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Entrepreneurs see Opportunities: Are we Encouraging our Students to see Opportunities

Author Geraldine McGing, Philip McGovern and Dr Pauline Connolly
Abstract Ireland has gone through a period of phenomenal change over the last two decades. The country has developed from a period of high unemployment in the 1970s / mid 80s to economic success. In the last year the country has found itself in the midst of a recession that transcends many industries. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, (GEM), 2007, the percentage of people who were either thinking of going into business or had just started a new venture slid substantially in Ireland, Europe and the US last year. Rebecca Harding, executive director of GEM, said the fall in house prices had a particular impact in the US because people felt they had less of a financial cushion to support a business risk. "It has been difficult for people to think that they have the freedom to borrow a bit of money off their house to start a business", she said. The report, which analyses levels of entrepreneurship in 42 countries, found substantial declines in the proportion of people involved in early-stage start-up activity in several of the world's richest nations. Enterprise education is a process involving a series of stages and a number of stakeholders who need to be an active part of the process. The central stakeholders are students, teachers (trainers), the educational institution, the awarding bodies, and employers within the business community. Enterprise education should encourage the growth of new businesses. De Faoite et al. (2003) found that entrepreneurship education provided for the integration of a variety of business subjects, the promotion of improved decision-making skills and an increase in technology transfer between education establishments and the market place, thus creating improved synergy and added value between both entities and the potential to add value to other non-business and technical programmes. The need to broaden enterprise education outwards has also been endorsed by the European Commission (2003) and Galloway et al. (2005). Galloway et al. (2005) suggested that a 'cross disciplinary approach' to enterprise education can influence a range of industry sectors, including the arts, science and technology disciplines. Hytti and O'Gorman (2004) in their assessment and evaluation of a number of entrepreneurship programmes found that the better or more successful programmes were those that had the ability to integrate learning across the general educational experience of the student and those introducing enterprise education into other courses. Enterprise education should contribute to the development of a range of skills, including the ability to innovate and to provide leadership, which pays dividends for the individual and the economy in any employment context. This research paper was exploratory in nature. Observation and systematic interviewing, case study methodology was the most suitable for this research in order to understand the relationship between entrepreneurship education and enterprise development. The sample included lecturers, heads of faculty, and college presidents across the entire island of Ireland to examine the method in which educators are teaching their students to think entrepreneurially.
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2009
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