Over the last few decades Entrepreneur Education & Training (EET) Programs have seen a steep rise, and has been a subject of interest among Governments, Industry Bodies, and Economy & Skill Development institutions across the globe.
All leaders and industry stalwarts have their focus on developing Entrepreneurship Innovation as a key driver for economic growth, alleviating poverty, and improving the overall living conditions of mankind, by supporting Self Employment through SMEs.
Many countries have different education & training programs, while some have been successful, others are still struggling to find the right model to develop and sustain small enterprises.
Although the numbers of such entrepreneurship education training programs continue to rise, there is very little understanding on the effectiveness of these programs, the relevancy of the programs for today’s market conditions, its suitability for the instant gratification seeking generation, and its impact on the people going through the course or their track record post the completion of these programs.
Many of the programs offered today are either skill development programs, or programs that help one set up an enterprise, but what it lacks is the ongoing intervention to skill and upskill the entrepreneurs to help them be able to face the various internal & external business situations that crop up on a regular basis.
EET should comprise of both academic education and real-time training to provide entrepreneurs the skills to support participation and performance in a wide array of entrepreneurial activities.
Both of these models will stimulate entrepreneurship and also support individuals and enterprises that are already engaged in entrepreneurial activities. Beneficiaries should include both potential and practicing entrepreneurs who are traditional students enrolled in degree programs, early school leavers, adult learners, individuals with doctoral degrees, minority groups, women, and rural as well as urban populations.
Entrepreneurship as a stream of education or career option needs to be seeded at a young age and this requires lot of policy changes to be bought into our education streams. Many stakeholders have still not woken up to the reality and are continually advocating the regular form of schooling whether at a secondary level or at a college level. While many large institutions at the Degree level have incubation cells, that alone will not suffice to fuel the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises.
Today, many Secondary school students opt of vocational skill development programs and start their careers at large enterprises as skilled technicians and blue collar workers. While this stream of talent pool is essential to the growth of the industries, we need to take cognisance of the fact that among this young pool of skilled workforce there might be many of them who are capable of becoming successful entrepreneurs, who have to be identified, trained and empowered to become future small business owners.
Broadly, speaking at a global level, Entrepreneurship Education & Training programs can be classified as below:
At each level different kind of programs and interventions are required to harness the potential, and realise the benefits by helping them become true business owners (current & future), which will have a long-term impact of the overall economic health of the country.
But sadly, most of the programs that we come across are stand-alone programs and are suited only for a certain set of audience to fulfill a certain skill or business management gap, and there is no holistic integrated Entrepreneurship Education or Training Program, which caters to all aspects of ideating, starting, and sustaining a successful business today or in the near future.
Any successful EET program should factor in three parameters to have the desired outcome, which is:
- Context of the program: Economic, Political and Cultural
- Participant Characteristics: Profile, Personality, Demographics, Education, Interests, Intentions, Influencers
- Program Characteristics: Design, Delivery, Content, Context, Trainers, Curriculum and ecosystem.
A robust EET Program should adhere to some basic design parameters of the program to benefit the participants and have the desired outcome, as detailed below.
There is a common misconception in our country that a Degree or Master’s in management is good for budding Entrepreneurs. While these programs have their own merits they are mostly limited to equipping the participants with Corporate Leadership capabilities, organization, finance / risk-management, managerial economics, strategic planning and general business management skills. However, a true EEL program should cover Strategic Planning, Sales, Marketing, bookkeeping, entrepreneurship awareness & principles, financial literacy, and socio-emotional skills and other parameters as detailed in the above EET framework.
In our country, while there are a few institutions offering such holistic programs, a lot more needs to be done, to make these scientifically driven programs to be made available to the masses and people in hinterland, where most of our prospective, budding and struggling entrepreneurs co-exist, and are striving to make an impact on the society and economy.
Just holding the Government, Industry Bodies, and associations accountable is not going to solve the problem. The need of the hour is for policymakers to create, cater, counsel, guide, handhold, skill, reskill and take the Micro, Small, Medium business ecosystem on the path of success by implementing holistic and meaningful EEL programs. Moreover, these programs need to be aimed at different levels of Entrepreneurs, given the fact that it can be a catalyst to a lot of pressing demands like employment creation, poverty reduction and innovation.
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The views expressed in this article are the interpretations of the author based on his experience and interactions with the industry and with due credits to: Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs around the World http://dx.doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0202-7