By Shailaja Sanghamitra Thakur
Mizoram, in India’s eastern frontier, offers an interesting case study of the problems encountered while adopting standard development paradigms bereft of sociocultural content. There is general agreement that stimulus for economic development needs to come from a vibrant entrepreneurial class and cannot depend on external assistance. What is the situation in Mizoram? What are the main features of Mizo entrepreneurs? A state with very high literacy, progressive government and a relatively peaceful environment, yet a state where enterprise has still not taken root. What could be the possible reasons for the lack of entrepreneurship in the state? Are standard prescriptions – promotional policies, financial sops sufficient to stimulate entrepreneurship in the state? Are infrastructure bottlenecks, financial constraints, lack of skills the only possible reasons for such a sorry state of entrepreneurship in the state? Or are the problems more deep rooted and ingrained in the value system and socio-cultural milieu of the Mizos? We set out to explore such questions through first hand interaction with Mizo entrepreneurs in the state and try to relate entrepreneurship in the state to the institutional environment, attitudes and cultural norms of the Mizos. Recognising the importance of these elements, we come up with factors that are expected to influence development of entrepreneurship in the state.