FOSTERING BUSINESS ACUMEN IN YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
By AURANGZEB SOHARWARDI
Some decades back, particularly in sub –continent, The businesses were synonymous to only particular areas and a few sir names,like Shiekhs,Memons,Banyas and Pathans.These families inherited businesses and propensity with business acumen from generations. Now due to globalization and advent of latest technology, businesses are a cup of tea for any one having a big heart to take the risk of doing business and an enterprising brain to have innovative ideas.Some times it comes as a compulsion and some times as a golden opportunity.How ever, still being a BABOO in any Government organisation or to be a well dressed casanova in some Multi national Company is the ultimate dream In our society. Our social set up has never been supportive and conducive to business activities there by discouraging entrepreneurs. Most of the parents and families consider the business as a risky affair and want to play very safe by persuading or compelling their young ones to join some secure NOKARI, with provident fund, medical allowance , leave facility,penssion and gratuity. Lack of institutional support, restricted access to finance, limited business knowledge, dearth of electricity and gas services, legal compulsions and dilapidated law and order situation in the country are some of the factors which create serious impediments for business activities and starting new businesses. Redemption from the confinement of these myths is becoming the need of the hour as Government ,due to its misgovernance and the companies due to economic turmoil in the country have not been success full in providing employment to millions of young and aspiring Pakistanis. Employment in state owned enterprises is like digging a milk canal as the post are filled on the basis of nepotism or the jobs quota is allocated to political leaders as political bribe. Disrupted economic activities have resulted in to enormous number of lay offs in private sector. In this heart chocking scenario, People should be motivated and facilitated to start their own businesses , tasting the delicacies of being their own boss. Besides many other factors,This basically requires the business acumen too. Which explains the keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. Business literacy is defined in SHRM’s Business Literacy Glossary as “the knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of an organization.”The Oxford English Dictionary defines acumen as “the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions”. Given these textbook definitions, a strictly literal definition would be “keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation.”Although Business acumen is considered to be a gift of nature but the contemporary research and practices have propogated that business acumen can be developed and embellished through keen environmental analysis and tacit knowledge augmented by explicit knowledge. It can foster business skills, develop interest in business functions/cycle for competing in a modern business world. Unveiling the intricacies of business acumen requires contemplation of business environment and mouth watering business recipes can be found by integrating tacit and explicit knowledge. The process of developing business acumen should start from society , where the parents, friends, relatives and the government must encourage and facilitate young guns to have a business knack and enthusiasm as a part of their grooming. Parents should not be hesitant to allow their kids to assume the risk of starting new businesses. The government has definitely a very substantial and greater role in this regard. It should provide institutional support, business guidance and venture capital to young entrepreneurs .Other important stake holders in this process are the business angels and venture capitalists, as they must patronize business start ups. Through this encouragement, a culture of doing business can be promoted in the country and when young entrepreneurs find such opportunities it will be more mind boggling for them to make them more business minded. Then comes the business knowledge which has its bifurcations as tacit and explicit knowledge. It can permeate in the personalities and paradigms of young entrepreneurs to enable them to improve their business acumen. Explicit knowledge can be obtained from text books, teaching manuals, research in the colleges and universities. Now a days internet search engines are an ocean of knowledge , inviting the youth to dive and search for the pearls of wisdom. The educational institutions must encourage business education and set up entrepreneurship development centers to embellish the business acumen of the students. Although a number of universities are practicing this , how ever, project implementation and industry academia gap still exists. Process of generating creative business thinking must be integrated with regular educational activities. Frequent business plan competitions should be a regular feature of the co-curricular activities. One of the most important component of the process of fostering business acumen is the tacit knowledge transfer to the young entrepreneurs by business gurus and established entrepreneurs, through business talks in universities or through mentoring. They should interact regularly to share their pragmatic learning experiences for finding solutions to business problems. The youth must also find out, by them selves, such experienced business persons in their families and in social net works who can disclose important business tips, to be help full in the nourishment of business neurons in their young, fertile and exuberant brains. We must create a culture of business think and entrepreneurship, as many research studies have revealed that culture influences the way we think. When we are exposed to a culture over a life time, our brain reorganizes. According to scientist Gladwell, Cultural legacies matter and are power fully persuasive to persist. Cultural neuroscience , as an emerging field of study has brought out many revelations , propagating the need of under standing the socio-cultural dimension of brain responses. Creating entrepreneurship culture can facilitate in developing business acumen in youth , which is a precious asset, comprising about 70% of our population. They can be saved from measuring roads, going office to office for job search with degrees in their hands.They can start small businesses not only to reduce unemployment level but also to generate economic activities , contributing in the development and economic growth of the country.