A large proportion of Bhutanese youth living in rural areas suffer from a lack of jobs and inadequate post-secondary education. With a lack of skilled jobs in remote areas, many of these youth remain jobless and rely on financial support from family – often migrating to the cities with significant social problems that inhibit the Bhutanese goal of Gross National Happiness. Entrepreneurship can be a viable and sustainable career path for these youth, but they currently lack the entrepreneurial motivation and knowledge to pursue it. In response, the Government of Bhutan, through the Royal Education Council reached out to ERI for help in understanding this challenge and developing appropriate educational programs.
This deliberate application of entrepreneurship as a national solution to a significant social challenge makes Bhutan a remarkable and unique opportunity to study the mechanisms by which entrepreneurship can transform a society. The resulting research project, begun in 2012, has resulted in many academic publications and a wonderful opportunity for TRSM student research assistants to participate in a unique international research collaboration. But more importantly, it has already provided educators and policy-makers in Bhutan with vital information to inform their development of actionable strategies for increasing entrepreneurship among this at-risk youth.