Education & Training
Entrepreneurs are key to the development of SMEs
Reinforcing entrepreneurial education in schools and education institutions will have a positive impact on the Caribbean economy. As well as contributing to the creation of business start-ups, entrepreneurship education will make young people more employable and more ‘intrapreneurial’ in their work within existing organisations, across the social, public and private sectors.
Recent studies in Europe have found that investing in entrepreneurship education is one of the highest return investments that can be made. European research shows that students who have participated are 3 to 6 times more likely to start a business at some point later in life than those who do not receive entrepreneurship education.
A key competence of ‘entrepreneurship’ is an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. Developing the mindsets, generic attributes and skills that are the foundations of entrepreneurship can be complemented by imparting more specific knowledge about business according to the level and type of education.
Entrepreneurship education should start in school and seek to prepare young people to be responsible, enterprising individuals who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to achieve the goals they set for themselves and to live a fulfilled life. In addition to equipping young people with the skills to start a business, entrepreneurship education is also about encouraging creative thinking and promoting a strong sense of self-worth, initiative and a tolerance of failure.
Education for entrepreneurship should typically include some of the following elements:
building those personal attributes and cross-cutting skills that form the basis of an entrepreneurial mindset and behaviour (creativity, sense of initiative, risk acceptance, self-confidence, independence, etc.);
raising the awareness of students about self-employment and entrepreneurship as possible career options;
using practice-based methods, where students are involved in project work and/or in activities outside the classroom (linking them with the business world or with the local community); and
providing basic business skills for self-employment or self-management, and knowledge of how to start and develop a commercial or social venture successfully.
The goal of entrepreneurship education is to help students build and acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to act in an entrepreneurial way. To achieve this, entrepreneurship education has evolved into a concept for both the content and methods of teaching and learning. Entrepreneurship can be approached not only as a course or subject, but also as a theme and a method that can be embedded in all subjects at every level of education.
Entrepreneurship education should not be confused with general studies of economics or business administration, as its goal is to promote creativity, innovation and self-employment, as well as the acquisition of hands-on, operative capabilities.
Entrepreneurship education is more than preparation on how to run a business. It is about how to develop the entrepreneurial attitudes, skills and knowledge, which should enable a student to ‘turn ideas into action’.