I emailed my friends and research colleagues my earlier blog post with some further clarifications on the idea of creating self-sufficient micro-entrepreneurs by giving them access to a broad array of professional, micro-consulting services. This is an excerpt from a response I received:
"...Most small businesses in the US & other business friendly economies fail within a short time, but small business people are people who take risks, start new businesses after each failure. And are supported by a culture which does not condemn failure, and an institutional structure that doesn't lock them out for past failures...".
I couldn't agree more. We need to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation to make quicker progress at the grassroots level in India. And the best way to do that is to imbue these grassroots level business people with the same confidence as have those who do business at larger scales of economic organisation - larger firms, corporations, or even big grocery stores.
The take home point for me here is the need to focus on creating entrepreneurs, not necessarily entrepreneurships.
- The end is creating bright, innovative, confident citizens who are able to access and take advantage of socioeconomic opportunities; the entrepreneurships or enterprises are the means.
It is important to keep constantly aware of the need to focus on the people who are being targeted with all these "self-help" schemes in India. Important to focus on the business education they gain as a result of their experience, the skills they gain that allow them to exploit new economic opportunities, the confidence they gain that allows them to fight for a greater social and political voice. Maintaining a definite focus on the people will necessarily lead to a different evaluation of policy outcomes, a different basis for assessing success of relevant government policies or nonprofit projects, and differently designed policies in the first place.
- This kind of strategic socioeconomic support is investment into human capital in India, pretty much the primary kind of investment we need.
- And pretty much that exact sector of investment we don't always plan very systematically or comprehensively.