Micro/Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) play a crucial role in reaching the objectives of the economic development Strategies of many countries. They are considered crucial engines for growth and job creation, but their competitiveness is affected by a limited exploitation of international opportunities and innovation prospects.
Economies need entrepreneurs as they are the life blood of a business orientated society. Enterprises started by entrepreneurs add to the competitive spirit of the economy, because existing enterprises are forced to compete with the ideas and methods of newer firms and devise more efficient business strategies.
In today’s global economy it is vital for enterprises – in particular micro and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – to expand their horizons and develop relationships with enterprises in other countries.
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.
Any development of entrepreneurship skills through education should seek to prepare people to be responsible, enterprising individuals who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to achieve the goals they set for themselves. In addition to equipping 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.
The goal of entrepreneurship education is to help people 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 therefore 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 self-employment and entrepreneurship; 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.
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’.
As part of entrepreneurship education The Foundation for Entrepreneurship Participation has developed CREATE, which is a self-assessed “Enterprise Assessment Tool for Entrepreneurs” designed specifically for budding and existing entrepreneurs to enable them to test their competences and determine their “entrepreneurial skill level deficit”, and as a consequence to decide in a structured way any further training they may require.
The tool is made up of 12 Sections, 52 Sub-Sections with 104 questions on which entrepreneurial skill levels are assessed. Sections include Cultural Awareness; Finance Management; General Management Skills; Human Resources; Creativity; IT Skills; Legal Expertise; Logistics; Manufacturing Management; Marketing; Overseas/International Experience; and People Skills.
This self-assessment tool is an important element in the development of entrepreneurial education as it will determine the existing skill level of budding and existing entrepreneurs – and can assist policy makers and training institutions to develop appropriate training opportunities to meet the “competency deficits” identified by individuals.
CREATE is a unique self-diagnostic tool, developed with P4ACE, that allows evaluation of an individual’s competencies as an entrepreneur. Upon completion of the assessment, immediate feedback is given on current capabilities together with an individualized report that explains that persons strengths, identifies training needs, and compares current competences against those in your Region and the rest of the World.
Regions include: Africa, Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, European Union, Middle East, The Caribbean, Oceania and South America.
In addition in a simple ‘one-click’ process an individual can access The Foundation’s database of training course providers who can offer a range of courses that will help meet any “competency deficits” identified.
Dr Paul Quantock is the Chairman of The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation, as well Chairman of The Foundation for European Initiatives, Senior Partner at European Consultancy Services, Director of EU15 Ltd (an outplacement and training firm) and Director of P4ACE (a communications research consultancy).
He has been assisting organisations of all types throughout the world for 42 years. Helping them to build their capacity and also offer general help and advice on EU matters (including securing grants). In 2006 he, together with influential Indian figures from Government and NGOs circles, created the “India Healthcare Training Think-Tank” to advise on the future training needs for India in the healthcare sector. Dr Quantock was the Joint Chairman.
In 2013, with assistance from the UK Government, he created The Foundation for Entrepreneurial Participation. He has been recognized by the Governor and Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, USA for his International work and was awarded their highest honour, that of Kentucky Colonel and has also been appointed by the European Commission as one of their European Project Evaluation Experts in the field of vocational training.