Education on entrepreneurship plays a major role in developing entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurship skills and knowledge acquired in school often have important contribution to economic growth. Furthermore, the ever increasing importance in entrepreneurial education and its ability to contribute to job creation and economic growth have inspired many students to study entrepreneurship. The surge in number of students studying entrepreneurship is clear a demonstration that the lessons leant and skills honed in class are being well utilized by students to create economic activity. Following the just completed entrepreneurship class, this essay attempts to explore how entrepreneurship lessons learnt are useful. The particular areas of focus are developing business plans, visits by experts, and case studies, impacts on college students decision to be entrepreneurs.
Importance of Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship is one of the factors that can help countries improve their economies and create wealth. The ability of the entrepreneurs to create jobs, decrease unemployment and create boom in an economy is the reason countries are fostering, encouraging and realizing importance of education on entrepreneurship. Creation of new ventures help in the stimulation of economy, creation of jobs opportunities and driving new economic sector in a country. Many entrepreneurs that start their business after unemployment without previous knowledge in entrepreneurship often fail due to lack of entrepreneurship knowledge, attitudes and skills that are required to make economic sense in a competitive business environment.
Entrepreneurship education, therefore, prepares students to be successful in whatever career they chose to start a new business venture in. Innovation is one of the key elements students are expected to acquire when they study entrepreneurship. Innovation is expected to support students and help them stand out from other competitors, to start up a new Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) successfully with unique ideas. In many countries, SMEs play a major role in contribution to social and economic life, as well as its capability to create jobs and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Impact of Business Plan Learning on Students Decision to be Entrepreneurs
A business plan is a written representation of what entrepreneur intends to do with the business and how it will be done. The process of writing a business plan involves bringing the idea into reality, it involves dealing with the why, who, what, where when, and how much of capital is needed. Learning on how to write a business plan is helpful to entrepreneurs (from the class) in taking deep thoughts about the business idea and how it can be converted into business. Doing so helps in finding areas that needs support and rethinking.
Further, learning how to make a business plan in class helped the students in questioning and evaluating themselves and their innovations before they start the actual enterprise. A business plan gives direction to students, helping them discuss and define where they want to take their business, what they want out of the business and ensures that all the important aspects of the business have been covered. Business plan prompts students to think about the future and dream of success. A business plan will help the students think about what they would do in case the new venture attracts some competitors in their selected market segment.
A good business plan contains a summary of estimated income, cash flow and initial capital required, which helps the students in communicating their ideas to financiers, potential employees, customers, and suppliers. A carefully created business plan provides something that stakeholders can react to, offering a chance for students to use their insight to create a better more successful enterprise. This process impacts on the students decision either to drop out the idea or to go on as an entrepreneur.
Impact of Visits by Experts on Students Decision to be Entrepreneurial
Visits by entrepreneurial experts are designed to initiate and encourage entrepreneurial thinking for effective response to challenges in the market. These experts usually focused their talks on issues such as finances, competition, business environment, regulations and business strategy. In addition, they focused on entrepreneurship; how to create a product that would be responsive to market needs, how to deal with competition and how to create social benefit out of entrepreneurship.
For example, Sydney Strabala of the underground society, a movement of creative community that is working towards a common agenda of cultivating culture of love and art, through self-expression, inspiration and collaboration (underground Society 1), gave a lecture on entrepreneurship. She advised that for one to be an innovative entrepreneur, he/she must first find their true purpose in life. She said that, once a person has found his/her purpose in life, they can achieve as much as they want as they can remember their purpose in life. She insisted that the most important quality in an entrepreneur is the ability to make timely decisions. She gave an example of herself as the founder of the underground world which was according to her the best decision she made.
She explained that she faced lots of challenges at the start; she made all the arrangement for Joshua Tree Retreat, invited 60 friends but only 30 turned up. She reiterated that every person who attended that retreat was treated equally and offered equal chance to participate in order to feel at home. Additionally, she reportedly encouraged, complemented and encouraged people to work as a community. However, she faced some challenges; the people she thought were her fanatic supporters never showed up at the seminar. That served as a lesson that one cannot force people to be their followers, however, one needs followers who are just as passion as they are. Lastly, she advised that one should have a mission statement to inspire others using collaborations and self-expression. Sidney Strabala shared her experience, she provided examples of best practices that students may emulated to help them make decision to be entrepreneurs.
The second guest speaker was Maceo Paisley. Maceo narrated to students how he badly wanted to be a music artist; however, he did not have enough money to shoot his music video. He moved to Los Angeles where he stayed at a friends store as he worked for American Apparel. Later he founded a socks manufacturing company. Meanwhile, he still had the desire to shoot his music video. He approached American Apparel for a deal to sponsor his music in exchange of appearing with American Apparel outfits in the music video. The deal went through, American Apparel sponsored him. However, he appeared wearing his own socks as a marketing strategy.
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The students learnt a lot from Maceos experience. The students leant that opportunity recognition is in itself an innovating act. In Maceos case, the recognition of the opportunity was not sufficient, thus, he had to create own opportunity by approaching American Apparel for a break-through deal. He helped the students appreciate the effects of entrepreneurial decisions making, furthermore, being an entrepreneur who had succeed from scratch through a resilient mindset, he was seen as an inspirations for students to join entrepreneurship.
The third speaker, Taylor Conroy, was a not for profit social entrepreneur. He used to give charity donations to children in Kenya to enable them access books and library services. Conroy created Change Heroes, which is a leading peer to peer technology platform that has enabled Conroy and his team to raise four to five times more than their normal contributions. He shared with us a story about the five motivators of giving: group mentality (giving), tangible outcome (visual representative of their giving). He narrated how he made a video with brilliant graphics to show how he was building libraries and schools in Kenya using a $3.33 a day. He made this video to help him entice his friends to join the fundraising platform on their own terms.
Many charitable people are now donating through this platform, thus, his girlfriend has also decided to fundraise to build a school in India. He explained the five motivating factors of giving, stressing that students can also change lives through such charitable platforms. He ended his speech with He ended with a quote by Margaret Mead, Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. His speech made social entrepreneurship attractive to students, on the simplest level, students got attracted to what social entrepreneurs were doings and how they were doing it. As a result of that, many students decided to join social entrepreneurship affirming that studying entrepreneurship has effects on students decisions to join entrepreneurship.
Impact of Case Studies on College Students Decision to be Entrepreneurs
Case studies helped learners in accomplishing experience-based learning because when students analyses case studies, they put themselves in the shoe of the protagonist generalizing situations and developing alternative decisions. Students have the opportunity to read, analyze the case situation, and introduce their own ideas as well as ideas from other students. In addition, there is an opportunity for the teacher to give directions and theories to be used in this analysis. Most case studies are either simple or complicated for, example; the students analyzed a case study based on Drop Box, a relatively young Tech enterprise that is rising but with lots of challenges. For case study to be used by students, it must contain adequate information that can allow analysis to take place.
The case study discusses Drew Houston, a cofounder and CEO of Dropbox, the challenges he faced when developing the applications, how he overcame those challenges through hard work, creativity and innovation. Dropbox is case study in startup success. However, before that success, they overcame big problems that seem to affect startups everywhere. Through hard work, diligence and strict adherence to the startups perfection policy, they pecked business policy on a future of business communications and converted web visitors to loyal customers. This case study impacts on college students decision to be entrepreneurs because, like any other business, it had problems at the beginning, however, Drew Houston being a perfect entrepreneur and manager created departments to solve design problems, engineering problems, marketing problems and management problems.
Like any other enterprise, Dropbox saw a problem for computer users and solved it an efficient manner. They sourced and secured funding, saw opportunity and dreamt of mainstream success. Though the whole idea was difficult to explain-it was a new idea whose time had come. This case study assists the students analyze their potentials as entrepreneurs and the potential of their ideas. Using the Dropbox case study, the student can state the problem to be solved, the goals to be attained, alternative means of achieving these goals, selecting the economic theory needed to solve the problem, then decide the best alternative that leads to attainment of most goals. Hence, this case study equips college students with information that will help them make decision to join entrepreneurs.
As evidenced in the concluded class, the impact of learning entrepreneurship on young peoples decision to join entrepreneurship has never been fully explained before, despite the increase in entrepreneurship programs. This discussion contributes to this discourse by examining how introducing speakers with entrepreneurial background, case studies and educational videos materials to students can impact positively in making decisions to join entrepreneurship. Students do learn from school how to source for funds for startups. To achieve maximum impact, the learners should stay with mentors and teachers as close as possible.