It is a well known fact that Chemistry is everything and Chemistry is everywhere around us but the youth in the field of chemistry not getting employed. generally one will think that youth Chemists should be hot cakes in the labor market since they have roles to perform in almost all areas of human endeavors. From Chemistry entrepreneurship point of view, youth Chemists with great ideas, with a proper training on entrepreneurship, are supposed to be job creators. It is however, doubtful if institutions responsible for the training of Chemists have integrated entrepreneurship as an integral feature of their Chemistry subject curriculum rather than taking entrepreneurship as a general course or a compulsory course.
The result of this is that we see students graduating with higher degrees in Chemistry even with potentially commercial research projects but lack of entrepreneurial skills or know-how to convert them into commercial or marketable products with a view to getting individual financial benefits as well as providing opportunities for national economic to develop.
Chemistry entrepreneurship therefore, involves the process of converting innovations in Chemistry research into marketable products for commercial benefits. With increasing awareness in Chemistry entrepreneurship, there is a paradigm shift from conducting basic research whose results end up in an academic journals but today, youth Chemists and scientists in general are thinking of taking their work beyond publications by patenting and commercializing them for economic gains. Therefore, achieving transformation of novel science into successful business is the key to the long term profitability of the chemical and related industries of world.
This goal requires young researcher who possess a critical combination of both technical and entrepreneurial skills. This is because activities of commercialization are quite different and are almost opposite to activities in the chemical laboratories. Increasingly, such individuals are playing a pivotal role in today’s knowledge-driven economy by enhancing existing businesses and by setting up new ventures themselves. Scott P. Lockledge, a PhD degree holder in Inorganic Chemistry, and a Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Tiptek, a company. This company manufactures the ultrahard and ultrasharp probes for atomic force microscopy applications. Lockledge says that “Founding a company gives you the opportunity to create an enterprise, be it large or small, in which you know you are personally making a difference” and that “working in a large company can feel like being a small gear in a large machine.” Lockledge explained further that he was motivated to become an entrepreneur by the desire to control his own destiny. He noted that “when you work for someone else, your boss’s priorities dictate your work-life and lifestyle,” whereas as an entrepreneur, you can decide when and where you work. Lockledge also added that “Inventing and innovating is fun, and the opportunity to do so in a large company setting is increasingly rare. The Universities, all over the world are now going through a “second revolution” in which the socio-economical development is incorporated as part of their mission. Science and knowledge play a key role in the development of the society. In promoting chemistry entrepreneurship, the School of Chemistry in conjunction with the Nottingham University Business School, USA is running a programme on M.Sc. Chemistry and Entrepreneurship. The course aims to provide students with an appreciation of the interrelationships between fundamental research and its commercial exploitation while the students will also be able to take advantage of the course?s flexible structure to develop an understanding of specific areas of modern Chemistry and to become fluent in the financial, marketing and managerial aspects of modern business. Another objective of the course is to make students to acquire the technological and business background to enable them to make a significant contribution to today?s chemistry-based, technology-driven economy. Also, the Department of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA runs the Chemistry Entrepreneurship Program (CEP), a two-year professional M.Sc. in Chemistry Entrepreneurship where the students study state-of-the-art Chemistry, practical business, and technology innovation while working on a real-world entrepreneurial project with an existing company or the student’s own startup. The CEP also helps connect students with mentors, advisors, partners, funding sources and job opportunities. Chemistry World Entrepreneur Award In recognition of chemistry entrepreneurship as a discipline, and profession, as well as to promote and encourage Chemistry entrepreneurship, the Royal Society of Chemistry, has instituted an award, i.e. Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year. This is an annual award valued a cash prize of ?4,000 given to individuals who demonstrated creativity and vision, driving chemistry innovation to commercial success for their businesses. Professor Paul Workman of the Institute of Cancer Research received the 2012 award based on his work as a scientific pioneer and serial entrepreneur whose numerous commercialized discoveries and academic research led to his founding two successful chemical companies: Piramed Pharma and Chroma Therapeutics The award for 2013 was received by Professor Chad Mirkin of the Northwestern University, USA based on his scientific and academic achievements involving spherical nucleic acid (SNAT) nanoparticle conjugates while Professor Tom Brown of University of Oxford received the 2014 award for pioneering research on nucleic acids which was successfully commercialized.
Young Scientists typically have passion for science, not business; becoming an entrepreneur therefore, requires learning new skills, taking risks and speaking or learning new language or the vocabulary required of an entrepreneur. Scientists also need a basic understanding of the elementary financial structures including basic understanding of balance sheets, cash flow statements, financial ratios and their interpretations and general accounting principles to run business effectively as well as a working understanding of legal topics such as business structures, contracts, liability, and intellectual property; these involve leaning a new culture. Judith J. Albers, noted that Scientist who wants to be an entrepreneur must provide answer to the following questions as a way of personal evaluation of their business ideas.
· Is there a market need?
· Do you have solution to the market need?
· Does anyone else have the solution?
· Can we make serious money here?
· How close are you going to market?
· Do you have a team that can take it to the market?
· Do you have a credible business plan?
· How much will it cost?
· Is this something you really want to do?
· Is this the right time in your life?
Albers also offers the following suggestions or pieces of advice to scientists who want to become an entrepreneur:
· Understand the market and where your technology fits
· Be willing to take risk.
· Talk to people who have done this before and build support network.
· Surround yourself with excellent people that you trust.
· Don’t overlook students when you are setting up business teams.
Steps to take in Starting a New Business The following are some identified steps to take in starting a new business; the steps are however, not listed in particular order of occurrence (Oyeku, 2008). Make up your mind as to whether you want to be an employer or an employee. Read up materials on entrepreneurship. Do a thorough evaluation of yourself to knowing whether you can be an entrepreneur. Decide on the type of business ownership. Conduct a thorough research into various windows of investment opportunities without necessarily limiting yourself to a particular area. Select two to three out of the various options of investment opportunities. Get investment profiles on the selected options (if available). Narrow down your choice to one option for a start. Conduct a personal research into the industry to becoming knowledgeable in the industry (e.g competition, raw materials, packaging, machinery and equipment, process technology, etc) Prepare a feasibility report (you can engage a professional but get involved in the preparation). Develop a Business Plan (an extract from your feasibility report). Adopt a name and register your company. Decide on business location. Design your company/product identity package (trade mark/logo, letter headed paper, business card), brochure (information pamphlets), etc. Open a corporate account. Discuss with financial/funding institutions. Develop record keeping/accounting procedure. Contact suppliers of machinery and equipment, raw materials, packaging materials, electricity, water etc. Acquire necessary inputs including building construction/rent/lease. Acquire necessary training. Recruit labour. Locate your market. Conduct trial production. Register your product (if applicable) Open your doors for business.
The situation of unemployment in youths is indeed alarming. The graduate unemployment problem has generated several other socio-economic problems in the world. The most potent way out of this unemployment problem is to prepare those kind of youth scientist who can use technological entrepreneurship to develop a virile MSMEs sector. This will help the economical growth of nations.
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