Making a case for MSME varsities and institutes of entrepreneurship
The creation of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) universities in each state will serve two purposes.
The rapidly evolving global economy has led to the changing nature of employment and employer-employee relationship. India is not insulated from these advances as the world’s fastest-growing major economy of the world. An increase in the number of gig workers, capital ownership in the hands of employees with asset-light companies etc. are all symptoms of this silent transformation.
India is expected to add an additional 100 million people by 2030 to its workforce and it is reasonable to argue that some of them will have to be job creators rather than job seekers. Further, the country will benefit from a workforce that has a greater appetite for risk-taking, allowing innovation to foster. One way to encourage this would be to establish institutes of entrepreneurship that can provide impetus to the existing innovation structure with incubation centres.
The creation of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) universities in each state will serve two purposes. First, it will ensure formal training in practical matters relating to running businesses such as dealing with regulatory compliances, managing operations etc. Second, it will allow the faculty to undertake research on MSMEs, helping in better identification of challenges faced by the backbone of the nation’s economy.
India is the world’s second-largest English-speaking country, which gives its workforce an edge over others. Traditional job opportunities are less likely to be able to absorb the incoming workforce or meet its aspirations thereby necessitating entrepreneurship. This was the motive behind Prime Minister’s push for Start-Up India and Stand-Up India missions, which culminated in the country emerging as the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world.
To provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the requisite skills and knowledge, India needs to establish Institutes of Entrepreneurship in major cities and towns. The curriculum should cover areas such as ideation, business planning, financial management, marketing strategies, legal compliance, and technology adoption. Training programmes should be designed to be more practical, enabling participants to gain hands-on experience in launching and managing ventures.
These institutes should also collaborate with successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, incubators and investors who can mentor and guide budding ones. Networking events and workshops should be organised to connect students with potential partners. One of the challenges faced by startups is the lack of funding. These institutes should facilitate access to seed funding of various types such as Mudra Loans or through other investors helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses.
Similarly, to empower MSMEs, each state should establish a university dedicated to providing specialised education and support to this sector. The universities should offer courses tailored to address the specific needs of MSMEs, such as digital marketing, technology adoption, supply chain management and regulatory compliance. These universities should conduct research to identify industry-specific challenges and recommend solutions. Training programmes should be designed to upskill existing MSME owners and employees.
Realising the ambitious goal of establishing Institutes of Entrepreneurship and MSME universities requires a collective effort from the government, private sector and civil society. A public-private partnership will bring with it additional resources and expertise to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Promoting entrepreneurship and nurturing MSMEs is crucial for India’s economic growth and development. By shifting the focus from job seekers to job creators, Institutes of Entrepreneurship can empower individuals to build successful ventures and contribute to job creation. Simultaneously, MSME universities can equip small businesses with the necessary skills, technology and funding to thrive in a competitive landscape. With the right policies and efforts, India can unlock its entrepreneurial potential and emerge as a global hub for innovation and job creation.
Director, Public Policy Research Centre