Entrepreneurialism, like any other distinctive ability, such as intellectual creativity, or even soccer prowess, shares two facts with them all. The first is that signs of the talent are evident at the age of puberty. The second is that, given mentoring to the right degree, the talent can be taken right up to the cutting edge of the subject before the age of 30 years. All six of the largest IT businesses in the world right now were established by sub-30 year-olds.
This is when the last remaining part of the brain — the frontal lobes — becomes fully developed. Peak performance before the age of 30 doesn’t come often in these days of high competition. But it rarely comes afterwards when there is literally no more space for net neuronal development — that is new ideas and techniques.
Given that there has been least governmental interference in the development of league soccer than entrepreneurialism or scientific research since the 19th century what has it done that gives soccer in this country such a high reputation?
Firstly it has a formal and informal scouting system that enables pretty well every youngster with real talent at puberty to be identified. Secondly — at least in the formative years of league soccer in the 1920s — talented players at puberty were enrolled as apprentices in clubs and thereby given early experience with mentors. What with the advancement of the school-leaving age this doesn’t apply any longer unfortunately, and soccer clubs have had to increasingly recruit real talent from abroad.
Even more so, the school-leaving age has had even more unfortunate effects on the crop of entrepreneurs and research scientists that we used to have 100 years ago, postponing and even largely extinguishing what ought to be available given the more equal quality of good schooling at the junior level within the whole population rather than the highly variable standards in secondary education.
This is why most entrepreneurs of large successful businesses come from private schools in this country — 7% of the population — where there is far less government interference — and, indeed, about half of the leading home-grown research scientists.
A ittle bit down the road a bit from Kathmandu to Simhara can be seen wooden juggernaut wheels, 12 ft diameter, still being made for religious processions. The last time we had such juggernauts in this country was in my home town of Coventry in the 1400s.
Much as one would like to see Nepal come into the 20th century — as with about 180 other Third World countries it’s not likely to happen for a century or three yet. The scientific research scene — and hence innovations and hence entrepreneurs — will remain crowded out by that in a small cluster of advanced countries.