Entrepreneurship education: A mechanism for engaging and exchanging with the small business sector

Matlay, Harry, Hynes, Briga and Richardson, Ita (2007) Entrepreneurship education: A mechanism for engaging and exchanging with the small business sector. Education+ Training, 49 (8/9). pp. 732-744.


Purpose; – The focus of this paper is to highlight the synergies and mutual benefits associated with a range of entrepreneurship education initiatives for a combination of internal and external stakeholders.; ; Design/methodology/approach; – The paper provides a description of four entrepreneurship education initiatives in operation at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Detail on the objectives of the initiatives, the content, delivery, assessment and benefits of these initiatives is provided.; ; Findings; – Entrepreneurship and enterprising activity are widely regarded as instrumental for economic growth, for balanced regional development and for the creation of jobs. Educational institutions need to ensure that graduates are capable of acting in an enterprising manner in the workplace either as an entrepreneur or as an intrapreneur in paid employment. This double objective can materialise through the provision of entrepreneurship education, within either a business or a technical course. Additionally, these same programmes can also be an effective mechanism for the provision of targeted training programmes for skills enhancement in the owner/manager and the creation and facilitation of linkages and working relationships with the small business community. Involvement in technology transfer and industry‐based research activities also provides benefits to the small firm.; ; Practical implications; – The paper presents challenges for educators and educational institutions on how they perceive and address the needs of their stakeholders by extending the traditional paradigm of what constitutes the role of an educational institution. The need to engage with external stakeholders in programme design and delivery requires commitment by educational institutions and requires educators to change their knowledge and teaching perspective. The findings have implications on how entrepreneurship education initiatives are designed, delivered and assessed to meet the needs of different stakeholders.; ; Originality/value; – This paper and its conclusions add to the debate on the importance of linking educational institutions and industry, especially the small firm sector, by suggesting a number of methods of collaboration which mutually benefit a number of stakeholders.

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