are all targeted towards human resource development and poverty alleviation. For example, Singapore‘s program of continuing education in IT training and continuous monitoring of labour market trends was a successful venture.
Opportunity for enterprise building requires a shift from traditional skills profile. Technologies are developing extremely rapidly and this impact on occupational structure change. The nature of skills required are:
i) Multiple rather than single specific skill such as skills of creativity, innovation and ability to take initiatives in planning and organizing;
ii) Behavioural skills of management, cooperation, coordination and group work in a multi-cultural environment.
iii) Cognitive skills of abstract reasoning and articulation
iv) Flexibility and adaptability and positive attitude towards change
v) Skills of learning, discovery, analysis, problem solving and experimentation, and
vi) Ability to upgrade one’s own skills and take initiatives in one’s career path.
Enterprises, whether small, medium or large multinational ones, do not exist in a vacuum. They operate within a specific political climate, socio-economic context and are subject to institutional constraints. If these are not conducive for improving opportunities then enterprise building will suffer. Other factors such as lack of access to funds, corruption and stringent administrative regulations act as obstacles to opportunities. Governments of member countries need to address these challenges and work in partnership with the private sector and NGOs.
Labour Market Information System (LMIS)
A vibrant LMIS will give indication to the:
i) Changes in the current market that requires new initiatives
ii) Emerging needs of the markets, both at home and abroad
iii) Market signals of proposed change.
Much depends on ability to foresee labour market trends reasonably well and designing training to meet the requirements of the market. Mechanisms need to exist to capture as well as possible signals of emerging changes in the occupational and skills requirement scenario. Many training institutions have low capacity utilization, inadequate training methods and uncertain usefulness. This leads to massive waste of resources and time. The importance of education and training for entrepreneurs cannot be underestimated. No matter who provides the training, there is a strong case to be made for keeping this training from becoming too skill specific, given the extreme difficulties of reliably forecasting skill demands.
This should prompt governments to examine and adopt policy reforms and alter regulations to encourage investment within country and attract investments from outside. This also presupposes good working conditions to promote basic human rights of workers, favourable industrial relations, corporate social responsibility and adequate human resource development. In many Commonwealth developing countries, SMEs face considerable difficulty in obtaining the necessary financial resources to effectively scale up and develop their businesses. Access to traditional capital including debt and equity is usually prohibitively costly.
This is due insufficient legal and regulatory policies, stringent requirements and inadequate financial markets. Microfinance lending agencies, International Finance Corporation and other investment institutions have improved access to capital. However, SMEs seeking US$50,000 to 1 million face problems in accessing the necessary capital. ICT enterprises face even more acute challenges of accessing growth capital because these enterprises possesses few tangible assets as collateral for loans and their businesses are poorly understood. There has to be initiatives to cater to the needs of techno enterprises and provide measure to fill their financial gaps.
Management of Change
Phenomenal development is taking place in the area of technology and new products. These innovations create change. One of the greatest challenges is to manage change efficiently. Findings have revealed that industrial enterprises in the private sector manage change more quickly than others to respond to the requirements of the market.
This is an important component of lifelong learning. With new knowledge, networking and multicultural ethos, meanings alter, work scenarios get restructured with new job requirements, management becomes dynamic and job opportunities undergo transformation. An enterprise’s readiness for change and innovation is based on the ‘organizational health’ and determination of the enterprise to meet the needs of the clients. Change and innovation has become imperative, consequently understanding and appreciation of the management of change is an important component of healthy and successful enterprises.
Finally, policies, enabling ethos and ability to change are potent in fostering opportunities. The latter includes removing obstacles to labour market flexibility, maintaining an easy mechanism for accessing capital and appropriate training to innovate, create and respond to the needs of emerging markets.
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