AN INNOVATIVE WAY OF CAPACITY BUILDING IN BUSINESS/ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARENA IN MANIPUR

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Raj Singh

WiseWorld Immigration, Toronto

 

My layman’s brain was a little stirred by the news of the recent Manipur Inspiration Episode 2 organized (June 06, 2014 at MIMS, MU) by Dynamic Manipur (DM), a new Imphal-based organization whose members include expatriate Manipuris who dream of a prosperous motherland. A few successful local entrepreneurs and others spoke to inspire the Manipuri youth to excel in what they pursue in life. Instilling entrepreneurship spirit was a significant urge behind the episode. This reportedly is one in a series being planned by DM.

With no reference to what was delivered at the episode (since I could not attend), my inspired thinking just stumbled on one idea, that hopefully could help find a clue to the entrepreneurship imbroglio in Manipur.

Almost all SMEs run by the state government and its arms-length agencies have failed in Manipur. The organized attempts of the government to attract investors during the past few years have made little success. No business in the state has reached the incorporated public company status as yet. A swarm of unscrupulous NGOs and a gang of neo-rich contractors in nexus continue to embezzle development funds leaving behind nature-defacing artifacts and not a semblance of development. Banks do not trust true entrepreneurs in this medley of confounding feats of nexus players. People have low self-esteem and blaming everything around is the newly earned culture for the citizenry. In this backdrop, we have to build the capacity of the youth for a better Manipur.

The objective of entrepreneurship development is to create employment generating business and induce capital formation in the state. In a poor financial environment in the state it is quite possible that brilliant business ideas of many entrepreneurs are shelved for want of capital. When no external investors can be lured due to the existing law and order (or socio-political) problems in the state, can we find local venture capitalists or a syndicate of local investors and business professionals to help promising entrepreneurs in an innovative way?

Here is the way! I draw the idea from a reality TV show called Dragon’s Den originally initiated by Sony TV in Japan and adapted in several countries now. The format of the show is that entrepreneurs with original business ideas but lacking in funding and direction pitch their idea to a panel of five rich and successful venture capitalists, the eponymous “Dragons”.  They present the business idea, its valuation, sales success, the capital fund they want from the venture capitalists and the business equity percentage they offer to the venture capitalists in return. The venture capitalists (the Dragons) simultaneously but individually assess the quality of the business offered to them by the entrepreneur and compete among themselves to win the partnership offer from the entrepreneur. Bad business ideas are rejected, good ones get support from one or two Dragons and brilliant ones can get support from all the five Dragons. Now, the entrepreneur with good business idea gets an instant spring-board service from the venture capitalist in the form of capital and partnership. In this way, the entrepreneur’s business dream is made a reality under a deal in a win-win situation.

The financing from the venture capitalist can be in the form of business share capital or loan or a combination. The return can also be in terms of profit share, royalty or loan interest based on the deal they strike.

If not for a reality TV show, the government of Manipur can take an initiative to form a syndicate of local and external investors to take part in such an entrepreneur hunting exercise to build a dynamic business environment in the state. This scheme has tremendous potential to boost entrepreneurial spirit, to enhance modern business skills and financial discipline; and to generate employment and capital formation in the state. This will be an innovative way of connecting entrepreneurs to investors in an organic way. If the old and conventional methods of luring investors have failed, it is worth trying this one. The state government needs to convert the present subsidy-dispensing economy to a self-regenerative one under a proactive and innovative approach.

End of the article.

 

 

Raj Singh

President,  WiseWorld Immigration and Education Consultant,  Canada

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