The same programme can have different effects on different individuals depending on their age, stage of development and the specific barriers to entrepreneurship they face.
What’s the rationale behind this?
Entrepreneurship education programmes are likely to be more impactful if they’re able to target and unblock the specific barriers that prevent participants from becoming successful entrepreneurs in the future and to activate the mechanisms that make individuals more likely to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.
The barriers and mechanisms one should focus on depend on the participants’ ages and stages of development, the context and economic opportunities that surround them, and the specific challenges and incentives that each group faces.
Outcomes of interest
Business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills, attitudes towards entrepreneurship, business starts
Does it work? Here’s what we know so far…
Age and stage of development
- Hard skills and business knowledge are better developed at older ages, during the last years of secondary school and at university.
- Soft skills seem to be more easily developed at an early age, with the highest impacts being on primary school students, whereas no effects are found for university students.
- Programmes that focus on skills and traits associated with transformative entrepreneurship, like confidence, ambition and self-efficacy, can also be effective for secondary school students.
Barriers to entrepreneurship
- Individuals from social groups traditionally underrepresented in entrepreneurship benefit more from programmes that deconstruct existing stereotypes.
- Programmes based on role models are particularly effective for individuals that don’t have other strong sources of exposure to entrepreneurship such as having entrepreneur parents or being surrounded by a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem.
- For highly educated individuals like university students, lack of knowledge might not be the main barrier to entrepreneurship. Lack of capital or relevant contacts in the ecosystem may be more significant barriers.
Ideas worth trying
- If you’re dealing with primary and lower secondary school children, try prioritising soft skills for entrepreneurship over business knowledge and hard skills.
- If you’re dealing with highly educated individuals, try prioritising skills like resource seeking and networking, as lack of knowledge might not be the main barrier.
What to avoid
- Avoid using low-intensity exposure to role-model interventions with individuals that are heavily exposed to entrepreneurship through other sources such as their parents.