I recently attended a seminar in Boao, China (An event organized by the management of the Boao Forum for Asia - BFA), that debated and discussed entrepreneurship, risk and controls between the Chinese businesses and the state. Yes, China of all places and, I must say, it gave me a lot of satisfaction and awe at the same time on how much the Chinese corporate culture has evolved and matured over the last two decades, and surely in the years to come such a development will be the mainstay of Chinas emergence as the leading economic superpower of the world. More importantly, I felt that the seminars resultant analysis strongly emphasized upon the avoidance of a culture that punishes failure more than rewarding success and that in reality this phenomenon actually has much wider global implications for businesses around the world; especially at home in Pakistan. There exists a grave need in Pakistan to coach the state on practising prudence in its corporate governance and on how to create an environment where budding entrepreneurs get inspired to innovate and feel confident to take risks Also, a time has come to do away with the corrupt, draconian and politically motivated institutions such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which by and large serve no real economic purpose and ironically do more harm than good. Now, no one is advocating against accountability, but only that this domain should be confined to the ambit of judiciary alone (specialists of dispensing justice) and it is up to them if within their ranks they would perhaps like to create separate wings/courts for corporate disputes that are handled by judges with relevant expertise. As we know an atmosphere of fear and coercion is always bad for business since it hampers entrepreneurship and creates a negative preconceived perception about an investment destination as being non-transparent and dangerous Governance institutions that become controversial tend to kill the phenomenon of innovation and risk-taking; thereby not only becoming impediments to any type of investment (domestic or foreign), but also at the same time they tend to set a process in motion where the countrys corporations unconsciously end up becoming the victims of an inward visionary constraint instead of developing a global outlook. In the process the illusion that intrapreneurship instead is the most viable strategy takes root and as a result businesses invariably become solely focused on protecting what they have rather than pursuing growth. The innate priority of preservation - which may well be a rational philosophy - militates against the radical moves that can create opportunities. Which businessmen would really want to take a risk if the consequences of failure would be prolonged imprisonment? And, without a champion, who is there to lead the charge into the unknown? Countries that support a culture, which punishes failure more than it rewards success, tend to become consumed by a negative energy and damaging politics that leaves no optimism in the economy for genuine experimentation. Their hierarchical, centralising tendencies mean originality and initiative are stifled as a matter of course. Many new endeavors can appear dangerous or foolish at first sight and are easy to undermine within a bureaucracy. So the default position becomes inertia. The real entrepreneurs (which in our case should be the main drivers of growth within the small and medium size enterprises -SME) are motivated to do it for themselves outside the comfort zone of the employee universe. I do not blame bright, ambitious individuals for choosing to work inside multinationals, law firms, banks and such like. There they can enjoy security, generous salaries and status - as well as commanding hundreds of staff and having influence over colossal budgets. All much safer than the sacrifice and uncertainty of becoming independent - and probably more in keeping with the middle-class expectations of their parents and peers However, the urge to seek freedom and chase ones dreams is a powerful compulsion. Those who possess it will ultimately embark in the direction of entrepreneurship unless denied or scared away by the state and its policies. If we are to promote equitable growth in Pakistan and one that has a strong correlation with poverty alleviation and reducing unemployment, then the government needs to first take care that it provides the risk takers with a friendly environment where they can take risks without fear and second it has to undertake fresh legislations that allow these pioneers and employment creators to safely assume that they will receive the reward or credit for the fruits of their labor and risk-taking without falling prey to bureaucratic or political agendas. Hope for a better Pakistan lies in unleashing the power of our productive and positive youth by making them believe that if they work hard then there exist opportunities and an environment where they can achieve their dreams. As we saw in the failures of the socialist and communist ideologies, there cannot be equity in reward and the key in fact is to provide people with an environment and in it the incentives to succeed. Anything else means that even the non-achievers expect the same treatment and as a result the national productivity starts suffering a dilution where it ends up retaining those who just show up for work every week but dont contribute kamalmannoo@hotmail.com.