The role of information or data in business is critical. Entrepreneurs or business managers need a lot of knowledge and information to make decisions and recognize business opportunities. They can acquire this knowledge and information in different ways.
A successful business relies on the right combination of organizational resources working together in a dedicated effort to penetrate and achieve leadership in the marketplace, and information is such a resource.
The identification and use of information play a large role in the entrepreneur achievement of competitive advantage. Entrepreneur that most efficient in gathering, processing, and distributing information as well as using it to make better business decisions will enjoy an edge in achieving success.
Youth participation is a critical driver of the nation’s growth as a key source of capable talent to support the human capital needs of the economy.
The youth population comprises those in the 15- 40 age group, which has grown from 11.1 million in 2005 to 11.9 million in 2009 constituting 41.5% of the population. In 2009, the number of youth employed stood at 7.1 million (Tenth Malaysia Plan, 2010).
The government also organises entrepreneurship programme in schools, public universities and through various public youth organisations aim to cultivate entrepreneurship potentials among the young people (Ninth Malaysia Plan, 2006).
These initiatives are enhance in the Tenth Malaysia Plan. To spur the number of business start-ups and encourage a culture of entrepreneurship in Malaysia, the Government will enhance the SME-University Internship Programme.
Under this programme, university students with specific skills will be assigned to a business for two to three months to gain work experience and to update knowledge of business practices.
The Government will also promote entrepreneurship to young Malaysians by sponsoring business plan competitions at schools and universities, introducing business-related curricula, and funding public campaigns that showcase successful Malaysian entrepreneurs.
The target is to see 2,000 new businesses launched by students and graduates by the end of the Plan period.
Information: A Crucial Resources
Information is a crucial resource in gaining a sustainable, competitive advantage for modern business enterprises (Shokane, 2003). In a study by Okello-Obura et al. (2007), they noted that it was crucial to determine business information needs as part of a functional requirement in order to design an information system.
According to several literatures, entrepreneurs possess particular personality traits, socioeconomic characteristics, and particular nature of business enterprise activities and enterprise development process (Bolton & Thompson, 2004; Bird, 1989; Bjerke, 2007; Shane, 2003; McClelland, 1961; Maimunah Ismail, 2001; Noor Rahamah Hj. Abu Bakar et al., 2007, Chan Kim Ling et al., 2006; Md Nor Othman et al., 2005).
Youths are also argued to possess some characteristics similar to the ones possessed by adult and matured entrepreneurs (Chigunta, 2001; Schoof, 2006). The identified characteristics are said to distinguish the entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur and Information
In the context of employment generation the three terms- Income generation, Self-employment and Entrepreneurship are often used interchangeably.
Income generation is the initial stage in the entrepreneurial process in which one tries to generate surplus or profit. They are often taken on part- time or casual basis to supplement income.
Self-employment is the second stage in the entrepreneurial process and refers to an individual’s fulltime involvement in his own occupation.
Entrepreneurship is the terminal stage of the entrepreneurial process wherein after setting up a venture one looks for diversification and growth. An entrepreneur is always in search of new challenges.
An entrepreneur is not a routine businessman he might not have resources but he will have ideas. He is innovative and creative. He can convert a threat into an opportunity. An entrepreneur can leave a perfectly running business to start another venture if he so desires.
The entrepreneur can be seen as someone who initially lacks full knowledge about a potential opportunity, and who thinks it worthwhile to gather information to improve his knowledge.
The entrepreneur has an incentive to design efficient strategies to collect information on an opportunity. The information collection process does not simply lead the decision of whether to exploit it. Each implementation action can itself generate information as a by-product, so that the sequence of actions involved in exploitation is itself a key characteristic of the information collection process.
The information process of an organization is roughly equivalent to the nervous system of a human being. It flooded every part of the organization, as well as sensitive key areas of the environment.
The better the information an organization gathers about its performance, its capabilities, and its environment, the better the organization will perform and the more effectively it will be able to change (Lawler et al., 2006).
Recognizing the importance of having an effective information management will not be an option in the future; it is a requirement. Information is the basis for understanding in a firm. In many industries, information is becoming the most important factor in differentiating successful firms from unsuccessful firms (David, 2005: 301).
Recognizing business opportunities means gaining advantage over competitors. But there are many other factors in the environment which influence this competitiveness.
Various studies indicate that entrepreneurs tend to recognize opportunities and succeed within areas in which they have prior knowledge. Studies on entrepreneurs utilizing business planning, market orientation & environmental scanning processes show better firm performance and as a result those firms with a better understanding of its customers, competitors, and environment are less likely to fail.
Role of Entrepreneur in Economic Development
The industrial health of a society depends on the level of entrepreneurship existing in it. A country might remain backward not because of lack of natural resources or dearth of capital but because of lack of entrepreneurial talents or it inability to tap the concealed entrepreneurial talents existing in that society.
Entrepreneurs historically have altered the direction of national economies, industry or markets- Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan to name a few.
Entrepreneurship starts a chain reaction when the entrepreneur continuously tries to improve the quality of existing goods and services and add new ones.
 Skerbinjek, “The Role of Information for Recognising Business Opportunities.” Organizacija. 41.4 (2008): 145.
 Christensen, P. and R. Peterson. “Opportunity Identification: Mapping the Sources of New Venture Ideas.”Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research (1990).
 Shane, Scott and Frédéric Delmar. “Planning for the Market: Business Planning before Marketing and the Continuation of Organizing Efforts.” Journal of Business Venturing 19, (2004): 767–785.
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