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Distributions

Distribution in social networks refers to the pattern of connectivity between nodes. It is not unreasonable to assume that, especially as overall network size becomes larger, the likelihood that every node in the network will be directly connected to every other node becomes that much smaller. Similarly, it is reasonable to assume that the patterns of disparate connections throughout larger networks will appear more and more irregular. Researchers are interested in discovering what we can learn about collective action from analyzing these patterns. The concepts covered in this article include bridges, structural holes, and centrality. The related notion of distance is the subject of its own article, later in the series.

Bridges are connections between sets of nodes (subnetworks) within a network that would otherwise not be connected to each other, or that would be connected through such a long path that the nodes might not even be aware that the connection exists. A simple example would be the case of friendship groups among high school students. A group of students in grade nine is not likely to share friends in common with a group of students in grade twelve. However, if one of the students in the grade nine group was the younger sibling of one of the students in the grade twelve group, then that sibling relationship would form a bridge between the two groups.

Sociologist Ronald Burt suggested that bridges in social networks could be viewed as spanning structural holes, basically empty spaces in the network topology. Empirical research has demonstrated that managers who constitute nodes at the ends of bridges within organizational networks tend to have earlier access to information, are exposed to alternate viewpoints, have the opportunity to act as gatekeepers, and, as a consequence, have greater career success. Burt has suggested that filling structural holes is a means of building social capital. Extending these ideas to the market, identifying and filling structural holes provides the ideal opportunity for entrepreneurship.

Centrality refers to the extent to which a particular node plays a central role in a network. It is measured in three ways. Degree centrality is a measure of the number of nodes that are linked to a focal node. Closeness centrality describes how short the paths are between a focal node and all of the other nodes in a network. Betweenness centrality measures the shortest path between any two nodes in the network that pass through the focal node.

Recent research by information scientists has shown that social science disciplines play a much greater role in knowledge communication and interaction among disciplines that do disciplines in the so-called hard sciences. Based on co-citation analysis of aggregated journal articles, the findings demonstrated that social science disciplines have a greater number of ties to other disciplines (degree). They are more directly linked to a wider range of other disciplines (closeness), and they are more likely to act as a bridge between disciplines (betweenness). Interestingly, journals in the field of public administration demonstrated the greatest centrality.

The Place of Entrepreneurship Competence in Business Success and National Development

The pivotal position occupied by entrepreneurship as a sustainable tool for rapid economic growth and development of a country cannot be over emphasized. This is evident in several available literatures written by scholars on the subject matter but a closer examination of these literatures show tilted emphasis and concentrations on some common areas relating to entrepreneurship.

Increasing competitions, rapid and constant changes in internal and external environment of business activities, and the significant influence of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the economy generally have resulted in a growing interest in studying the role of factors stimulating successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

Though, entrepreneurship, have played and can play more of these positive roles, is not an easy vocation as it does not always guarantee a hundred per cent triumph. There are several critical areas of knowledge and factors that must be acquired and put in place to enable entrepreneurs achieve a measure of business success and consequently contributing to national development.

Several researches have been conducted in areas of entrepreneurship competency, entrepreneurship success and national development.

Most literatures relating to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success tend to unquestionably argue that most entrepreneurial fiascos are essentially due to inadequate financial resources (e.g. Adeyemo and Onikoyi, 2012). Such research outcomes have no doubt influenced government policy direction in many developed and developing countries of the world through the creation of financial agencies and provision of financial resources to business units for the sole purpose of boosting and sustaining entrepreneurial development for rapid national development.

The above, policy strategy unfortunately has led to the continuous negligence on the part of the government, scholars and business operators in these countries to considering other vital factors like entrepreneurial competency which equally contributes to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

The current literatures on the subject do not provide sufficient explanations to the role general and/or specific competences play in successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. This has thus, made the relationship between entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurship success to be important topic within organizational literatures. The above fact is evident in several available studies done by scholars on the subject matter (e.g Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr, and Ketchen, 2011; Mitchelmore and Rowley, 2010; Inyang and Enuoh, 2009; Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, 2013 e.t.c).

Many of these studies identified entrepreneurship competences like communication competence, financial competence, marketing competence, business ethics competence, social responsibility competence, decision-making competence and leadership competence as catalysts to entrepreneurship success and national development. We shall be duelling on our discussion more on these entrepreneurial competences to see how they individually contribute to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

As said earlier at the beginning, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success play strategic roles in economic growth, economic transformation and development of the society. These roles are noticeable in the numbers of jobs created, the level of wealth generated and the rate of indigenous entrepreneurship promoted in several countries around the world.

There is no doubt that government of the world have put great efforts in promoting entrepreneurship development, business success and economic development through provision of financial resources directly or otherwise through various agencies and under different terms and conditions, this fact prompt one to ask a question of high concern.

Why are there still high rate of business failure around the world? Without much thinking, the failures are due mainly to entrepreneurial incompetency of those concerned with making the daily business decisions of these businesses. Many business failures can be said to be and are largely attributed to lack of entrepreneurial competence.

Most of the businesses failed unknowingly even before there are started because of lack of one of the required competence; project evaluation and management. This does not therefore; make it surprising while entrepreneurship competence has often been identified as the missing link for successful entrepreneurship, business failure and consequently crawling national development and in some instances stalled economy. What then is entrepreneurship competence?

Before we proceed to defining and explaining entrepreneurship competence and understand the contextual meaning in which it is employed in this writing with simplicity, it will be very imperative to first and foremost comprehend what entrepreneurship is.

Entrepreneurship may be defined as the process through which something new and valuable is created through the dedication and effort of someone who takes on financial, psychological, and social risks and seeks personal satisfaction and monetary rewards (Hisrich & Peters 1986).

European Commission, (2006) defined Entrepreneurship as a dynamic and social process where individuals, alone or in collaboration, identify opportunities for innovation and act upon these by transforming ideas into practical and targeted activities, whether in a social, cultural or economic context.

Critical assessment of the above two definitions summarized the concept of entrepreneurship by stressing creation processes and performance of targeted activities. Entrepreneurship as defined above is not necessarily limited to the roles and characters of entrepreneurship involving creativity, innovation and risk taking, and most importantly, the ability to plan, manage projects and to turn ideas into action in order to achieve set objectives for successful entrepreneurship. But, it requires tact, art and competency to achieve winning edge success.

Entrepreneurship success is a multidimensional phenomenon. It includes multiple criteria of financial characters like profit maximization, revenue maximization, dividend maximization as in the case of shareholders etc., and non-financial characters for example larger share of market, customer satisfaction, perpetual enterprise existence etc. To achieve success in any of the following sections, one must be competent in his/her chosen area of enterprise.

Entrepreneur competence can therefore be defined as the cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills which an entrepreneur must acquire or possess to achieve an outstanding performance and optimize the business objective(s) amidst several constraints. Every job/role has a skill and competency requirement. Every career like entrepreneurship draws on the competence of an individual. For every entrepreneurial undertaking one needs certain competencies. Entrepreneurship competence is simply the skill which an individual needs to do an allotted entrepreneurial job successfully.

Entrepreneurship competence constitutes a cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills, which an individual acquires and uses together, to produce outstanding performance in any given area of entrepreneurial responsibility. Some of these competences may be general and some peculiar to the chosen areas of enterprise. We may describe competences to mean abilities and skills, for a teacher or a performing artist, for example, it is the skill to communicate that plays a decisive role in their effectiveness besides, of course, their knowledge. For a craftsman or an artist, it is the creativity and skill in the chosen craft.

In like manner, entrepreneurial competences are critical success factors required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and of course national development. The subject thus, deserves solemn attention in entrepreneurial discourse and not to be neglected. There is no substitute for entrepreneurship competence for successful entrepreneurship, not even abundant financial resources can. There is no doubt as explained, entrepreneurial competence play important role in any successful entrepreneurial activities.

The following are some of the necessary entrepreneurial competences required for successful entrepreneurship and rapid national development. We shall be discussing below 8 of the basic essential entrepreneurial competence for successful business.

1. Time Management competence: Time is an economic good; it is an economic good worthy of effective and efficient management because of it scarce nature (Dan-Abu, 2015). Time is unique, unlike any other economic resources (input) such that it has no wing but can “fly”. Time is irreplaceable and irreversible. Time lost is lost forever and can never be recovered, and by that I it includes, time lost doing insignificant things. This is why few things are more important to an entrepreneur and for successful entrepreneurship than learning how to save and spend time wisely. One major causes of entrepreneurship failure in relation to time management is doing too many things at the same time in an inefficient manner.

To achieve more and be successful in the day to day running of an enterprise, the entrepreneur must be thoroughly equipped with time management skill. Investing and practicing effective and efficient time management skill is a profitable investment for every entrepreneur, since every efficient business act is a success in itself. It therefore means that, if every single act of entrepreneurial activity is undertaken with consistent efficient one, the enterprise as a whole must be a success.

Time management involve among others practices, commitment to work contract and taking personal pains to complete a task on schedule, this will promote confidence and loyalty on your business/organization and will thus led to winning of more contracts from clients again and again; prioritizing of task based on urgency and importance in relation to a project activities and delegating of task to subordinates.

Some common time consuming activities include slow decision making, inability to delegate, unnecessary interruptions, failed appointments, delays while traveling, poorly conducted meetings, procrastination, etc.

2. Communication competence: Communication is a two-way process characterized by sending and receiving of messages through a channel between sender and receiver. This may be verbal or non-verbal for example, telephone call and procurement proposal respectively. Good communication skill is an indispensable management tool for a successful entrepreneurship. It is through communication that procurements are made, business products/services are sold, business objectives are discussed, employees are recruited etc.

Communication competence is very important to the survival and success of every organization, this is regardless of whether the organization is a profit or non-profit making, private or public enterprise, involved in provision of services or sales of products, online or offline business etc. Communication competence is so vital to successful entrepreneurship that it goes beyond inter-personal communication; of course this too is indispensable to the success of the entrepreneur’s business.

A winning communication competence in an enterprise will help in disseminating circulars, minutes, letters and memos effectively reaching every intending individual, team or unit in an organization. It also facilitates efficiency through the saving of cost involved in sending and receiving the messages on the part of both the organization and the employees. Communication competence in enterprising organizations will facilitate large turn out and compliance when meetings are called or directives are given to be followed respectively.

Communication competence in like manner can speed up the time taken to make merchandize procurement in period of high demand; this can help the concerned firm increase profit during the period of shortages and high demand.

Developing and employing good communication skill in an organization will definitely lead to two fold success; the firm will be able to benefit from internal interactions among persons, departments and units, and externally benefit from interactions between it and the business transacting partners (outside world). We can therefore say in summary that, there is no business without communication.

3. Human Resources Management Competence: The relevance of human resources management competence to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development cannot be over stressed. Though materials and capital are of equivalent importance to the entrepreneur, they are inanimate and unemotional; they demand no understanding of human requirements and inspirations for their effective utilization unlike human resources which need good and competent human resources management skill by the entrepreneur to successfully utilize it to optimum level in productive activities.

Human resources of some enterprise are the most difficult to obtain, the most expensive to maintain and the hardest to retain. Without the acquisition and practicing of effective and efficient human resource management skills, the capital resources earlier mentioned will not be effectively used. Generally, small and medium scale enterprises often managed by an entrepreneur do not have the luxury of human resource department that can interview, hire and evaluate employees.

Most of these decisions taking regarding the above are the responsibility of the entrepreneur and perhaps one or two other key employees. This is good why human resources management competence is important for successful entrepreneurship and national development. As the firm grows, there will be need to hire new employees; entrepreneur must follow important procedures for interviewing, hiring, evaluating and preparing job description for new employees. Instituting an effective organizational culture is best implemented when an entrepreneur is competent in human resources management.

4. Marketing Management Competence: The success of every enterprise involves selling of products/services; this is largely enabled through good marketing management, it is therefore imperative for an entrepreneur to have good marketing management skills.

Ebitu (2005:196) concord, that marketing is crucial to the survival and growth of any organization. It is through marketing that revenues used for bills settlement, assets acquisition, pursuing of business diversification and expansion objectives, settlement of dividend and tax liabilities and social responsibility projects are generated. The entrepreneur in developing good marketing strategies and marketing management competence must be conversant with and employ the four marketing mix of place, promotion, price and product.

5. Adherence to Business Ethics Competence: Every business has its ethics. Ethics deals with moral ability and obligations. It can be defined as a system of rules and principles that define right and wrong, good and bad conduct and the ordering of values in undertaking business activities in society. Business ethics is sometimes called management ethics, and it is the application of ethical principles to business relationships and activities.

Business ethics is becoming a subject of intense concern for society, which is now demanding that organizations should operate responsibly and uphold very high ethical standards to improve the quality of life of the people. Entrepreneurs, in light of the above, need to be competent in dealing with different public policies, trade union’s established standards and norms and customers’ concerns for high quality work for successful entrepreneurship.

6. Financial Management Competence: Every business enterprise requires capital with which to start and continue with its operations. Capital here means two things; money (finance) needed to start and operate the business and assets representing the resources provided by owners (equity) and creditors of the business (liabilities).

Mbat (2001:3) defines financial management as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the firm’s financial resources. Finance is the blood at the centre of any successful business enterprise, one of the features common to successful entrepreneurs is their ability to source for funds for their enterprise. The funds mobilized internally or externally have to be properly managed to ensure that at any point in time, there is adequate funds to cater for the day to day running of the enterprise.

Most entrepreneurial failures are due to the inability of the entrepreneurs to effectively distribute and manage funds. For example, an entrepreneur needs to acquire knowledge on financial management issues like anticipation of financial needs for the enterprise, fund raising sources, cost of raising fund from external sources, acquisition of funds, allocation of funds in order to yield optimum result through identification and maintenance of correct proportion of the firm’s finances in areas of savings, insurance and investments policy of the enterprise.

The important of financial management competence to achieving entrepreneurship and business success cannot be over stressed. We have seen many at times when financially buoyant “start-ups” crumble down to pieces after successful take off because of financial management incompetence of the management, caused by tied up funds as they watch helplessly as the business dive into ocean of failure due to lack of reserve funds to successfully execute contracts or perform business operation.

Leadership Competence: leadership can be defined as the ability to influence and motivate other person or group of persons towards achieving a shared a set objective. Leadership competence is also another important single factor determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast moving, free global market economy.

According to Ilesanmi, (2000: 187) successful entrepreneurs are successful leaders; they have power and motivate the entrepreneurial venture. The ability to produce the necessary leadership is the key determinant of achievement in all-human activities, the quality of leadership is therefore a decisive strength or weakness of any successful entrepreneurial endeavour.

Successful entrepreneurship requires creative, unique leadership qualities and personal styles. It involve seeking opportunities, initiating projects, gathering the physical, financial and human resources needed to carry out projects, setting goals for self and others, directing and guiding others to accomplish goals. Effective leadership is therefore a powerful tool required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. Good leadership competence helps an entrepreneur to turn his/her business vision into reality.

7. Social Responsibility Competence: The establishment of every business enterprise is backed up by the profit motive. It is the profit that drives entrepreneurs to starting businesses, motivate shareholders into buying shares and private capital owners into investing their capital in a company. The profit motive though leads to the production of goods and services; the entrepreneur’s business venture also has the responsibility to embark on certain projects within and outside its operating environment as part of its social obligations.

Businesses should not only be concerned about the quality of goods and services they produce to generate profit but must also pursue policies that sell their enterprises by contributing to the quality of life in their operational environment. The business operators have responsibility to protect and improve society. Their actions during production and marketing should not in any way endanger the community or society. Entrepreneur can earn more profit by displaying high degree of corporate responsiveness, which is the ability of an organization to relate its operations and policies to the environment in ways that are mutually beneficial to the organization and the society.

The entrepreneur for example needs to make contribution to community development, product safety, employment generation, ethical business practices, and contribution towards educational activities in the community of operation. An enterprise for example can award scholarships to students, create opportunity for apprenticeship training and so on. Undertaking some of these social responsibilities may endear the entrepreneur’s enterprise to its host community; enhance his image and social standing, and consequently contributing significantly to his business success.

8. Decision making Competence: Decision making is very important to the success of an entrepreneur, this skill is at the core of every successful entrepreneurial activities. Decision making is the process of selecting a line of action from available alternatives. This selection process may be very difficult especially when the available alternatives are numerous or the decisions to be made or chosen from are risky ones.

Many potential entrepreneurs have difficulties in bringing their ideas to the market and creating a new business because making a decision is one thing and making the right decision in a given circumstance is another. The actual making of effective entrepreneurial decisions has resulted in several new businesses being started throughout the world by those having this decision making skill necessary for successful entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur makes decision on a daily basis and therefore has to acquire adequate knowledge and skills in decision making to enable him/her make the right decisions.

Most of the entrepreneurial competences have been studied in isolation and with little effort to recognizing their mutual relationships to entrepreneurship success and business success. In a study aimed at explaining entrepreneurial competences in order to rank them according to the level of their importance to successful entrepreneurship by Edgar, Dirk and Danny, (2005) shows that, entrepreneurs on one hand considered decision making the most important competence while scholars in their different writings are in support of identifying business opportunities competence as the most important when embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.

In another study aimed at explaining how general and specific managerial competencies relate to the business success of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, (2013) proved that general and specific managerial competency is significant predictor of success in running a business. They further stated that specific managerial competency demonstrated to be a mediator between general competence and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) success.

In a similar study conducted by Rosária de Fatima Segger Macri Russo and Roberto Sbragia, (2010) who opined that the operational responsibilities of a project manager (planning and controlling) are in stark contrast to the characteristics of an entrepreneur. In light of the above contradictory viewpoint, their research which was directed at assessing whether managers showing entrepreneurial characteristics are associated with more successful projects or not found within their study sample an empirical evidence supported their hypothesis that the possibility of a given project having a successful outcome increases with the enterprising tendency of its manager.

After critically examining the necessary entrepreneurial competences required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and rapid national development. It will be important to quickly add here that no single or sets of entrepreneurship competence are more important to the other. It is only through the combination of the competences that an entrepreneur can achieve maximum business success.

How to Reconcile Technology and Sustainable Living Through Social Entrepreneurship and Networking

Going Social in a Digital World is building a New World Order according to most contributors across the web, Is this really happening? What Kind of World Order?

Is it one where a social revolution in the Middle East blasts the gas price in the USA overnight?

Is this a ‘Good’ World order and does this interest the man of the street the one struggling to pay his bills, keep food on table and send his kids to school?

How do the demographics compare with internet users and Facebook users? (all data from internetworldstatistics)

World Population as of December 2010: 6,845, 690, 960

Total Internet users as of December 2010: 1.966,514,816 ( 28.7% of the population)

Total Facebook users as of December 2010: 517,760,460 (7.6% of the world population)

Facebook penetration as of December 2010: 28.8% (number of Facebook users out of the Internet users

So is the largest Social network a worldwide phenomenon? Yes with 7.6% of the population.

Does this worldwide phenomenon affect the daily living of the world population? When only 7.6% of the world population is using it.

How to reconcile the number of Facebook users and the mobile phone sales in 2010: 1,500,000,000, both reflect individual decisions to communicate…

Together we can make a difference.There are no other solutions since most of the government around the world are incapable of looking after and guaranteeing the future of their citizens. This is due only to problems in the existing political systems and government which will not and cannot change at the pace the world is changing. Revolutions will keep happening until all dictators are replaced by legitimate leaders who invariably will grow apart from those who gave them their positions.

Having lived for the last 25 years in 8 different countries across 3 continent and worked and visited many more with my job in shipping I witnessed the birth over the years of a true community awareness which knows no boundaries. This is due first to the vastly improved media coverage of world events by National and International TV networks relayed at the macro level by the social networks.

I recall visiting shop owners and importers in Yemen and Jordan during the first Gulf war keeping them informed on how we were going to deliver their goods coping with the exhaustive control of the US Coast Guard on all the shipping activities in the Red Sea.

At that time,I had many meetings in the 1990’s, which spread from the comfortable Singapore Office to the hills of Sri Lanka with the tea Growers to miniature shops in Yemen, from drinking a ‘Singapore Sling ‘cocktail in a fancy Hotel, to sharing one tea cup for six at a business meeting in Yemen with clients wearing traditional daggers with AK 47 on their lap.

There is one thing I learned, not speaking the local language in many occasions, is that people all over the world share the same concern and priorities for their family, i.e: safety, housing, education and a future for their children in a clean environment.

The purpose of this article is to build resources and awareness around the issue of improved sustainable living across various communities around the world.Improved because we will add a fourth R to the traditional three R’s.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, we will add Reunite.

If sustainable living is about being able to live together on one planet only, it is unthinkable to believe that individual actions spread over almost 7 billions individuals can produce a significant result. It is now possible with the renewed global community awareness to mobilize true and lasting resources from Companies, organisations and individuals.

Our project for an improved sustainable living will go through basically three stages aimed at building a portal of sustainable living covering all the subjects of our daily lives from housing to health, leisure, personal development, etc… In a word the Yahoo of sustainable living.

First step: Exposure and Attention

We need contributors and columnists willing to comment and analyze World global and local events and their relevance with sustainable living primarily, not from the spectacular angle like most media which attention does not last more than a week on any world event…once it is over. Regular columnists will be remunerated commensurately with the profitability of the blog; this is logic. Today the blog has no financial resources, yet.

Attention and traffic around the blog is the lifeline and the key to achieving the goals of improved sustainable living.

Second Step: Commercial support

We will seek support and advertising from companies which operate and produce in a sustainable way only. Companies where the ROI is as important as the ROH, (return on human) or EROI (environmental return on investment). This step is unavoidable as the blog is not an NGO or a non-profit organisation and needs profit to achieve its mission.

The blog needs resources to achieve the next stage.

Third Step: Social entrepreneurship

At this stage, with its own resources and collaborative investment, (an investment project where many small shareholders have contributions from $10 to $10,000), the blog/website will develop projects guided by the principle of social entrepreneurship. The projects will embrace all the values of social entrepreneurship with a 100% reliance on internet technology to create those values and a constant aim at linking the non digital communities and individuals to the exponential growth of the numerical world, which is our World now.

The gap between developed digital countries and developing digital countries is significant and alarming in terms of internet users, but it also reveals intense social networking for those who have access, as the numbers below shows:

Latin America Internet users: 10.4% of World Population with a 35% Facebook index (number of Facebook users compared to internet users)

Oceania/Australia internet users: 1.1% of the World Population with a 54.5% Facebook index

Africa internet users: 5.6% of the World Population with a 15.9% Facebook index

One cannot built and keep any community interest without relying on the social networks life Facebook, My Space, Linkedln, Plaxo, Twitter etc… and we will rely on them for our social entrepreneurship projects.

Project example:

Teach and train individuals living in under privileged communities to develop from home sustainable income trough digital work. This will be done trough a combination of sponsorship and business contracts with all the companies who will remunerate and benefit from the activities. Only companies operating with true sustainable policies will be selected.

The digital work will cover all aspects of education and training for all the members of the household, as it is not enough that one family member alone has access to the digital world and economy.

It Is Time for Schools to Get to Business

Our schools today have a laundry list of skills they must teach, and standardized tests students must pass, but underneath these testable items lay the more important real-world skills and attitudes that must be developed in order for our students to be successful citizens in the global economy. As educators, it is pertinent that we prepare students for an unknown and uncertain future, provide opportunities for creativity and innovation, foster perseverance and grit, and develop empathy for others, all while teaching students to communicate, to collaborate, and to think critically.

Fortunately, there is a slow-growing trend in education that provides opportunities to nurture these very skills. It is entrepreneurship education. Steve Mariotti, founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, states in an article entitled, Why Every School in America Should Teach Entrepreneurship, “… entrepreneurship education empowers young people to make well-informed decisions about their future, whether they choose to become entrepreneurs or not,” and they learn to use their assets to create businesses or jobs and to be productive citizens in their community. In other words, it provides them with the skills to not only start their own businesses, but more importantly to think both creatively and ambitiously, so they can be active agents in their career path. Florina Rodov and Sabrina Truong state in their article, Why Schools Should Teach Entrepreneurship, that another key benefit to teaching entrepreneurship is that it aids students from all socioeconomic backgrounds because it creates opportunities, guarantees social justice, ingrains confidence, and stimulates the economy. Additionally, they discuss how historically building your own business has allowed minorities, women, and immigrants to create better lives for themselves and their families. With research and first hand experience illustrating the benefits of teaching entrepreneurship, making it a more widespread part of the school seems a necessity.

As more schools jump on the bandwagon of entrepreneurship, it is becoming easier for districts, schools, and teachers to access resources, learn from one another, and begin to integrate it into their curriculum. For students at the elementary and middle school level, Bizworld is an excellent resource whose mission is “to empower children to become 21st century thinkers by awakening their entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring them to become the architects of their futures, and giving them the confidence to transform their communities.” This 20-year-old organization is used across America and in 100 countries around the world. They provide the framework for helping students create and run a business.

For older students, the opportunities available through entrepreneurship expand to meet their growing maturity and independence. For example at Nueva School in California, students are guided to create their own ventures and encouraged to “go big.” Kim Saxe, the director of Nueva’s Innovation lab, shares in her article, Empowering Students Through Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking, how teams learn to identify needs, invent solutions, collaborate, build a business model, create financials, write a business plan, and pitch their idea to a panel of venture capitalists. Since starting the program in 2011, Saxe has seen how the skills learned have aided students to think outside the box, to develop their innate skills or talents, and to become more empathetic to the needs of others. Two example businesses that have been started by Nueva students are shipping water containers to an African country so they can carry the water from the source to their village and providing emergency appendectomy kits to underdeveloped countries The program has grown so much they are unable to accept all of the students who show interest in the class, and Saxe states, “we have clearly hit a chord with today’s youth.”

But there is no need to create your own program as Nueva has done, there are resources available to help teachers of middle and high school students get started. These Kids Mean Business is a website that discusses how to integrate entrepreneurship into existing high school curriculums. It offers suggestions for implementation as well as lesson plans. Another great resource to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom is Junior Achievement which connects K-12 teachers with community entrepreneurs who will come into the classroom to implement the JA curriculum. A third resource is Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which brings entrepreneurial training to high school students, especially from low-economic or at-risk environments. So, with the growing number of resources available and the abundant need for our students to develop the skills gained through entrepreneurial education, it is apparent that teaching entrepreneurship is not only well worth the effort, but necessary for the students of today to be prepared for the future of tomorrow. It is time for our schools to get to business.

Take Your Business to the Next Level With Entrepreneurship Development

Whether you are an internet newbie or have been around the block a time or two, there is always room for entrepreneurship development. The day you think you know everything there is to know is the day you have failed your business. The internet is constantly growing and evolving leaving no room to sit back.

If you want to continue to progress with your business, you have to be open to learn. Part of entrepreneurship development is being open to opinions and thoughts. Listen to what others have to say and absorb their thoughts. Even if you do not learn anything new, you have nothing to lose by listening to others.

If anything, opening up allows you to build relationships and gain respect. A huge part of internet marketing is bonding with others and gaining the respect from those within your niche. This is something that many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of. Just because you are working on a computer does not mean you can hide behind the computer. Networking is crucial to succeeding online.

Another crucial facet to entrepreneurship development is believing in yourself and gaining self-confidence. While it may seem fairly simple, many find it difficult to believe in themselves after facing rejection a few different times. You are bound to fail before you taste success, but you have to continue to trust yourself before you actually succeed.

One facet that many entrepreneurs overlook is writing out goals and defining them. Having goals will keep you motivated and give you something to strive for. When you do fail, you can look at your goals and push through the adversity. Having goals will help you formulate plans on how you intend on achieving them. And developing plans is crucial to succeeding online.

The last facet to entrepreneurship development is learning how to take initiative. You will be faced with countless distractions and bumps in the road to sidetrack you. But if you want to succeed and actually take your business somewhere, you have to take initiative and actually do something about it. Your business is not going to generate traffic on its own. It is not going to create quality content on its own. And it certainly is not going to interact with prospects and customers on its own.

There is a lot that goes into entrepreneurship development. Many are side-swiped when they realize how difficult it really can be to succeed online. But if you are determined and willing to learn, you too can reap the benefits of having an online business.

Should Entrepreneurship Be Taught in Schools?

Just a few days ago I was reading a column by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman in which he stresses upon the need to get millions of American kids, not just the bright ones, excited about innovation and entrepreneurship again. This in order to prepare a million new businesses that won’t simply give brief roadway occupations, but steady jobs that keep America on the cutting edge. To accomplish that, Friedman further made a suggestion – ensure every American kid knows about National Lab Day, get the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to every middle and high school teacher and bring every classroom to view the documentary movie “Ten9Eight”.

Though a little dated (first published in NY Times in 2010), it found resonance (most parts of it) with me especially in these times of the much talked about demographic dividend, creating more jobs and the craze for startups in India. Friedman clearly was alluding to getting younger people in school, into the fold of entrepreneurship and being “innovation ready” – meaning that along with their mortarboards, they receive the critical-thinking, co-creation and multi-tasking abilities and collaboration skills that will help them invent their own careers and in turn create more jobs.

Friedman’s viewpoint provides cues to deal with India’s current manpower story. By 2020, about 60% of India’s population of 1.3 bn will be in the working age group of 15-59 years. It is estimated that by 2025, India will have 25% of the world’s total workforce.

India it seems, can also do well to engage with teaching entrepreneurship in schools, in order to build bridges between the young minds of today and job seekers of tomorrow. Various surveys have highlighted the need of teaching entrepreneurship from school level in order to create a competitive workforce which is beyond grades.

Experts argue that unless we introduce entrepreneurship as a school subject – like math, science history or geography – most young minds would remain unmindful of an undeniable fact for long, that jobs are best created, not consumed. According to Steve Mariotti, if entrepreneurship education can create jobs, encourage students to stay in school, and provide economic rescue for people in low-income communities, why aren’t we teaching it in every school.

Many are of the perspective that entrepreneurship learning- how to identify opportunities, how to work around issues, how to encourage innovation, how to overcome barriers, how to form winning teams, how to place risk in context, how to balance a mix of innovation and tradition, how to develop social, emotional and vocational skills- is best taught in the formative years of education. Some of the leading experts are also of the view that teaching entrepreneurship from a school level can be the long haul blue print for the most ambitious Make in India campaign.

Meanwhile, the government too has been quick to realize that entrepreneurship is one of the answers to sustained economic growth and job creation.. Efforts are being made to introduce entrepreneurship at the high school level, by offering it as an optional vocational subject in classes XI and XII by the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE). Some schools in India have already taken the step forward in integrating entrepreneurial and life skills development into formal school curriculum at the elementary level.

However, the path to taking entrepreneurship to schools is paved with unique challenges. Given the barriers of the Indian education system it is important to address concerns like curriculum design, trained teachers, should it be optional or mandatory, should it be in-house or outsourced among others.

Non-boundary Governance of Entrepreneurship Education within Higher Education

Introduction

The focus of entrepreneurship and innovation education and research at institutions of higher education ipso facto implies a wish to enhance the quality of graduate and post-graduate business venturing prospects as well as business know-how in the normally pre-entrepreneurial stage. This should happen within a sense-making framework that integrates the research and education agenda for graduate entrepreneurship. Further, an entrepreneurship and innovation education and research approach should be followed that guide the content of the competitive landscape in which the prospective entrepreneur will function and not lag behind and thereby looses its relevance.

Of particular importance to entrepreneurial education lies the ability of institutions of higher education to shift and circulate information and technologies across faculties despite different academic disciplines, professional codes, and academic language that act as academic venture boundaries. These boundaries frustrate the need to integrate entrepreneurship education throughout a higher education institution, thus inhibiting the smooth functioning of entrepreneurial education. Thus, a need exists to overcome these barriers by amalgamating the various faculties socially across faculties whereby entrepreneurial educators could play “bridging roles” by acting as “boundary spanners” between faculties and forming close cohesive networks through the whole institution. This will enable educators in entrepreneurial higher education to link otherwise unconnected faculties to facilitate the development of unique knowledge and access to special knowledge and opportunities. This create an advantage over the traditional structural design where educators were only part of a specific faculty cohesive group.

In the new economy, technology and knowledge production on which it is based, have become an intrinsic part of the economy. As a result, it may be envisaged that education and research in institutions of higher education will need to support the whole technology development process, which also include the process of innovation. In this regard, it may be more appropriate to develop education and research policies that addresses the whole technology-innovation chain instead of merely the research-development chain, as the research-innovation chain involves taking ideas, turning them into technologies and taking these, through research and development, out of the laboratory and proving them in real-world situations.

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to propose an educational governance framework for entrepreneurship and innovation at institutions of higher education to foster the upgrading of entrepreneurial competencies in students whilst preserving the traditional academic competencies of students and the provision of unique entrepreneurial opportunities to students to perform entrepreneurial tasks.

Non-boundary governance

Firstly, with regards to the governance of entrepreneurship education at higher education institutions it is proposed that it should be managed by an “inter-faculty-inter-industry committee” (boundary-spanning leadership is provided) in order to achieve a greater measure of integration (common building blocks is created) in terms of generic entrepreneurial skills requirements that cross over academic disciplines, whilst simultaneously making provision for the unique disciplinary requirements and needs of specific disciplines. This implies a shift away from the traditional independent faculty approach (functional myopia) which lacks commonly shared interests that is adopted by most universities and substituting it for a new re-configured structure able to create entrepreneurial value through a holistic, yet focussed approach (integrated birds eye view) among various faculties. This largely represents the antithesis of the traditional academic governance approach followed at the majority of institutions of higher education. However, it is considered necessary, as it is able to strike out higher potential for entrepreneurship and innovation directions through the whole academic supply chain. In essence a virtual horizontal department – operating on the basis of value chains – is created, without necessarily increasing the staff operational cost to the institution. Creating a virtual horizontal department will ensure that all employees (lecturing staff) interpret the market signals better, and ensure that customer and entrepreneurial concerns become known to all faculties, regardless of their function in the university leading to a better customer focus. By establishing an inter-faculty-inter-industry committee, opportunity is created for healthy and critical curriculum content debate (knowledge interaction), whilst module developers become better informed on borderline subjects and aspects. Even more essential is the protection that will be provided to ensure that the disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary entrepreneurship field of study is not vulnerable to the “tactic of isolation” by claiming academic ownership in one faculty.

Secondly, entrepreneurship and innovation cannot flourish within institutional isolation. Cross-fertilisation of national and international academic and industry business networks is required not only to build leading edge relevant curriculum content, but also to keep up to date with the dynamics in the field. In this regard it would be important to create entrepreneurial knowledge champions in each of the faculties, whilst still operating under the academic guidance of an Entrepreneurial Centre of Excellence that could coordinate all activities and ensure proper co-operation between faculties. In essence, the Entrepreneurial Centre of Excellence’s focus is to orchestrate the entrepreneurial functions in all the faculties. This will further ensure that the “big divide” in entrepreneurial education between faculties is largely eliminated. With regard to its functions within the institution the Entrepreneurial Centre of Excellence’s role could be to:

·Establish an operating and repertoire-building entrepreneurship and innovation education framework and technique approach applying to real-time methodologies;

·Facilitate new entrepreneurial and innovation horizons for the institution through the diffusion of new information, the establishment of dialogue processes, and the exploration of new required dynamic capabilities;

·Build entrepreneurial talent for intellectual entrepreneurship leadership; and

·Establish bonding entrepreneurial networks that form the nucleus of the core of the university’s entrepreneurial value system through web-connectivity, conferences and seminars, mobilising critical mass of people for innovation and the management of Memorandums of Understanding.

Conclusion

This paper emphasised the need to create governance mechanisms that could properly address the disciplinary, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary nature of entrepreneurial education in higher education institutions. It proposed the establishment of a joint-responsibility structure able to span the entrepreneurial holes in institutions of higher education whilst receiving guidance from a centrally Centre of Excellence that could coordinate all entrepreneurial education and ensure cooperation by all academic faculties. Implementation of these proposals could be done at minimum cost to the institution.

An Entrepreneurial Development Framework for Institutions of Higher Education

Introduction

With increased globalization people have seen the need to increase wealth creation especially within the underdeveloped Third World. It has also become evident that neither the government nor the formal sector can supply the necessary job creation without a sustained effort and partnerships between all sectors of the economy. One means of creating work opportunities will be the development of entrepreneurial and innovative skills within the country. The creation of such job opportunities by encouraging entrepreneurial innovation has been well illustrated by Dana, Korot and Tovstiga (2005:12) in Silicon Valley, Israel, Singapore and the Netherlands. These authors report that in the narrow 35 mile by 10 mile corridor within Silicon Valley 6,500 technology enterprises are located. Singapore is home to almost 100,000 entrepreneurs and had a per capita GDP of US$42,948.00 during 2004 and an annual growth rate of 8.8% (Singapore Statistics, 2006).

In addition higher education has become a prime export commodity of total world services trade, amounting to a staggering 3% (Grundling & Steynberg, 2006:5). With the increased interest in entrepreneurial innovation as an economic driver there is a need to develop expertise within this area. Thus there is a need to develop entrepreneurial innovation knowledge within higher education institutions to ensure the maintenance of a competitive edge in an under developed market. Dana, et al. (2005:10) define knowledge as “the integration of information, ideas, experience, intuition, skills and lessons learned that creates added value for a firm”. In addition Dana et el. (2005) define innovation as “the process by which knowledge is transformed into new or significantly modified products and/or services that establish the firm’s competitive edge”. It can thus be seen that it is imperative that higher education in South Africa actively pursue a policy to encourage entrepreneurial innovation to ensure the creation of expertise, the development of new industries and the empowering of students to establish themselves within an entrepreneurial innovative culture. Higher education will be required to become a key player in domesticating knowledge and diffusing it into the economy in order to serve as engines for community development and social renewal (Grundling & Steynberg, 2006:6).

Problem statement

The research question under discussion is formulated as What minimum requirements should be set in an entrepreneurial and innovation framework in order to support entrepreneurial and innovation knowledge creation at institutions of higher education?

Purpose

This article attempts to develop a framework to encourage entrepreneurial thinking within a higher education environment, taking into account consideration policy and infrastructural requirements, knowledge creation fundamentals and institutional arrangements.

Policy intervention

Policy initiatives within higher education institutions are essential to establish guidance for entrepreneurs, funding agencies, industry, labour in general and for students and institutions of higher education in particular. From a higher education perspective government as well as institutional policy requirements will be discussed in brief.

·Government policies

If this is to be accomplished it will require government intervention to construct policies which should include the reduction of taxation in the form of capital gains tax rate, providing incentives for increased spending on research and development, encouraging active venture capital markets, an alteration of the ‘hiring and firing’ labour regulations, and encouraging the spending on new technology shares (Da Rin, Nicodano & Sembenelli, 2005:8).

·The higher education institution policies

The higher education institution must provide a working atmosphere in which entrepreneurship can thrive. Venkataraman (2003:154) proposes that it is not merely the injection of capital that enhances the development of entrepreneurship. Rather, it is the tangible infrastructural essentials such as capital markets, advanced telecommunications, sound legal and transportation systems. In addition, intangible components must be in place. These intangibles are access to novel ideas, informal forums, role models, region specific opportunities, access to large markets, safety nets and executive leadership. As policy within the institution is developed it must consider and include a planning process to accommodate these essentials.

Policy must also augment the entrepreneurial culture within the higher education institution as a new mindset of students must be established from one of expecting to be employed, to one of providing work opportunities for others. Technology licensing offices (TLOs) must be established at the higher education institutions. Stanford University sponsored research expenditures of US$391 million generated 25 TLO start ups in 1997 (Gregorio & Shane, 2003:209). An investment in patent rights by the higher education institutions will ensure future capital investments into the institution. Intellectual property (IP) policies should be framed so as to capture the wealth generated and to distribute it equitably between investors, partners, the university and the entrepreneur. Such rewards will generate future interest for both the investors and the entrepreneurs. Policies, procedures and network contacts to capture venture capital must be established.

Research and Development policies in entrepreneurship must be refined and focused. Currently, the focus of entrepreneurial research at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa falls within the three niche areas of business clustering, business development and management of innovation. In each of these niche areas it will be necessary to develop Masters and Doctorate programmes in entrepreneurship and innovation. This in turn will mean a need for the improvement of the staff qualification profile within these areas. Along with the Masters and Doctorate programmes, accredited research outputs must be produced in entrepreneurship and innovation (Grundling & Steynberg, 2006:6). In addition to the Masters degrees in Entrepreneurship and the Masters degree in Comparative Local Development, a Masters degree in Cognitive Reasoning should be considered for the future. Such a course should include a thorough foundation in finance reasoning along with creative thinking and business planning.

Institutional structures to be established

The higher education institution will have to establish itself as a seamless knowledge node into which a variety of parties can contribute. Parties contributing to such a knowledge node might include industrial partners, specialists from industry, relevant government agencies, foreign investors, community forums, labour unions, academic specialists, research foundations, funding agencies, students and potential entrepreneurs. Such a node would provide the necessary contact between entrepreneurs, funding agencies, industry and labour. This will ensure exposure of research and innovative ideas to the relevant parties. It would also provide a relevant export/import platform for entrepreneurship within the country. In addition to this, regular colloquia should be held to allow potential entrepreneurs to expose their innovative ideas to the funding agencies. An information network connecting entrepreneurs to venture capitalists should be established within this knowledge node.

Such forums would allow industrial partners to present commercially-oriented research proposals to the higher education institution which funding agencies in turn would be willing to fund. Gregorio and Shane (2003:212) also emphasize the need for the higher education institution to demonstrate intellectual eminence. It is suggested that better quality researchers are more likely to exploit inventions than lesser qualified researchers. The intellectual eminence also makes it easier for researchers involved to start enterprises and to exploit their inventions (Gregorio & Shane, 2003:212). In addition, more eminent researchers provide a better knowledge base and this in turn will attract better qualified researchers and students. To ensure an intellectual eminence of their outputs, higher education institutions should select students carefully.

The higher education institution should also encourage the development of incubators, either close to the institution or close to the involved industry. This will certainly influence the start up capital expenditure. Gregorio and Shane (2003:213) suggest that such incubators would allow entrepreneurs to “ripen” technologies in close proximity to inventors and specialists.

The establishment of technology parks could be instituted at the institution. Dana, et al. (2005:12) report that the first technology parks were established in the Netherlands. It is hardly surprising that the Netherlands is one of the leading nations in promoting entrepreneurship, comparing favourably with Israel, Singapore and Silicone Valley. Perhaps such parks could be established in conjunction with the government and serve to expose students to the entrepreneurial culture.

Information networks connecting entrepreneurs to venture capitalists should be established within the higher education institution. Dushnitsky and Lenox (2004:618) reinforce this view. Gregorio and Shane (2003:214) also recommend that in exchange for taking an equity stake in TLO start-ups the institution should pay patenting, marketing or other up-front costs. These measures would encourage the formation of start-up enterprises. Furthermore, locating a higher education institutional foundation presence in physical proximity to the enterprises donating the capital might be an advantage (Gregorio & Shane, 2003:211).

Strategy to develop an entrepreneurial innovative culture

·Re-curriculation of syllabi within Entrepreneurship programmes

When training entrepreneurs two realms of knowledge should be recognized, “tacit” and “explicit”. “Explicit knowledge is easily identifiable, easy to articulate, capture and share. By contrast, tacit knowledge consists predominately of intuition, feelings, perceptions and beliefs, often difficult to express and therefore difficult to capture and transfer. Of the two, tacit knowledge carries the greater value in that it is the essence of innovation” (Dana et al., 2005:10). Perhaps an illustration given by Ali (2001:339) serves to illustrate the difference between the skills involved in producing an artifact. The engineer is a man of action developing mental skills but seldom having the opportunity to develop manual skills. The craftsman uses his hands more than his head, tools more than instruments and rarely uses science or mathematics. Both are geared towards inventing. The engineer is concerned with ideas and artifacts, while the craftsman is concerned with the making of artefacts. The craftsman has no ready made methods and the technique is devised during the process. The engineer draws mainly on explicit scientific skills while the craftsman draws on intuitive, tacit knowledge. This person is involved in the creation of something new, an innovative skill. The engineer’s plans and blueprints might well involve tactic knowledge.

In curriculum design one must recognize the difference between infrastructure supporting recursive skills which are typically routine in nature and infrastructure supporting the nurturing of innovation and making skills. These involve designing, innovating, communicating in groups, problem solving, face-to-face communication, idea generation and group-work (Ali, 2001:41). Brown and Duguid (1991) quoted by Ali (2001:342) make use of the expression “communities of practice” to describe the social context for developing work, learning and innovation. Lin, Li and Chen (2004:4) and Markman and Baron (2003:291) make use of the term “social capital” to describe the ability to establish networks of supporting relationships. This ability is seen as a means of mobilizing environmental resources to overcome obstacles and threats within the entrepreneurial process. Others have noted how important social capital is in the creation of new business ventures. Lin, et al. (2004:4) recognize the need for formal and informal funding relationships within the business environment. Such entrepreneurs are termed “business angels” for they gain access to required resources, such as capital investors, suitable distributors and talented employees from the external environment. Lin, et al. (2004:6) thus regard social capital as “entrepreneurial social infrastructure”. Harris, Forbes and Fletcher (2000:125-126) suggest that planning “dampens” the entrepreneurial spirit and that emergent problems tended to be better training triggers than planned approaches. It is proposed that the learning style for entrepreneurs should be one using facilitators, learning by doing, interactive classroom approaches, peer group work, problem solving, grasping opportunities and holistic approaches. It is recommended that inputs should be made by outside speakers and entrepreneurs (Harris, et al., 2000:126). Johnson (1987:31, in Harris et al., 2000) states that an entrepreneur’s planned approach to any problem should be problem awareness, problem diagnosis, the development of solutions and the selection of a solution. Once again the need for “an emergent” approach rather than a “planned approach” is emphasized. In addition, Harris, et al. (2000:133) emphasize the need for long standing close relationships in the development of the entrepreneur. Such partners can share vision, and serve as sounding boards for ideas and concerns. These relationships are vital for the development of innovative thinking. The findings suggest that entrepreneurs must be trained in a less structured way, which involve group work, class discussions, specialist input, a concentration of social skills, communicating and conflict management. The methodology must involve face to face contact and the developing of lasting relationships.

Another factor that should be written into the curriculum is the ability to deal with problems that arise and then to reschedule goals so as to accommodate the new situation. This is clearly illustrated by Ireland, Kuratko and Morris (2006:12) showing the presence of internal and external triggers of corporate entrepreneurship. External triggers that encourage entrepreneurship arise from developments in the external environment. These include diminishing opportunities, rapid changes in technology, labour shortages, aggressive moves by competitors, change in the market structure or regulatory threats. Internal triggers include employee rewards, directives from managers, tension between staff, problems with cost control, etc. Ireland, et al. (2006:12). Triggers for entrepreneurship may be summed up in the statement “necessity is the mother of invention”. This once again emphasis the need for trainers to concentrate on the entrepreneurial process rather than the content, with particular emphasis on change, the unexpected and resolving problems that emerge within any particular process.

Markman and Baron (2003:288) regard self-efficacy as an important success factor in developing entrepreneurs. Self-efficacy is defined as “the extent to which persons believe that they can organize effectively, execute actions to produce given attainments” (Bandura, 1997 quoted by Markman and Baron 2003:288). Successful entrepreneurs will have high self-efficacy and tend to believe that their actions will lead to a successful venture. It is also suggested that entrepreneurs need to recognize opportunities from possible businesses. In addition it is suggested that entrepreneurs need perseverance and need to be able to overcome adversity and uncertainty. The curriculum should thus contain training on self esteem, reliability, perseverance, overcoming setbacks, having a vision, setting goals and rescheduling if things go wrong.

Boussouara and Deakins (1999:204) suggest that a gradual approach into a high technology business can be an advantage in that it allows time to develop contacts, strategy, and networks as well as gives time to acquire funding and income. The latter authors emphasize the need to acquire market-based knowledge for a successful business (Boussouara & Deakins, 1999:205). It is thus recommended that networks and external business agents present relevant market research to the trainees. These findings should be brainstormed and shared in the larger group.

Conclusion

In this article an attempt has been made to develop a framework for the development of entrepreneurial thinking within a higher education environment. This framework needs to be supported by government policy initiatives and include taxation incentives for entrepreneurs, encouraging investment in research and development, incentives for industry for active venture capital and alterations to the labour law to accommodate small entrepreneurial industries. In addition techno-parks should be developed in conjunction with government to expose students to the entrepreneurial culture.

Research should be done within the business development niche area to investigate these policies and communicate the needs to government. If government officials are participating in the knowledge node it might provide the necessary exposure to government.

Policy initiatives from within the higher education institution should establish the knowledge node which should include academic specialists, research foundations, relevant government officials, industrial partners, specialists from industry, foreign investors, community forums, labour unions, funding agencies, students and potential entrepreneurs. Information networks connecting entrepreneurs to venture capitalists should be established within this knowledge node. Intellectual Property policies should be developed by the business development niche area to ensure that possible TLO start-ups within the higher education institution are protected and that patenting, marketing or other up-front costs are paid by the higher education institution or associated enterprises. The higher education institution could liaise with the Innovation Hub established in conjunction with the CSIR. A cooperation agreement could benefit both parties. Research should be carried out by the business clustering niche area to select the most appropriate combinations and networking within the knowledge node.

To ensure intellectual eminence the correct researchers, academics and industrialists should be chosen within the entrepreneurship cluster. Incubators and TLOs should be founded to “ripen’ developing technologies and to form small innovative industries. Research within this area could be done by the niche areas business development and management of innovation.

A funding agency for the entrepreneurship innovation (previously termed the institutional foundation) could be located close to the industry partners for fundraising. All three niche areas should be actively networked with industries on an ongoing basis, communicating needs and proposals.

A teaching strategy should be developed to foster tacit knowledge development. Group work, problem solving, idea generation, innovating, designing and face to face communication should be extensively used. Smaller classrooms need to be utilized allowing for group work. Curricula should include topics like self efficacy, perseverance and the need to overcome adversity. In addition market-based knowledge should be presented by specialists from the industry on an ongoing basis. Networking should be a normal part of the curriculum and will allow venture capitalists to be connected to the innovations developed within the knowledge node.

Entrepreneurship Made Easy, Affordable and Profitable

Introducing legal reforms to ensure equal rights of women to ownership, inheritance and financial control; with a view to reinforcing their special skills and advantages and leveraging them for immediate and long-term macro-economic gains, at both local and national levels.

Reprioritizing budgetary outlays and official expenditure models with the specific objective of improving gender equality, through the introduction of special schemes and programmes that effectively encourage women’s involvement in entrepreneurial activities.

Enforcing equitable gender participation through the development of focused entrepreneurial activity for women that takes their socio-cultural, legal and economic constraints into account. Policy changes must be initiated to overcome hurdles in the gainful involvement of women in viable enterprises.

Initiating government incentive programmes for existing and emerging enterprises that proactively involve women in different hierarchies. Educating present and future entrepreneurs on the unique business and social advantages they stand to derive from this dynamic group.

Facilitating partnerships between women and financial advisory and support agencies; in a way that compensates for their lack of formal business acumen, experience and access to funding. Fostering partnerships between women entrepreneurs in related sectors to help share expertise and resources.

Instituting effective start-up and ongoing support structures with safety net provisions to provide continuous financial, technical and know-how assistance and minimize failure rates. Ensuring ground level efficacy of such measure through continuous monitoring and survey.

Enhancing accountability on women empowerment issues at both state and federal government levels through unbiased assessment of executive agencies and relevant state-sponsored programmes. Suitably highlighting achievements and deficiencies to enable constructive evolution of such practices.

The complementary policy issues in entrepreneurship education should include increasing women enrolment in schools at all levels especially in the field of agriculture to reduce gender inequality. Budgetary allocation should be made to accommodate more continuing and vocational education.

More seminars/workshops should be sponsored and extended to rural areas to increase women’s capacity to start and grow their agribusiness, prepare sound business plan/feasibility studies and increase their technical and managerial capacity in agribusiness.

Modern processing plants/storage facilities should be installed for women groups on government/private joint partnership basis so that women can process and store farm produce with ease.

The enabling environment in terms of gender-friendly policies, good roads, pipe-borne water and electricity should be provided by the various arms of government.

Cooperatives and women groups should be more formally instituted and encouraged among women to position them strategically to access fund and other inputs with ease.

The government should mandate the commercial Banks to produce more gender-friendly loan packages (low interest rates and more relaxed duration of repayment).

Women should be exposed to the latest agro-technology from time-time to remove drudgery in farming, processing and preservation techniques.

Nigerian women should be encouraged to network more, both at the national and international levels for more exposure, to access fund and export information.

Agro-extensions institutions should be boosted and more women extension agents be trained to reduce women to extension workers ratio and for wider coverage of women agriculturists.

Nigeria’s vision of becoming one of the top twenty leading economies of the world by the year 2020, otherwise known simply as vision 20:20 appears compelling enough to energize its over 155million people (nearly half of which are women) to make the vision a reality. To accomplish this laudable goal, there is an urgent need to pay attention to the development of agro-women entrepreneurs so that they can take their place in family advancement and national economic development.

The government and development/change agencies must not only be prepared to recognize the economic role of the women but must also extend to them the same recognition and facilities as the men are enjoying.

Peter Osalor is a multi-skilled director, chairman of trusts, proprietor and consultant. Peter Osalor has been a successful entrepreneur since 1992 when he formed Peter Osalor & Co and which has since grown to a very large client base with a turnover of millions. He is currently a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria (ICAN). Peter is also a member of the Chartered Tax Advisors and the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria (CITN).

He is a business mentor for Princess Trust in the UK. He is a member of the Inter Governmental Committee of ICAN and also a member of BCBC, which represents Black Church Membership of Christians whose responsibility is to ensure that the Christian businesses are not left out in the business opportunities arising from the 2012 Olympic Games In London.

Entrepreneurship Made Easy, Affordable and Profitable

Business women, especially entrepreneurs, have such an advantage when it comes to networking, making new contacts and business development. Women have such a gift for communicating with others, multi-tasking and paying attention to detail in regards to business. Women can use their personal and professional skills to win new clients and retain loyalty from past clients. How can women entrepreneurs use networking to build their business? How can women entrepreneurs use every day skills and abilities to build their businesses and gain profits?

Listed below are key tips that can help business women and entrepreneurs create monthly or quarterly networking events.

Women know women that know women that in turn know women. Women professionals are encouraged to make a list of friends, family and colleagues in their area. They can ask their friends to do the same and combine lists. There will not be a shadow of a doubt that the lists will project well over 100 contacts. This is a great database for building and maintaining your clientele, informing people about your company updates and bringing awareness to new products and services.

Besides providing useful information, this new database can serve as a list of attendees for monthly or quarterly networking events. Brainstorm with your colleagues and select fun and interesting events that would be good for your database of friends, family and colleagues. Seek out outside support and sponsorship for the events and partner with bigger companies within your city. Also offer incentives such as door prizes at the events, discounted services and products to appeal to the attendees of the events.

These types of events promote women to network, build relationships and showcase their businesses. It keeps them focus on new and leading trends and allows them to develop their business for professional success. These women have an opportunity to meet new business counterparts and get exposed to their networks. The cross exchange of information, resources and contacts can be extremely beneficial from both business parties.

During these events, women should be encouraged to bring materials about their company, products and services for distribution. Organizers of the event should collect business cards to follow up and stay in contact with the attendees of the event. And, organizers should also try and link women together with similar businesses and interest to facilitate strong partnerships and associations. These types of activities can strengthen the goals and mission of the networking events and increase more participation and publicity