Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)
Action Space for Strengthening entrepreneurship - Entrepreneurship skills and culture
Adopt a programme-driven approach
In policies, programmes and instruments, structures appear to be imposed and very few initiatives truly originate in the communities or as a result of the communities’ needs. To inject dynamism into the entrepreneurial system, there must be room for new, private initiatives to emerge. If the present dynamic is not reversed, there is a danger that the new generation of entrepreneurs and support staff will depend systematically on central Government funds for their survival. This is not much better than enriching a system of employment insurance or social assistance. The Government should not become the depository for a series of programmes introduced to deal with potential problems.
Build an entrepreneurial culture
Building an entrepreneurial culture involves encouraging a dynamic based on sustainable collective enrichment. It starts from refocusing the general view of entrepreneurship on the work of small firms and their importance, and changing the legal system quickly, so that the market can operate within the rules. It is important to involve the economic community in an extensive campaign to clean up the corruption currently flourishing within its ranks. This requires accountability for all those involved. The answer may be individual or collective entrepreneurship throughout the country. Entrepreneurship is a powerful way of achieving social and economic democracy.
Cultivate an entrepreneurial culture
Encourage champions, successful initiatives and project proponents wherever possible, and capitalise on their success. It is possible to introduce a process that will encourage successful organisations to teach, exchange and extend their projects into other regions or other organisations. This would not only speed up the knowledge transfer process, but would also help forge contacts between stakeholders and take advantage of the experience accumulated by model initiators.
Moreover, introduce new National Entrepreneurship Contest involving a wide range of entrepreneurial players and recognising a variety of different entrepreneurial projects. This would help capitalise on the entrepreneurial successes of recent years.
Furthermore, use the media more intensively to enhance the value of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs and reposition their role in the current economic and political transformation; inform (educate) the population and the entrepreneurial community through ongoing activities in the entrepreneurial system.
Finally, organise events at which stakeholders can gather, discuss and make collective progress. This will speed up the learning process and allow the existing system to reach maturity more quickly (e.g. conference; convey good practices; website).
Incorporate entrepreneurship education into the educational system
Especially in the vocational schools, which have a more practical orientation, either by presenting a range of entrepreneurial models and inviting teachers to use the models that most resemble their own lives, so as to avoid culture shock (e.g. the social economy, cooperatives, environmental micro-firms, etc.) or by introducing different teaching methods that allow students to experiment and learn by solving problems. These methods should encourage creativity, autonomy, tolerance for risk, mutual support and social responsibility, individual commitment and so on.
It is important to find innovative ways of involving the scientific community and introducing entrepreneurship into the universities as quickly as possible, e.g. by supporting university research in order to create a community of interest and a national movement in university circles towards the development of entrepreneurship knowledge.
It may also be possible to create an entrepreneurship and small business university.
Develop entrepreneurial and managerial skills
There are different levels of learning, and teaching methods must be adjusted accordingly. The first level is knowledge development. This can be done through a variety of channels, including the media, conferences and so on. There are a host of subject areas that would help enrich the entrepreneurial toolbox: one-off and continuous training, conferences, continuous information, distance education, etc.; good stewardship practices; business ethics; marketing products and services; foreign markets; foreign languages; how to sell, negotiate and get to know customers; case opportunity; accounting and finance; regulations; and etc.
The second level of learning involves the development of attitudes and skills: continuous training, practical cases, project testing, etc. It has been shown that entrepreneurs, because of their specific profile, would rather learn by starting a real-life project, preferably their own. It is therefore easier to motivate entrepreneurs by offering continuous interactive training that will allow them to develop their own projects.
The third level of training involves experimentation. This allows entrepreneurs to test their acquired knowledge and use their new skills. Experience is obtained through action and over time, but there are ways of speeding up the process, such as sharing experience through mentoring, coaching and networking. Fostering the development of contacts by setting up groups of entrepreneurs with shared business interests. Even if they are supported by the Government, entrepreneurs will be unable to meet the challenges they now face if they do not have opportunities to talk to their counterparts in other firms.
International Learning Models