Education providers in Nepal have come to understand that rising interest in entrepreneurial education is an opportunity to offer a formal education for individuals wanting to start their own business. Over the years, there has been an upsurge in interest towards entrepreneurship from students of different backgrounds

In business schools, we are taught to cater to the needs of customers by primarily learning about their pain points, or difficulties experienced by them during use. Hence, identifying these pain points and making them the foundation of new business ideas have resulted in entrepreneurs catering to specific needs of the consumer.

Looking from this perspective, we can understand why many schools market themselves as providing specific education or learning programmes. In other words, educating people in specific fields is also part of providing consumers, which in this case are potential students, an opportunity to actively address their pain points.

Educators in Nepal have come up with new programmes that facilitate an explicit kind of consumer.

Numerous colleges offer curricula that are new, unconventional and follow certain trends that are currently popular in the market.

For instance, social media marketing is being taught as the popularity and importance of social media has surged. It is also an immensely popular way to run new businesses.

Similarly, there are programmes that combine 'Information Technology' practices with the concepts of general management, allowing students to learn different concepts from both fields.

Likewise, universities around the world conduct surveys with their graduate students to refine the curriculum to better fit the market trends. Thus, the modern education system has become unconventional and is adapting to the current needs and wants of society.

Likewise, education providers in Nepal have come to understand that rising interest in entrepreneurial education is an opportunity to offer a formal education for individuals wanting to start their own business.

Over the years, there has been an upsurge in interest towards entrepreneurship from students of different backgrounds.

Therefore, the registration of 275,433 new small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 2019 across the country is an opportunity for Nepali educators to market their entrepreneurial education.

The transformation in the Nepali education system has been exhibited through different types of courses, programmes and international university affiliation.

And programmes with specialisation in entrepreneurial education is also a result of this transformation.

Moreover, the curricula offered are designed to provide students with a well-rounded system that teaches them to deal with issues related to starting their own ventures, pre-ventures, start-ups to growth and maturity.

Therefore, there is a growing entrepreneurship community in Nepal, which focuses on entrepreneurial development as well as formal degrees.

However, there is one question: Why should entrepreneurial education be taught only to individuals with this particular inclination? Why not teach entrepreneurship to students in middle school or high school? I think early entrepreneurial education will enable students to realise different opportunities.

In our society, students are told there is a good prospect in life in traditional courses like medicine, engineering, nursing and banking from an early age. I remember as a kid saying I wanted to become a doctor.

I also vividly remember a conversation with a high school acquaintance who got bad grades. She said, "I don't feel bad about this because my parents made me pursue this field."

However, we are evolving as a society and acknowledging that career options should depend on the interest, talent and skills of the child. Therefore, I think that introducing an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age will help students with potential in starting their own business.

However, a research conducted to learn about the effectiveness of early entrepreneurial education concluded that such programmes weren't 100 percent effective tools to promote entrepreneurial intentions or competencies, and they only generated modest results in changing the entrepreneurial interest of the adolescents who participated. But this doesn't mean the programme showed negative results.

On the other hand, the results from the study also showed that children that were part of the treatment group improved their self-efficacy, need for achievement, propensity to take risk and analysing skills. The students also showed more proactiveness, improved creativity and persistence after the programme. Therefore, incorporating the programme into the school curriculum wouldn't hamper students' education.

One of the main concerns for entrepreneurial education is that not all participants can afford to pay for higher education.

Thus, the early education programmes are a better course of action to provide a stronger foundation for potential entrepreneurs.

Among many other things, the narrative we've been fed through social media posts and quotes is that successful millionaires are usually college dropouts.

Yes, these individuals were talented enough to realise their goals without a college degree. The passion and drive these people explored when starting their own venture cannot be replicated in a classroom. But we should also look at the educational background of the CEOs of the top Fortune 500 companies, most of whom were graduates from business schools. A good education will help an entrepreneur become a well-rounded leader who is not just focussed in a single field.

Entrepreneurship education teaches the students to anticipate and actively look for errors. In a business school, students also receive coaching from various experts and people with similar backgrounds, and networking opportunities.

A formal entrepreneurial education is more of a blessing for an individual as it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Bhatta holds an MBA from King's College with specialisation in marketing

A version of this article appears in the print on February 3, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.