E-Pao! Essay - Who says we don't have entrepreneurs?

Who says we don't have entrepreneurs?

By: Meghanath Nongmaithem *

It is typically assumed that a lack of economic growth means that there is a shortage of entrepreneurs and which further means scarcity of entrepreneur spirit”.

I went through the above line somewhere, sometime back. It was one of those entrepreneurs Guru or an academically creamed line of an economist. I usually don’t intend to look beyond the literal meaning or probably at the most to the vicinity of common sense.

However, the link between the economic growth and entrepreneur somehow made me think it could be interesting to give 5-10 minutes thought, but it turned quite complicated at least for me.

I am neither an Academician nor an entrepreneur; precisely I am myself with no credentials to justify for what I would be writing on the above lines. It would be strictly on the lines of my wandering thoughts and the knowledge gained during the first quarter association with this so called existence as “I”.

Assuming that my conclusion of Manipur as a poor economic growth state to be true, and further reiterating the shortage of entrepreneurs as a cause to a poor economic growth I am assuming that we don’t have enough entrepreneurs to make a significant growth in economic.

Is it true?

This may or may not be as complicated as I think however this question seems to be a good question at least to start with. I am sure the answer is not as easy as we think. As a matter of fact we are dealing with a subject difficult to formally define or model as Entrepreneurship being more to do with behavior base on ideas than science.

My idea of economic growth is significant positive yield from the activities which comes as opportunities. Unless my idea is wrong, it requires opportunities to conduct business activities and more so more opportunities in an underdeveloped and economically torn area like Manipur.

We have been stymied with too many things for a long time from countering the economic stagnation hence the idea of starting a poultry farm would only feed the biological survival requirement. What we require is healthy profit opportunities tied to legal activities which accelerate economic growth.

I am not too sure if it is fair enough to ask someone to think and find ways for a nutritious food while he is fighting even for a daily meal. The fight for a daily meal does require a lot of ideas and innovativeness and certainly a lot of activities for that matter more than the activities of an entrepreneur.

In some sense or a whole sense there is an entrepreneur inside everyone which by large limit themselves basis the inhibition put on them by the resource, knowledge and the deteriorating self confidence of living in a society like ours.

What seems to be the problem is the lack of advance entrepreneurship in the surface but what is actually affecting more, is the social norms that directs the entrepreneur’s ideas and activities towards a diabolic and socially destructive activities.

Here I would want to segregate entrepreneurs’ skills to constructive and destructive categories and we seem to have too much of the latter. We need to reengineer the frameworks of our social guidelines before we lay hands on unexploited opportunity, if not this unexploited opportunity may also become a catalyst for further stagnation and retrogression of economy.

The presence of excessive short life expectancy of individual in profit opportunities is one reason which limits the presence of better playgrounds in Manipur.

This is further aggravated by the highly skilled players which are highly self styled business man which changes the field and they only lay their hands to create a vicious chain within their circle. The remaining seems to get only those which don’t yield economic growth.

The rampant corruptions, Administrative incapacity of state governments and poor civic sense has engulfed the entrepreneurial out of the box thinking. For those who still manage to use their brain gets washed off due to the mandatory requirement of bribes at each level of government to obtain the require permits and authorizations.

This doesn’t end here, for those who took the challenge to pay the bribes are further put into an unstable and unpredictable atmosphere of business as the gross margin is to be shared with all possible xyz.

It is further challenged due to the business requirement for forecasting and long term plan, however the law and order situation and the dependent variables of business has no predictability in Manipur. The dirty evolution of bribery and our weakness to fight has taken a very expensive turn both for social attitude as well as affordability to bribe.

The general concept is “I don’t like bribe and hate to do that but I am adapted to it and I forget that I don’t like bribe once I get money as a return”. This is where we become immune to our inner social cleaning thoughts.

As a result all entrepreneurial thoughts and activities are directed towards a self centered and socially destructive activities. We do have few of us who goes by the book and principles but the competition is with an overturn mass dominantly executing their core competency on bribery, links creation and might.

We seem to have no check points for these groups and for those who empowered these groups. There is no validity of questioning on the transparency as such activities are carried out openly hence we need a stronger system to educate ourselves and stop ourselves from doing it and allowing it to be done.

Our brothers in Media are supposed to be our hope however they have been deprived off their core values which is “freedom to express”.

My conclusion is, we do have Entrepreneurs in Manipur but Entrepreneurs who have either given up, trying hard with an investment as low as Rs 200, successfully using their skills and innovative minds to deal socially unproductive activities granted to few lucky lot.

What we seems to be missing is necessary institutional and initiative of government and people to allow only productive activities as business to come in the forefront.

It creates a near to impossible feeling talking about such initiative from government or people however it takes just one thought and a step to go for the first step.

* Meghanath Nongmaithem contributes regularly to . The writer can be contacted at n_meghanath(at)yahoo(dot)com . This article was webcasted on June 6th, 2007

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