The recent startup weekend at the College of Science and Technology might just be the beginning of a culture that encourages much-needed entrepreneurship while building skills and a conducive environment for youth who are planning to pursue a career charted out for innovation and out-of-the-box ideas.
It is a well-known fact that Bhutan has a much-coveted public sector with number of vacancies falling far below the number of applications that pour in every year from wannabe-civil servants that comprise mostly university graduates.
With increasing numbers of graduates hunting for jobs and the civil service overburdened to the hilt, we can only hope to absorb them all in alternative sectors like the private sector. But what we need is more than employment.
We need creators of employment and this can only be possible if more people venture to start up. This means youth who are seeking employment should try to be their own masters. The venture can start small but grow into an elaborate company or organization that brings similar-minded individuals together. And there can be nothing more dynamic than a master mind of bright heads connected by a similar thread of ambition, creativity and zeal to work and produce.
We are at an age when collectivism has killed creativity. We need innovation and ideas to redefine the meaning of creativity. And this is not impossible. We saw this at the startup weekend where more than 60 college students participated. We saw that it was possible at a microscopic level. The challenge is to replicate the feat at a bigger, national level.
While we know anything is possible provided there is a will, we also know that bottlenecks to startups and investments in Bhutan range from lack of funding and capital to shortage of skilled labor, lack of access to market and cumbersome paperworks.
All these should be looked into. We cannot start a culture of entrepreneurship without first putting specific frameworks in place to facilitate the works. The authorities should make funding windows available, remove complicated formalities and provide access to cheap but efficient labor. Often, the startups involve Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) so laws pertaining to FDI should be relaxed.
We have a pool of young talents and it is always good not to categorize them into ruts. Give them freedom to think, to create, to fly. Their minds are their greatest asset and should make life not only fulfilling for themselves by giving them an avenue to earn and create but also serve the society by promoting employment opportunities and ideas that will make the world a better place to live in.