A new study suggests that an effective entrepreneurial education improves future employment for many young people and lowers barriers to entry for other entrepreneurs.
The study, published this week in the journal Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurships, examined how effective education about entrepreneurship impacts job performance and career success.
The findings are encouraging and point to a way to improve the future of young people by ensuring that successful entrepreneurship education helps them enter the workforce and achieve the goals of their dreams.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, the study’s lead author, Michael McConaghy, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa, said it is not yet clear what the best way to implement effective entrepreneurship training is.
“There are some programs that are very effective at getting people into the workforce but they’re not a substitute for the right kind of education,” he said.
“We know that effective entrepreneurship is really about having a set of skills and being able to communicate those skills.”
The researchers looked at the performance of 1,068 young Canadians aged between 19 and 35 who were employed in businesses starting in 2015.
They then used data from the Canadian Job Survey to assess how effective each student had been at starting a business and how well they did with a range of tasks, including setting up a business, marketing, sales and sales management.
The results showed that effective students had a greater job-creation success rate and were more likely to work more hours than those who did not learn about entrepreneurship.
But the impact of the students’ education was not as significant for the jobs they did manage to do.
The researchers said this finding suggests that successful entrepreneurs could benefit from having more students take up the skills they have acquired.
“If you’re trying to get people into a career, and you want to build an audience, and that’s where the opportunity is, it’s really good to have more people with the right kinds of skills,” McConaghey said.
It’s possible that effective education is just one piece of the puzzle.
“I think the big thing that I would point out is that this is a very small piece of a much larger puzzle that I think is an enormous part of entrepreneurship,” he added.
“This is a really good way to start a business that may not have been as successful as you might expect.”
A key finding is that the most effective students in the study had the highest success rate in the job market.
The most successful students also tended to work in fields where they had a strong foundation of business skills.
“The idea is that people who are good at the skills of entrepreneurship and business are really good at what they do, which is managing money and the like,” McConnaghey explained.
“You have to be able to manage money, and so you need to have a solid foundation of management and business skills.”
“But there are other things that are also good,” he continued.
“For example, if you have a good business plan, you can be really good with the finances.
And so it is a little bit like a business school.
But it’s not a bad place to start.”
The study also found that students who received an effective education were more than twice as likely to have landed a job as students who did nothing at all.
The impact on job success was also more pronounced for students who were at or above the average age of their graduating students.
The authors also found the impact on their job-skills was stronger for students with an early stage in their business venture, as well as those who were starting businesses on their own.
McConahed said he hopes the findings can be useful to other entrepreneurs, particularly in the startup sector, which may be one of the most challenging environments in which to find work.
“It may help to say that if we want to be really smart in the future, we need to look at the job landscape, the type of people who might want to get into this field, the types of skills they might need,” he explained.
In his research, McConahy also found students who had received an education about entrepreneurs also were more successful at starting businesses in industries where they were already well-known.
“These students are really well-recognized, they have their name, their logo, their brand and they have a long-term portfolio,” Mcconaghy said.
McConnaghy added that it’s important to recognize that successful students tend to work at a relatively young age.
“What we’re seeing is that when they’re younger, they’re really well connected to the community,” he concluded.
The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
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