WITH more Asean youth looking to entrepreneurship as a career, corporations need to create a conducive environment for "intrapreneurship", said panellists at the RISE Corporate Innovation Summit, a two-day meeting in Bangkok gathering experts from the public and private sector and startups to explore new trends in innovation.
"Intrapreneurship", a recently-coined buzzword, is the movement by large organisations to give their employees the freedom and support to practise entrepreneurship.
A quarter of youth in the major Asean economies say they want to be business owners in the future, a survey by the World Economic Forum and Sea Limited has found. In contrast, only 10 per cent of youth want to work in large local corporations.
Santitarn Sathirathai, group chief economist of Sea, an Internet company with businesses in gaming and e-commerce, said people who want to leave their corporate jobs to pursue their own ventures tend to care about the socio-economic impact of what they do, and want greater flexibility in their work environments. A key challenge for corporates is thus to attract and retain such young talents.
"How do we create an environment where they have some freedom and flexibility and some ownership of the products? The intrapreneurs - how do we foster them, instead of forcing them to go out and do something by themselves because they don't think they have enough freedom or flexibility to do the things they can really have ownership of?" he asked.
Sam Tanskul, managing director of Krungsri Finnovate, said the firm "truly understands this point". He noted that banks such as Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank are spinning off companies in order to create environments with flatter hierarchies, emulating startups.
Krungsri Finnovate is the first of such spin-offs by Krungsri, a large bank in Thailand which has Japanese bank MUFG as its parent. Finnovate invests in startups.
"We really need to understand how this new generation works, and what their lifestyles are like," he said.
Though corporations may lose talents as a result of people leaving to start their own ventures, they can nevertheless play a part in supporting the entrepreneurial spirit.
Greg Li, head of Asia at blockchain technology firm Bitfury, said education is important, and that corporates could do more to raise awareness among young people about, for example, what to consider before taking the entrepreneur track.
"The second (thing to do) is to provide an environment for innovation, so whether it's (through) accelerators or incubators, or by encouraging people who are leaving school to take a gap year to experiment, the aim is to provide them with the ability to innovate and be creative.
"That is something that the corporate world can help foster in the next generation."