Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inspiring & Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Earlier today, I attended the "Inspiring & Aspiring Entrepreneurs" Conference organized by Sharjah Tatweer Forum The hall was set up quite differently from what we are used to in a conference. Utilizing one large hall at Sharjah Expo, they had split it into an auditorium at one end, while the larger portion was loosely sectioned to include innovative corners, lounging areas, an F&B bar, and a dozen stalls for businesses. You could see that Tatweer Board had chosen to make their conference look minimalistic on purpose, because it is important to inspire entrepreneurship with focus on innovation and low cost, and finally be done with the tendency of Emirati youth to focus on a five star look and neglect the product.
Speaking first about opportunities in Sharjah Dr. Yassar Jarrar of PWC; his main point was about how we prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs. "What we don't teach our children."

Curiosity : we don't encourage being inquisitive (we rely almost solely on rote learning) no analytical thinking is encouraged. In this way, our graduates are not ready for the market.

Moreover, we do not teach them to appreciate failure. As an Arab society, we are extremely shy about failures, and worse, we even try to mask them with successes. Again, collectively, we do no reward failure, which involves risk taking; but what is entrepreneurship without risk taking?

Enthusiasm: It is vital that entrepreneurship is encouraged in early school learning. Kids in school can then be automatically ready to go into businesses of their own by the time they graduate from school or college.

If the Arab world is to provide millions of jobs in the next 50 years then the educational system must revamp its curriculum and teaching methods in order to encourage innovation, analytical thinking, risk taking and overall enthusiasm.

The stream of panelists talked about their experiences or their insights as part of organizations which identify and support entrepreneurs. Points which were raised:

·         One-third of the population in the region is under the age of 15
·         In this sector, as within others, mentorship is vital.
·         It is normal to fail in your projects; but you need to get up and do it again.
·         Passion and hard work is more important than a smart idea.
·         We're in most need of opportunities than financial funding. Listen to the requirements of creating a nurturing environment for SMEs.
·         Know your business; don't just know one side of it.
·         It's probably best to work within a team than to work on your own.

And as an addition to the ideas above, I will end with this interesting link:

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