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The document discusses entrepreneurship education and the extent to which it is important. The paper is separated into two parts. In the first part the meaning of entrepreneurship education is explained in order for the reader to see what this term means. In the second parts some facts, supporting the thesis that entrepreneurship education is important, are presented. Those facts are carefully selected from different articles in order to convince the reader of the importance of entrepreneurship education.
What is entrepreneurship education?
Entrepreneurship was first mentioned when Adam Smith wrote about economics in the 1600s (David Burnett, 2000). There are a lot of disputes in the literature about the definition of entrepreneurship. Because there is no shared definition of entrepreneurship, this affects the purpose, content and the scope of entrepreneurship education.Bechard and Toulouse, 1998 explained entrepreneurship education as:
“a collection of formalized teachings that informs, trains, and educates anyone interested in participating in socioeconomic development through a project to promote entrepreneurship awareness, business creation, or small business development".
Whether entrepreneurship can be taught and learned provoked a lot of discussions. And if it can be taught how this should be done. There were also disputes should entrepreneurship be taught to any student or just to those that are potential entrepreneurs. The fundamental reason why should entrepreneurship be part of the education system is that some principals of entrepreneurship can be developed through the learning process. It is also expected that this education will not only develop the skills of an entrepreneur but it will also increase the motivation of the students to become entrepreneurs when they grow up. The general purpose of entrepreneurship education is to change attitudes and motives, but transformation of skills and knowledge too. Common attitudes connected to entrepreneurship contain autonomy, initiative, pro-activeness, and responsibilities, while skills consist of creative problem solving, perseverance, and response to challenges (Tracey, Paul; Phillips, Nelson,2007)
The importance of Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship education is extremely important nowadays for the economic progress, because of its connections with private and public organizations, small and medium enterprises, as well as large companies in national and international markets. The activities of entrepreneurship increase innovation, economic wealth and growth, employment, and consolidate the competiveness of the firm (Sorino,Domingo Ribeiro,2009)
The article of Kaufmann Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership called “The growth and Advancement of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education” shows a huge amount of statistics about the size of small business education and entrepreneurship programs. This report states that the increase of collegiate entrepreneurship programs seems to be more than outstanding. In 1970 there were only 16 programs, but now more than 2000 universities and colleges are offering some kind of entrepreneurship training. A lot of money are being invested in entrepreneurship programs and in faculty chairs (Safranski,Scott R.,2004)
A recent statistics presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (2001) showed that two third of the students in college are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs in some point of time in future. Small businesses play an important role in the economy of the United States. According to a information from the U.S. Census Bureau (2001); U.S.Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001); and U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (2001) there are around 26 million small firms on the territory of USA., that represent 99.7 % of all employer firms. In order to better prepare students for the changing labor market some institutions are offering entrepreneurship classes outside business schools also. For example in engineering, environmental science, geography, etc. This kind of student preparation has become very important because researchers are predicting a business environment dominated by small firms and opportunities for self-employment. Now when entrepreneurship is part of the basic business curriculum students will be better prepared for a changing environment. Before 25 years most of the engineers worked for big or federal government corporations and there they were valued mainly for their technical skills. But in recent years most of the engineers go to work in small companies that were newly established. This kind of organizations look for more than technical skills. They expect their employees to behave as intrapreneurs, who know how to contribute with ideas and innovations to the business environment (Shinnar,Rachel;Purett,Mark;Toney,Bryan,2009).
For Robert Duvall, CEO and president of the non-profit oranization based in New York that is encouraging economic education in schools (NCEE), the courses in entrepreneurship and other tropics in the economic area is less about teaching how to begin a business and more about making right decisions. According to Duval small businesses are of great importance for the American Economy (Liz Webber, 2007).
According to Solomon, Duffy and Tarabishy (2002) the essential objective of entrepreneurship education is that it is different from the typical business studies. The Entry of a Business is very different activity than managing a business. Entrepreneurial education should work with the uncertain nature of business entry. Entrepreneurial education should include skill-building courses in negotiation, creative thinking, new product development, leadership and presenting to technological innovation. Also important subjects for entrepreneurial education are sources of venture capital, idea protection, awareness of entrepreneur career options, etc. (Kuratko,Donald F.,2005)
A number one priority for governments that want to inspire an innovative and enterprising society is the development of entrepreneurial skills and gaining entrepreneurial knowledge. Moreover employers more and more frequently require educational institutions to produce graduates with practical skills that can be applied in the real-world. Business plan competitions provide a number of benefits for the ones that participate, like development of entrepreneurial skills, boost self confidence and risk-taking tendency, allows access to mentors, etc.
All over the world, there is an increasing attention on encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation as a way to encourage economic health. For example in Australian, during the past decade, there have been strong advices from the federal government for the people who provide education to put more programmes that develop the entrepreneurial skills of the future business managers of Australia. In the year 2000, the National Innovation Summit expressed their wish for bigger integration of entrepreneurial skills developments into the education system (Russell,Roslyn; Atchison, Mary;Brooks, Robert, 2008).
The European Union has also put entrepreneurship as one of their priorities. EU believes it is one of the most important factors for enhancing the prosperity of its member countries. The necessity for entrepreneurial practices is easy to be noticed in the Lisbon European Council's goal to develop the Union into very competitive and active knowledge-based economy on the planet, which is competent of carrying on economic growth, producing new and better jobs and making social coherence. Also the EU Employment Guidelines puts entrepreneurship on the priority list of the education system. The European Commission's Green Paper Entrepreneurship in Europe adopt fostering entrepreneurship and encouraging the right mindset, the skills of a entrepreneur and sense of career opportunities as an entrepreneur.(Kyro, Paula,2006)
Small and medium enterprises play a vital role in supporting the national growth. A big number of SMEs rest in the construction industry and this argue the important role of entrepreneurship education in the courses that connected to construction management. It is necessary for universities to adopt entrepreneurship education in their construction management programs (Mastura, Jaafar;Abdul Rashid Abdul Aziz, 2008).
The development at the same time of ICT and media has transformed the landscape, giving us a chance to make greater access and scalability for entrepreneurship education. Government and academic institutions should support the development of technology as a device for education by creating the needed ICT infrastructure.(Richard Elliot, 2009)
In order to discover the importance of entrepreneurship in the South African higher education institutions an e-mail survey has been conducted. In the survey was included academic staff that were teaching or researching entrepreneurship. The results from the survey show that the entrepreneurship education in South Africa is still developing, but it is seen as important in promoting to a higher rank the profile of any institution and there is bigger and bigger commitment in entrepreneurship. The teaching and assessment manners are done through traditional classroom delivery, while entrepreneurship research is seen as less demanding than other management branches (Co, Mary Jesselyn;Mitchell, Bruce, 2006)
You can find entrepreneurs at every level of an organization and in every type of job. The most important concepts that entrepreneurship education teaches are generating ideas, measuring feasibility and determining risks connected with ventures (Tarra Dugan, 2007)
According to all this facts that were stated in the document it can be said that entrepreneurship education's importance is increasing day by day. We saw that there is a lot of attention towards this subject all over the world. The document discussed the examples from Australia, South Africa and the countries from the European Union, which all prove the great extent to which entrepreneurship education is important.