Entrepreneurial skills can last a lifetime
When it comes to adapting to the ever-changing and complex world of work we currently live in, the qualities of entrepreneurs are probably up to snuff. After all, to cope with the demands of startup life, entrepreneurs often need to be open-minded, confident, creative, determined and disciplined, all qualities that are valuable no matter what life form we find ourselves in. .
It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that there is growing interest in developing entrepreneurial skills among young people, with a number of platforms available for young people to put their skills to the test. For example, last year I wrote about the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, which attracted a number of young participants to develop unmanned technologies capable of providing rapid, high-resolution mapping of the oceans.
Similarly, the Hult Prize is a student entrepreneurship competition that attracts participants from around the world who try to come up with creative ideas for society’s most pressing problems.
“If you want to learn more about social entrepreneurship and think you can bring this movement to your school, just apply and we’ll come and help you with whatever you need, from marketing materials, training, a guide and one-to-one tutoring and support to enable them to do much more in their universities,” Nelly Andrade, head of global operations at the Hult Prize, told me this last year.
In the same vein, the Global Grad Show, originating in Dubai, recently celebrated its sixth edition. The competition aims to support innovative solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, social and economic concerns facing society.
They have partnered with around 300 universities to discover innovative ideas from students, graduates and PhDs around the world. Besides the discovery of ideas, the program also provides some support to help develop participants’ entrepreneurial skills so that they can commercialize their idea.
To that end, they also work with local venture capitalists to provide successful applicants with the necessary financial backing to develop their idea further, as well as expert mentorship to add an experienced hand to guide each startup. It is an experience that, according to the organizers, will be very useful to the participants, even if they do not continue their entrepreneurial journey.
The value of entrepreneurship
“I think the whole education ecosystem is facing a huge transformation in the skills needed to be a valuable professional,” Tadeu Baldani Caravieri, director of the Global Grad Show, told me this recently. “Entrepreneurship is a key skill for new graduates entering the workforce today, and more companies are setting up in-house ventures and incubators to support innovation, so it’s extremely valuable, even if they’re not creating a startup.”
New research from the University of Vaasa, however, suggests that once bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, it’s something that lingers throughout our careers.
“Entrepreneurship seems deeply embedded in a person’s identity – even if an individual ends up in gainful employment, the dream of entrepreneurship remains,” says the researcher. “Such longitudinal studies where the same people are followed for almost ten years are really rare in the field of entrepreneurship.”
Desire to undertake
The research explores the development of entrepreneurial intentions and the various factors that affect them over the course of our lifetime, while examining whether specific entrepreneurial education during our formative years can invoke a lifelong entrepreneurial spirit.
“Promoting entrepreneurship is a very important social issue” says the researcher. “Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and general well-being. Students build their own professional identity during their higher studies, and therefore it is very important that higher education institutions support students intending to become entrepreneurs.
The research revealed that it was crucial to include entrepreneurship in higher education. He revealed that our entrepreneurial intentions are generally shaped by both our attitudes towards entrepreneurship and our belief in our ability to succeed as an entrepreneur. These two elements, according to the author, can be reinforced during our student days.
Moreover, the researcher argues that this effort has a lasting impact, with the impetus of our entrepreneurial intentions extending long into our professional lives.
“This is important, because as a general rule, entrepreneurial intentions decline during higher education”, they explain. “At the graduation stage, intentions stabilize and remain almost at the same level in professional life. For this reason, higher education is a particularly important period from the point of view of promoting entrepreneurship.
For this to work, however, the article suggests that all entrepreneurial training requires a proactive approach on the part of the student, as purely lecture-based courses do not seem to have the same effect.
In addition to entrepreneurial training, research suggests role models also play a key role in our interest in entrepreneurship as we age. This can come from our parents, for example, but it’s also important that we have diverse sources of inspiration, as the document points out that men are still more likely to become entrepreneurs than women.
The availability of role models for women is perhaps particularly important, as the paper finds that entrepreneurship education has less impact on the likelihood of women starting a business. Indeed, for men, such training generally reinforces their attitude towards entrepreneurship, while for women, the impact is mainly on their confidence in their own competence.
“It is important for higher education institutions to identify students with strong entrepreneurial intentions,” concludes the author. “They are likely to be future entrepreneurs, and the institute of higher education can support this process of entrepreneurship right from the studies.”