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  • Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 7(8): 781-786, 2013 ISSN 1991-8178

    Corresponding Author: Shiva Shabani, Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, 1439813141, 16th Street, North Kargar Avenue, Tehran E-mail: Shiva.Shabani@yahoo.com

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    Entrepreneurship Education: A New Conceptual Model in Developing Countries

    Shiva Shabani

    Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, 1439813141, 16th Street, North Kargar Avenue, Tehran

    Abstract: It is now widely accepted that entrepreneurship education plays an important role in any higher education sector, as it enables students in taking advantage of their knowledge in a business, whether in an established one or a start-up. Especially, developing countries are getting more eager to take advantage of entrepreneurship and enterprise education programs to facilitate their development. Thus, our purpose in this article is to propose a conceptual model of entrepreneurship education for developing countries. The conceptual model consists of four main elements: (i) individuals, (ii) content, (iii) techniques, and (iv) context. Key words: Entrepreneurship Education, Conceptual Model, Higher Education, Developing Countries

    INTRODUCTION

    Governments in both developed and developing countries more and more promote entrepreneurship as the

    engine of economic development and extensively acknowledge its critical role in wealth as well as job creation (Guerrero et al., 2014). Moreover, entrepreneurs are considered as change agents of societies who move forward and make substantial changes in socioeconomic facts and figures of their countries (Mintrom and Norman, 2009; Partzsch and Ziegler, 2011; Salamzadeh et al., 2011). In recent years, creativity and innovation also have been added to the extended list of entrepreneurial attributes, which, individually or even cumulatively, are perceived to preserve the stability and integrity of the socioeconomic and political infrastructure of countries (Salamzadeh et al., 2013). This view has been highlighted in recent years by the publication of a number of prestigious and wide-ranging reports, including Fostering Entrepreneurship (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1998), the European Commissions Green Paper Entrepreneurship in Europe (European Commission, 2003) and an impressive portfolio of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor publications (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2010). In this context fostering, supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship at all levels of society has become a topic of highest priority in government policy making. Higher education institutions, in particular, have been singled out as the main source of more and better educated entrepreneurs, who are ready and eager to enter an economy and make it more entrepreneurial (Matlay, 2010, 2011).

    Potentially, graduate and student entrepreneurs represent an important national resource, both in terms of numbers and the quality of their contribution (Radovic Markovic and Salamzadeh, 2012). These individuals could be the engines of socioeconomic changes in their societies, if they become aware of their entrepreneurial abilities through education. However, it should be noted that despite its relatively long history, entrepreneurship education, as a research topic, is still in its infancy and therefore lacks legitimacy as well as critical mass (Maltay, 2010). In sum, higher education systems are facing rapid growth in recent years. This growth has been highlighted by deploying virtual systems as in other aspects of life. Entrepreneurship is one of the most attractive disciplines in developing countries like Iran. Entrepreneurship education has along history in the world, but it has existed for less than one decade in Iran. Therefore, entrepreneurship education is a newer field in this country. University of Tehran, as a pioneer university in Iran, launched entrepreneurship programs at master level in its Faculty of Entrepreneurship in 2005, but still there are many challenges according to entrepreneurship education in developing countries like Iran (JafariMoghadam et al. 2012; Salamzadeh, 2012). Considering the above mentioned issues, proposing a conceptual framework for entrepreneurship education could help government officials and policy makers better govern these socioeconomic issues and consider more appropriate solutions to foster entrepreneurship in their countries. Thus, in this paper, we will propose a conceptual model for entrepreneurship education in developing countries.

    Entrepreneurship Education: A Literature Review:

    Although many definitions of entrepreneurship exist, they mostly tend to revolve around theprocess of creating new business/venture activity, as opposed to managing existing business activity. Entrepreneurship is usually associated in the popular mind with the creationof new businesses/ventures, and the founders of new businesses/ventures are called entrepreneurs. However, it is sometimes widened to encompass new forms of organizational activity within existing for-profitor not-for-profit organizations, which aim to create new

    mailto:Shiva.Shabani@yahoo.com

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    socioeconomic value (Gibb and Cotton, 1998; Levie, 1999). It is increasingly accepted that new business activity plays an important role in thegrowth and adaptation of modern economies. One recent estimate credited the entrepreneurial sector with contributing about one third of GDP growth in these countries (Levie, 1999; Reynolds et al., 1999).

    Entrepreneurship and business education have emerged in different countries as a method to develop entrepreneurial cultures, to create new businesses, to promote entrepreneurship, and tofoster entrepreneurial mindsetsvia education and learning. Encouraging business education all around the world, the development of entrepreneurship education has led to varied socioeconomic developments in different countries. In last decades, these education developments have evolved tomore than hundreds of programs in thousands of institutions around the world (JafariMoghadam et al. 2012). Yet, research about the effects of entrepreneurship education is still in its infancy. Many studies to date simply describe entrepreneurship courses, discuss the content of good entrepreneurship education or evaluate the economic impact of courses by comparing takers and non-takers. Some researchers have proposed a positive link between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial attitudes, intention or action, but the evidence is still not strong (von Graevenitz, et al. 2010).

    As von Graevenitz, et al. (2010) discuss: some empirical studies verify that there is appositive impact of entrepreneurship education courses/programs at universities on perceived attractiveness and feasibility of new venture creation (Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; Fayolle et al., 2006). Reviews of literature on enterprise/entrepreneurship education (Dainow, 1986; Gorman et al., 1997) and of particular entrepreneurship programs (McMullan et al., 2002) give evidence that these programs encourage entrepreneurs to start a venture. However, usually, there are serious methodological limitations. For instance, studies rarely involve control groups or a form of stochastic matching (Block and Stumpf, 1992), basic controls as pre and post testing are not employed and most studies survey participants with an existing predisposition towards entrepreneurship, biasing the results in favor of educational interventions (Gorman et al., 1997).

    In addition to formal programs, many higher education institutions nowoffer a variety of informal courses and programs (Ives, 2011). Mars (2007) explored cases in which professors participated in institutionalized modelsof entrepreneurship education, and the application of entrepreneurial principles and concepts to studies of higher education has become broadened. Over the past several decades, higher education scholars have conducted a significant amount of research aimed at understanding the implications of enhanced interactions between the academy and the private marketplace. Accordingly, a voluminous literature that includes conceptualizations and discussions of academic entrepreneurship has emerged (Farsi et al., 2012), but research works suggest that there is a paucity of attention paid to the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of entrepreneurship within higher education scholarship (Mars and Rios-Aguilar, 2010). Therefore, here, we concentrate on proposing a conceptual model for entrepreneurship education, and more specifically, entrepreneurship education in developing countries.

    Methodology:

    This is a conceptual paper which puts forward a model of entrepreneurship education for developing countries. For this purpose, entrepreneurship education is defined as a collection of formalized teachings that trains and educates anyone interested in participating in socioeconomic development through a project to promote entrepreneurship awareness, business creation or small business development (Radipere, 2012), but the concentration is on higher education students and graduates. The arguments draw on a range ofcontemporary research prompted by considerations of the interface between education and entrepreneurshipalbeit that research into the realm of entrepreneurship education is still in its infancy. This and other contemporary research into the entrepreneurship education form the empirical basis for the concepts presented in this article. In particular, thediscussion presented here uses data from:

    Interview sessions: Seven face-to-face interviews with experts in the field of entrepreneurship were conducted. The experts had

    more than five years of relevant experience, and also published a series of books, papers, and reports regarding entrepreneurship education in developing countries. As mentioned earlier, the aim of the research was topropose a conceptual model of entrepreneurship education for developing countries. The interview agenda contained both structured elements, and open questions (Krefting, 1991).

    Focus group sessions: Two series of focus groups amongst experts were held which raised a variety of topics, including

    entrepreneurship education, characteristics of developing countries, etc. It should be noted that, these sessions were designed based on Morgan and Spanish (1984) technique.

    Proposing the Conceptual Model for Entrepreneurship Education:

    Based on a review of the literature and also the interview sessions along with focus group session, the following model is proposed (Figure 1). As it is shown in the Figure, the model consists of four main elements, which are:

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    (i) Individuals: Some research further suggests that individuals who have had entrepreneurship training/education are also

    more likely to start a business than those who have not had entrepreneurship education/training (Martin et al., 2012). It must not be assumed that entrepreneurship education is only about encouraging students to set-up and run their ownventures. While there is some evidence that experiencein a small firm can help the development of more enterprising individuals (Kirby, 2004).A good education system gives students the freedom to recognize their capabilities and individual potentials (RadovicMarkovic et al., 2012 a, b). For some people, the most important reason for providing entrepreneurship education may be to meetthe needs of individuals who wish to become entrepreneurs/businessmen (McMullan and Long, 1987). Results of the research shows that positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship education will induce the individualsto respond favorably to the education received. Subsequently, the ultimate and complete benefitsof education can only be realized when recipients have positive outlook towards it (Lena and Wong, 2003). Thus, individuals who took entrepreneurship education should recognize that it is important for successful venture creation. Moreover, this perception will accelerate the effect of entrepreneurship education as time passes (Lee et al., 2005). In sum, a liberalist philosophyof entrepreneurship education clearly focuses on those individuals intellectually motivatedto understand entrepreneurship in all its diversity and complexity (Hannon, 2005).

    (ii) Content:

    Much of the content which has been practiced in this field within some educational systems is labeled enterprise rather than entrepreneurship education and is focused upon the development of personal attributes (Gibb, 1993). Maybe one of the most central themes in research on contentin entrepreneurship education concerns the extent to which formal education programscan contribute to entrepreneurship (Gorman, et al., 1997). Also, the lack of a clear consensus on the definition of an entrepreneur contributes to the confusion; it is therefore understandable that the content of entrepreneurship education and training programs varies according to the trainers personal preferences as to definition (Garavan and O'Cinneide, 1994). Empirical and conceptual academic studies on entrepreneurship education would helpnot only clarify the content and the design of entrepreneurship education, but also deepenand enrich entrepreneurship discussions in this domain (Grol and Atsan, 2006).

    (iii) Techniques:

    Educational techniques should foster students to work collaboratively; askquestions and creatively about ideas and issues across a range of disciplines. As creative thinkers,they try to imagine and explore alternatives, and to think in a different manner. Such an approach isrequired for a solid academic foundation and in order to enhance their intelligence, including softskills such as understanding, empathy and communication skills.The use of different learningmaterials and various resources allows students with various principal learning styles to understand information in the most effective way (Radovic Markovic et al., 2012 a, b). There are several techniques of entrepreneurship education. For instance, as an entrepreneurship education technique, action learning is different from and more comprehensive than any kinds of management education approaches (Mueller et al., 2006). To some scholars, the group project approach more than any other educational techniques stimulates creative thinking since the real project makes students feel real world situations and it will make them more capable in facing such issues. It is crystal clear that any technique you choose for entrepreneurship education, should consider other aspects, i.e. individuals, content, and last but not least the context.

    (iv) Context:

    Some studies show that entrepreneurship education concentrates less on teaching individuals in a classroom settingand more on learning-by-doing activities in a group setting and a network context (Rasmussen and Srheim, 2006). One critical aspect of thecontext is the creation of a culture which will encourage and entice individuals to take the risk of starting a business (Hynes, 1996). Lack of sufficient incentives toward entrepreneurship and lack of sound entrepreneurship education hamper the development of any entrepreneurial vision of individuals (Grol and Atsan, 2006). In the context of entrepreneurship education, the leadership category entails describing theinvolvement and commitment of entrepreneurship program directors, business school deans, university administrators, advisory board members, and student representatives (Vesper and Gartner, 1997). The affecting factors need to be better understood and future developmentsneed to be grounded in sound foundations of entrepreneurship education within different contexts and within various higher education environments (Hannon, 2006).

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    Fig. 1: A Conceptual Framework for Entrepreneurship Education (Self-elaborated) Conclusion:

    Entrepreneurship is one of the most attractive disciplines in developing countries like Iran. Entrepreneurship education has along history in the world, but in developing countries it is in its embryonic stage. However, many scholars have tried and also are trying to facilitate this process in developing countries; still there is a need to improve it. This paper aims at proposing a conceptual model for entrepreneurship education in developing countries, in order to highlight the most paramount aspects of this fact. According to the findings, there are four important elements to be considered in each entrepreneurship education process. These elements include: (i) Individuals, who might include mentors and mentees, teachers and students, etc., (ii) Content, which should be determined before any course/program design, (iii) Techniques, which show how the designed content would be offered to individuals (students, and mentees) or by individuals (teachers and mentors)., and (iv) Context which is of paramount importance in any entrepreneurship education system. Particularly, the context in developing countries is quite different from developed ones. Future researchers are invited to scrutinize each element, and to expand the factors under each element. In this study, our concentration was mainly on finding the most significant and influential elements, and not on discussing the factors under each element. Furthermore, future studies might investigate the institutional factors affecting such entrepreneurship education systems.

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