Bangladesh needs entrepreneur-friendly curriculums as well as a more "hands-on" approach regarding business courses in universities, speakers opined in a webinar organised by EMK Centre on Sunday.
They discussed the potentiality of creating an economy powered by rigorous entrepreneurs during the webinar. EMK Centre has been running a weeklong virtual campaign to celebrate "Global Entrepreneurship Week" and as a part of that, the webinar titled "University Education: Method, Process or Both?" was held.
The speakers spoke strongly of the necessity to create an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem comprising advantageous government policies along with fair taxation laws and legal system. And they stressed the need for a change in the way Bangladeshi tertiary level curriculums are designed, to help imaginative and business-minded students.
Among the speakers were Asif Uddin Ahmed, assistant professor at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) and active director of EMK Centre, Professor Imran Rahman, special adviser to the Board of Trustees, ULAB, and George Deriso, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at University of Colorado, USA.
Professor Deriso talked about the academic history of early entrepreneurial education in the United States and how a minor academic programme of Harvard started to take off in a new economic reality with the emergence of places such as Silicon Valley in the 70s. He credited universities of the US speaker (about 4000 of which offer academic programmes on Entrepreneurship) for helping innovative students to go for their own start-ups.
He also acknowledged that entrepreneurship is not only about starting a company, rather it is more about mindset and innovativeness.
Entrepreneurs are not created through lectures. It is like practising a craft. Just as a pianist must play on an actual piano, the entrepreneurs must practise their own craft, he said.
Professor Imran Rahman regretted the lack of cooperation between universities and business corporations in Bangladesh.
He advocated for more analysis and discussions in classrooms as well as industry visits by students, which would help them build their own businesses if they go for that in the future.
His enthusiasm for a more "hands-on" approach in the academic sector was shared by George Deriso and Asif Uddin Ahmed as well.
Assistant Professor and EMK Director Asif Uddin Ahmed called for better trained professionals in non-governmental and non-profit organisations, which might help local entrepreneurs.
Also, he discussed EMK Centre's efforts to help many entrepreneurs through funding and educational events.
He talked about how only a handful of universities in Bangladesh are currently offering entrepreneurship-centric programmes which should change in the future.
Speakers also agreed on the fact that offering MBA to students who have real work experiences would be a good thing. People who have worked in a business or have started businesses themselves bring their own experiences with them and that should enrich the programme itself as well as help every student individually.
Professor Imran Ahmed also talked about a possible entrepreneurial course for all undergraduate students which should help people from every subject have a chance to go for their own start-ups if they choose.
But he acknowledged that being in a country with socialist policies for a long time has changed common Bangladeshis' views on business for the worse and that needs to change.
Professor Deriso talked about his works in Slovenia, another country which had a socialist economy for long, and opined that through small investments and successes, the entrepreneurs should convince more and more people to believe in a business-friendly economy which would help to create an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem comprising both public and private sectors.