Mentoring support for promoting entrepreneurship—the way forward

Entrepreneurship is a buzz word today which has endless opportunities to offer. The current global scenario reflects the impact of entrepreneurship on the world economy. India as a country has seen a huge boost in the society towards entrepreneurship development in the last decade. Even the current government’s push towards entrepreneurship development has given rise to a sea of entrepreneurial opportunities that only needs to be identified and grabbed

Entrepreneurship is a very broad term, and when we look at entrepreneurship promotion,we need to first categorise prospective  entrepreneurs into three broad segments.

  1. School and college dropouts
    1. Graduates a Post Graduates
    1. Professionals with work experience

Each segment has its own challenges and opportunities and need  different type of mentoring and handholding support.

  • Te first category  comprises of youths  who are school and college drop-outs.They normally

                -have poor reading and writing skills

                -do not have funds to invest

For such type of youths,the possibilities are skilled based micro-enterprises/business in the service sector or in the traditional handloom and handicraft sector.For promoting entrepreneurship in this segment,the type of support needed include


                -Mentoring-which includes motivation, guidance and handholding

                -access to credit

 -incubation support and market support

  • The second category of prospective entrepreneurs are youths who are graduates/post graduates who are on the look out for a job, but often their second choice is starting a business venture.This category can be further looked as comprising of
    • Youth who have a strong achievement drive
    • Youths who are laid back or complacent

Targeting youths with strong achievement drive can yield results. It is seen that when achievement drive is strong, sensitising on various business opportunities itself acts as a motivator.

The type of support needed for such youths include

1)Opportunity guidance

2)Mentoring and handholding on;

                                -access to various schemes

                                -Application procedure

                                -incubation support

It is seen that a very small percentage of prospective entrepreneurs have clarity on what they want to do and why they want to do. Out of this small segment, a large percentage often comprises of youths who identify a business opportunity based on successful ventures that they come across. In the process they often come up with ‘me too enterprises’ and  when similar units come up in a particular segment, they cut into each others profit.The type of mentoring support needed for such youths include

-Counselling on business opportunities and linking with knowledge/skill etc

-Helping/supporting in out of box thinking

-Facilitating linkage with government schemes

-Knowledge dissemination on various procedural formalities

=Providing incubation support to test the market and for confidence building.

Within the second category of youth, there is a very small percentage of youth who are informed and wish to take up the option of starting an enterprise as the first option or choice. In this segment,it is often seen that while there is clarity on the urge to start a business venture,there is often a confusion in finalising the business idea.

In all such cases,the mentoring support needed is

-Helping in crystallizing the business idea

-Opportunity guidance

-Credit linkage

-Incubation support

 It is seen that many in this segment are from a family business background

The category of youths in the complacent/laidback segment mostly  comprise of youths who are laid back or complacent because of lack of exposure.This segment is more prevalent amongst youths from the lesser developed regions or from semi-urban and rural areas.They are often not aware of entrepreneurship as a career option and the values and learnings that they have imbibed develops in them a personality of acceptance and obedience of social norms

In case of all such youths in this category, entrepreneurship development training  and labs for developing the achievement motivation drive can have a great impact.The exposure to possibilities becomes their driving force.

The third category comprises of  informed and exposed professionals with work experience who keep on thinking about a career shift  by starting their own venture.They are mostly in the age bracket of thirty to forty years,who have some capital to invest, backed by professional expertise in various fields but often hesitate from taking the plunge because of family responsibility that they need to shoulder. Fear of failure and courage to come out of their secured and comfort zone often acts as a deterrent from taking the plunge.

The mentoring support that they need is facilitating networking ,crystallizing of ideas and access to government schemes and procedural formalities.

In the context of North East India, it is often found that some amongst this segment are professionals working in this region, many are youths from this region who had had moved out of this region 10-15 years back for higher education to metros and are now settled in various parts of India.The start-up boom in two tier cities is making them seriously look at entrepreneurship as a career.The recent initiatives of the Government like Stand-up India and Start-Up India  and announcements like’ Looking East through North East’ ,the extensive promotion of North East as a tourist destination and a land of abundance of resources is making the region also look like a land of opportunities and possibilities.To  address this segment what is needed is  platform for networking and mentoring support.

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