Entrepreneurship is part of a student's know-how

By Eugene Clark
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 29, 2013
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If China is to become a leader in innovation and realize its great potential for both economic and social development, then its universities need to do more to develop, promote, encourage and educate students about entrepreneurship.

Most students grow up with – and attend university with – the belief and goal that they will spend the rest of their productive lives working for someone else, ideally a big international company, state owned enterprise or prestigious government department. Few students are actually inspired to think and dream about creating their own business. Whereas many science and technology departments at universities now put greater focus on knowledge transfer, the wider set of entrepreneurial skills are left to chance, sometimes talked about in a particular subject, but more often ignored.

Universities are in a unique position to take on this role of promoting innovation and creating a bridge between knowledge creation and the ensuing transfer of that knowledge into a new product, new business or new job. Entrepreneurship requires a mix of disciplinary talents and approaches. With almost a quarter of all new developments coming from people outside of the factual discipline, it is important that universities themselves tear down the walls that have sometimes created barriers between various departments.

Universities must also tear down the walls that separate them from the worlds of industry and business. In this way, universities can nurture and support future entrepreneurs and help link them to alumni and others so that they may find sufficient finance and guidance to make their dream become a reality.

Another important factor to bear in mind is that entrepreneurship is in no way limited to the private sector or business world. China and the overall global community also need "social entrepreneurs," who can apply business skills and principles to find innovative ways in solving local, regional, national and international social problems. Such social entrepreneurship is vital if we are to meet the formidable challenges of preserving our environment, promoting health, reducing poverty and ensuring that the benefits of economic development come to all citizens.

The reality of course is that most of China's graduates will end up working for someone else for most, if not all, of their lives. However, entrepreneurship (or more appropriately called "intrapreneurship") is also required so that today's graduates make a contribution to the improvement of existing public and private sector organizations, eventually becoming our leaders of tomorrow.

By embracing the need to take on a central role in nurturing and promoting China's entrepreneurial spirit, job creation will be enhanced and the talent of today's graduates will bloom into a more innovative and prosperous China.

The author is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/eugeneclark.htm

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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