After graduation comes the most crucial decision taking part of life- fixing a career path. Youths of Bangladesh, keeping in mind the factors like job security, growth potential, mostly make their final decision to serve either government, private sectors, or banks. But there is another choice available where a person can create his/her own path and solve the unemployment issue along, which is entrepreneurship. It offers more potential and benefits than the other options mentioned above. And to discuss this opportunistic career choice, the Financial Express arranged a discussion on its youth Facebook platform Echo, where Dr MH Arif, professor of Chittagong University (CU), and Md. Emdadul Haque, a trainer of Bangladesh Investment Authority (BIDA) were invited to share their thoughts and experiences. Mohammed Imrul Hasan hosted the event.
The session started with a common query, "Why should students choose entrepreneurship as a career choice?" Professor Arif believes that it is needed for creating more employment opportunities, as the country aims to become a developed nation by 2041. As entrepreneurs are known for taking initiatives to bring change for themselves, for society and the nation as a whole, students should choose to be entrepreneurs for the sake of this change and individual growth as well.
When asked about skills an entrepreneur needs to be successful, Arif kept his answer open. He believes that an entrepreneur has to be a life-long learner to remain updated with the trends and changes. "Even just ten years ago, the answer would have been innovation. But now, the scenario has changed, and the skills of an entrepreneur are no longer restricted within innovation, rather, expanded into growth mindset, communication and leadership," he added.
Moreover, even if a person somehow decides to be an entrepreneur, she/he falls into the dilemmas of when to start preparing and how to execute the idea in reality. Solution came from Md Emdadul Haque, who said that there is no age restriction to be an entrepreneur. Anyone can start a venture from any age. All that is needed is determination of chasing the dream. But the problem is solely focusing on making profit. That is where the trouble begins, as an entrepreneur should prioritise to invest his/her talent, time, and work to make changes. If the focus gets confined to earning money, then it is hard to reach the goal.
But the issue of not choosing entrepreneurship as a career choice does not end here. A student may have talent, ideas, skills, and everything needed to be an entrepreneur; but lack of investment or capital often buries the idea. However, "There are multiple choices for financing an entrepreneurship, only if we look around ourselves," said Emdadul. He pointed out many options from which students can manage capital. Those are family and friends, angel investors, or the person can simply take the help of social media to start the journey that takes only a little amount of capital but creates huge awareness.
Despite all these issues and obstacles, recently, Bangladesh has been experiencing a boom in entrepreneurship. But the harsh reality is that the majority of those ventures never sees the light of success. And this happens, according to Arif, due to Bangladeshi students' lack of knowledge of taking an idea to the implementation level. They focus on too many options and end up with nothing. In addition to that, Emdadul Haque pointed out another issue which is not looking for the market gap properly. Majority of the students of Bangladesh tend to copy ideas. Only if they observe their surroundings properly, they will find numerous opportunities and won't end-up in failure.
The session then moved to discuss why society only accepts people with a decent job, but not an entrepreneur which works as a primary discouragement while choosing this career. A jobholder gets more value and importance than a person working hard for his/her small venture. Both the speakers agreed that Bangladesh's education system needs improvement to create entrepreneurship enthusiasts. Even though students are involved in clubs and extracurricular activities, and working for their skill development, in the end, they often fail to unleash their inner creativity and potential because of the traditional mindset, social stigma and orthodox education. However, the situation is indeed changing, and the guests expressed their optimism as slow progress is better than no progress.
Fahmina Ahmed is currently pursuing her BBA graduation at Dhaka University. Email: [email protected]