Craft blueprint to foster youth entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship cannot be created. We can only develop the environment to foster its growth, an environment where entrepreneurship is encouraged, valued and supported ("'Kiasu' culture is stifling originality in business: NMP"; yesterday).

This runs contrary to a culture of "kiasuism", a culture that very often avoids risks, disdains failures and overglorifies success stories.

We need to craft a national blueprint to foster youth entrepreneurship.

Input can come from the Government, entrepreneurs and other relevant constituents.

This blueprint should also be championed and crafted by both prominent as well as struggling entrepreneurs.

They have the experience and competence to help create and, more importantly, implement, programmes to groom future entrepreneurs.

Research shows that education is one of the major factors for fostering entrepreneurship.

It plays a pivotal role in influencing and developing entrepreneurial traits and skills.

The pedagogical approach to be taken should encourage students to take risks and accept mistakes as part of the learning process.

Working adults should be engaged to help teachers, and complement the curriculum by training students on knowledge and skills through entrepreneurial case studies.

We can bring to the students real-world experience and wisdom through a variety of experiential and hands-on projects and programmes.

We can also arrange internships and job-shadow programmes to help students understand the realities of the working world.

We should not underestimate young people.

They have great potential for entrepreneurship, and many of them are not short of ideas on how to start a new business.

They will need mentorship and guidance on how to obtain relevant information, conduct feasibility studies, access capital and talents, and implement their ideas.

When the private sector works closely with schools, we can develop a growing pool of entrepreneurs for the next generation.

These entrepreneurs are generally more loyal and committed to investing in their home country and will contribute to the growth of the community and society.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'Craft blueprint to foster youth entrepreneurship'. Print Edition | Subscribe