Entrepreneurial education

In the past, large organisations were safe havens for employment. On the other hand, this has changed as organisations shed more management layers and outsource more jobs. Thus, people need to develop skills that will work across a wide range of businesses and industries. Employees need to be capable of creating their own jobs, eg skilled entrepreneurs who can commercialise ideas, develop new markets and ventures, etc. At the same time technology makes it easier to start a new venture. In addition to having entrepreneurial skills, people need to have the right attitude, eg capacity for hard work, hunger to succeed, high risk appetite, ability to operate under stress, perseverance, mental strength, embrace uncertainty, happy to disrupt markets, create better value from scarce resources, etc.

"...surviving and thriving when you have no money left in the bank and the end looks near, is a skill few possess. Taking a small idea and having the courage and guts to build a world-class million-dollar business is not something you can read in a textbook and copy..."

Patrick Grow as quoted by Tony Featherstone, 2015

"...innovation and entrepreneurship are quintessentially about experimentation, trial and error, and learning in the real world. You cannot develop those skills in a classroom..."

Terry Culter as quoted by Tony Featherstone, 2015

Entrepreneurial education is a new area for most tertiary institutions that are risk averse by nature
How to evaluate a course on entrepreneurship

1. Know your brand (what type of entrepreneur, eg start up, corporate, social, technological, etc do you want to be? Which institution excels at the different types of entrepreneurship?)

2. Education level (What do you want to learn from the course? Some vocational centres are better at teaching you how to start and run a small business than universities)

3. Entrepreneurial ecosystem (What else does the education facility offer like incubation programs, access to funding and other support services?)

4. Teaching quality (what are the backgrounds/experience, etc of the teachers/lecturers, eg academics only, researchers only, pracademics (academics who have started and run a business), their specialties, etc)

5. Course structure (look for courses with a wide range of specialist entrepreneurship subjects or have the scope to take other electives, like technology options, etc.. Does the course offer hands-on, real world experience, etc)

6. Research (as the best programs are usually underpinned by strong research, investigate research capacity. Also, it is a good sign of commitment and being abreast of latest trends)

7. Alumni (a strong alumni program gives access a great network of contacts)

8. Qualifications (if qualifications are important, doing an MBA that provides an entrepreneurial specialisation might be more suitable than doing entrepreneurship degree)

9. Overkill (consider a lean approach, ie learn quickly and cheaply, get into a market, see what works and where there are skill gaps.)
NB There is still an argument about whether entrepreneurship is a discipline in its own right or a subset of management education!!!!

There is a trend in universities' management courses to link with the workplace in the "real world", ie students study live problems, consultancy projects with organisations, internships, employer-related assignments, formal mentoring from senior executives, etc.


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