INNOVATIVE ideas always require fine-tuning by blending academics and practical perspectives to achieve the desired result. During the process, accessibility to knowledge leaders plays a pivotal role. For any business, economic conditions directly impact the company’s growth. Every industry is just like an atom whose proximity with other particles determines the state of the matter.

On the other hand, prosperity and growth of the economy is very much dependent upon the farsightedness of the knowledge leaders within that economy; people who not only keep sight of opportunities at hand, but also keep an eye on the emerging trends.

Moreover, these knowledge leaders can equip the investors with the right kind of knowledge resource that is sometimes precious, and even though it is available at a low cost, relatively speaking, it cannot always reach its rightful user.

Despite rising inflation and setbacks due to Covid and other elements, Pakistan has experienced a considerable rise in the number of start-ups. As per a survey, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) registered 1,949 new companies in the 2021 fiscal. Also, according to invest2innovate website, 83 start-ups raised about $350million. However, considering the gap between incorporations and success stories is an altogether different marker and puts a big question mark on the opportunities available in the market.

The success of these ventures significantly depends upon accessibility to resources that are not limited to finance. They also include information that significantly impacts the cost of investment and enables new entrepreneurs to revisit their respective business plans in the initial phase.

When it comes to matchmaking the right idea with the right opportunity, three key concerns need to be considered. First, the untapped business market has growth potential, but is not correctly tapped by virgin investors. Second, the incentives offered by the government to the young-preneurs in various sectors and segments to encourage investment. And, third, accessibility to finance on investor-friendly terms that at times is either not available, or, if available, there are several negative elements attached to it that are not business-friendly.

Unfortunately, this is the crucial area where the country is lagging behind. The young-preneurs are not conversant with the available opportunities as neither the government nor any academic institution has marketed the niche areas where investors can test their fates.

The possibilities are often sold to the established business people. However, when it comes to new entrants, they are usually pushed to fight for their fate by putting the burden of meeting regulatory requirements that are time-consuming and counterproductive to innovative young brains.

These issues can be resolved by bridging the knowledge gap at the university level between professionals as business specialists and consultants with practical experience who are not connected with educationists. The education sector has a theoretical grasp of the subject, but practical application is lacking at their end.

Therefore, government, academia and businesses must formulate ways to connect knowledge and experienced leaders with young entrepreneurs.

In this way, the economy will not be able to avoid the phenomenon of brain drain and may flourish by nourishing the new entrepreneurs with the right kind of tools to build themselves and the country. The Greek philosopher was absolutely right when he said: “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”

Shahid Shoaib
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022

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