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Preamble

         To undertake could be one of the most important decisions someone makes in life. Entrepreneurship could be very good choice for people with disabilities.

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         The foundation that supports people in forming the business is their own motivation, willingness to be self-employed or run own business. What’s more, belief in business project and perseverance with the task prove essential in achieving goal.

         To minimise the risk at the start of setting up a business, potential business owners should develop certain skills and have some basic information at their disposal so that they are able to make good decisions and, as far as possible, minimise uncertainty through use of the relevant information.

         Before starting up a business or self-employment it is necessary to consider the main advantages and disadvantages of becoming an entrepreneur.

What are the Key Competences?

As recommended by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU of 18 December 2006 on key competences in the lifelong learning process, they are defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the situation.

Key competences are indispensable for every human being to self-fulfilment and personal development, to be an active citizen, social integration and employment.

Here are the 8 defined key competencies:

1) communicating in the mother tongue;

2) communicating in foreign languages;

3) mathematical competence

and basic scientific and technical competences;

4) IT competences;

5) ability to learn;

6) social and civic competences;

7) initiative and entrepreneurship;

8) cultural awareness and expression.

Our project concentrates on two competences: initiative and entrepreneurship.

                                                                                    

1/ Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship: what is it and how to improve it

 

1-1 Some definitions

One of the basic but difficult to answer questions is: What makes an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is an individual that wants to work for himself/herself, be self-employed or run his/her own business. Entrepreneurs set forth to achieve this goal despite the fact that sometimes the path is long and uncertain.

In order to establish a company, various resources are employed in order to achieve the desired results. This is why the process of creating business cannot be left to luck. This is especially true given the complexity of the current economic environment and ever increasing market competition. Both of these challenges demand greater preparation and competence.

From the moment someone decide to become an entrepreneur, she/he must start using  imagination in seeking out the opportunity that will be able to transform into a business. This is a process that requires varied and multifaceted qualities. The same qualities will be required throughout professional journey as potential entrepreneur come across different types of people, entities and organisations that she/he will need to deal with in order to achieve desired goal. Potential entrepreneur will need to make use of abilities and personal skills such as leadership capacity, motivation, personal integrity, interpersonal relations and communication. She/he will need an ability to make decisions, charisma, crowd psychology, creativity, etc.

 

1-2 Promoting entrepreneurship through education

Entrepreneurs are often seen as incentives for growth and job creation and a way to make the economy more competitive and creative. However, business support in addition to assisting entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs has the potential and provides management and financial support for building a business.

It also develops and encourages entrepreneurship in society, especially among young people, stimulates creativity, initiative and sense of responsibility and provides the necessary skills and knowledge to create and develop a business that operates. The reason for education and training is important to change culture and relax the mindset of young entrepreneurs. The importance of decision-makers is important.

Tradition as a person’s ability to transform thinking into entrepreneurship has evolved over time to cope with creativity, innovation and risk as well as the ability to create and operate. Entrepreneurship is a key competence for all who need to be promoted at all levels of education. (From elementary to university) and lifelong learning. The European Commission has used two frameworks that emphasize the importance of education and entrepreneurial education. A new education and training strategy was launched in November 2012. “Rethinking Education” and, in January 2013, An Entrepeneurial Action Plan.

In particular, the Commission calls on the Member States to strengthen entrepreneurship education at all levels and strengthen the links between education and employers. The European Parliament, recognizing initiative and entrepreneurship, is one of the keys to lifelong learning. The 2006 guide has supported entrepreneurial education in a number of ways since then.

 

1-3 Entrepreneurship education

         Europe faces many challenges that can only be surpassed with innovative and entrepreneurial youth, whose in their everyday life style has spirit and curiosity to think on new ways and has the courage to react and adapt to these challenges. In addition, a dynamic economy, which is innovative and can create the required jobs, will require a greater number of young people who are willing and able to be entrepreneurs. Young people start and achieve the growth of their commercial or social businesses or become inventors in the broader organizations they work for. As education is vital to improve young people’s attitudes, knowledge, skills and culture, it is important that entrepreneurship education is resolved soon. Training on entrepreneurship is important to provides the skills and knowledge that are vital to the development of business culture.

         According to the Key Competence Framework, this competence refers to individual’s ability to change his mind into action. It contains creativity, innovation and risk, as well as the ability to manage projects to achieve goals. The development of general thinking and basic skills of entrepreneurship can be complemented by providing more specific knowledge of business in each level and type of education.

         The Commission has long supported and helped to study entrepreneurship. As part of the education and training agenda, a strategic framework for European cooperation, education and training 2020, has, as the fourth long-term strategic objective, enhancing creativity and innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels of education and training. The European Commission continues to support the Europe 2020 strategy, which is essential for integrating creativity, innovation and business education into three main programs: Young on the Move, An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, and Innovation Union.

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/135en.pdf

 

1-4 Learning outcomes

         Defined as statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate on completion of a learning activity; they include any specific intellectual and practical skills gained. The second sub-section gives an overview of central guidelines to support teachers in implementing entrepreneurship education.

Specific learning outcomes

         The overall goal of entrepreneurship education is to give students the attitudes, knowledge and skills to act in an entrepreneurial way. These broad dimensions of entrepreneurship education have been broken down into various categories (see below) which provide the framework for the wide range of specific learning outcomes adopted by European countries. The model has been adapted from Heinonen and Poikkijoki. Of course, this is a tentative approach as the concept of learning outcomes in still under development and widely discussed, even more so in the area of transversal competences such as entrepreneurship. The following figures and comments give a first idea of the kind of learning outcomes related to entrepreneurship and explicitly stated in the curricula of European countries. The comparability between countries is limited as the understanding and use of learning outcomes varies nationally. A common European understanding and approach to learning outcomes for entrepreneurship education is still to be developed.

Attitudes

            Category 1. Self-awareness and self-confidence are the entrepreneurial attitudes which constitute the basis for all other aspects of entrepreneurship. They entail discovering and trusting in one’s own abilities which then allow individuals to turn their creative ideas into action. In many countries, these attitudes might be pursued as general education goals.

         Category 2. Taking the initiative and risk taking, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving are also fundamental, but they are also specific attributes of an ‘enterprising self’.

Knowledge

            Category 1. Knowledge of career opportunities and the world of work are learning outcomes that are not exclusively related to entrepreneurship, but usually form part of students’ general preparation for their future career choices. However, a sound knowledge of the nature of work and different types of work involve an understanding of what it is to be an entrepreneur. This knowledge also allows students to define and prepare their place in the world of work with a well developed awareness of opportunities and constraints.

            Category 2. Economic and financial literacy, including knowledge of concepts and processes that can be applied to entrepreneurship.

         Category 3. Knowledge of business organisation and processes is specific knowledge of the environment in which entrepreneurship is often applied.

Skills

            Category 1. Communication, presentation and planning skills as well as team work are transversal skills essential to entrepreneurs.

            Category 2. Practical exploration of entrepreneurial opportunities includes the various stages of the business set up process, including designing and implementing a business plan.

         The ongoing initiatives related to entrepreneurship education in a dozen countries show a range of activities, including closer cooperation between education and business, financial initiatives to fund pilot projects promoting entrepreneurship, the organisation of entrepreneurial competitions, the certification of entrepreneurial skills, the setting up and running of student training firms and last, but not least, teacher training and support.

         Finally, it is important to highlight, that the current picture of entrepreneurship education in Europe is viewed in a context where half of the countries are engaged in a process of educational reform. These ongoing changes often include the strengthening of entrepreneurship education among their objectives.

 

1-5 Benefits of entrepreneurship

         An entrepreneur is a business-minded person who always finds ways to improve and grow in business. An entrepreneur can also be defined as a professional who discovers a business opportunity to produce improved or new goods and services and identifies a way in which resources required can be mobilised.

         Finally, an entrepreneur is someone who constantly scans the environment looking for changes that can provide opportunities for creating new growth-oriented businesses. Entrepreneurs assume significant accountability for the risk and the outcomes of new enterprises, ventures or business ideas. An effective and successful entrepreneur shows creativity and innovation in business and become an example for other people.

An entrepreneur is an individual who:

·         Has the ability to identify and pursue a business opportunity;

·         Undertakes a business venture;

·         Raises the capital to finance it;

·         Gathers the necessary physical, financial and human resources needed to operate the business venture;

·         Sets goals for him/herself and others;

·         Initiates appropriate action to ensure success; and

·         Assumes all or a major portion of the risk!

An entrepreneur is a job-creator not a job-seeker

An entrepreneur is a person who:

·         Has a dream

·         Has a vision

·         Is willing to take the risk

·         Makes something out of nothing

 

1-6 Key skills for entrepreneurs

         Although there is no exact combination of characteristics that must be fulfilled to become a good business person, below we indicate some that can help in performance of professional tasks:

·         Ability to learn

·         Creativity and innovation.

·         Intuition. Ability to detect opportunities.

·         Ability to work without direct supervision. Being responsible and making demands of one-self.

·         Self-motivation and eagerness to carry through the projects at hand.

·         Self-esteem. Confidence in the achievement of success and belief in one’s self.

·         Ability to take decisions and take on risks.

·         Ability to dedicate and exert one’s self in order to resolve problems.

·         The will, initiative and fortitude to carry projects forward and sustain positions already gained. Perseverance in the attainment of established goals.

·         Thorough planning. Optimise organisation of activities and coordination of resources.

·         Communication qualities.

·         Ability to choose collaborators well.

·         Negotiation capacity.

·         Flexibility in dealing with events and economic crises and ability to evolve with it.

         Remember, before setting forth with your business, one of the principal analyses you must undertaking is with regards to your own skills. You can then seek develop those which are lacking.

         Ideally an entrepreneur should be equipped with the greatest possible number of abilities or capacities for the undertaking. However, this is not always possible and as such we should concentrate on those which form the foundation of what would be an ideal entrepreneur. The various key skills required to be a good business person can be categorised as personal and social.

 

1-7 Importance of entrepreneurship

Ø  Financial independence. Employment offers on the labour market for people with disabilities are very limited in terms of professions and economic sectors.

Ø  Flexibility in terms of place of work (using modern technology tools) and working hours.

Ø  Satisfaction and feeling self-confident.

Ø  Self-employment is more secure that paid employment and allows the person with disability to work different hours.

Ø  Allows a person with disability to follow his/her talent or passion.

Ø  Allows to develop entrepreneurial skills and leads to personal growth.

Ø  Keeps person with disability engaged and focused on his/her work not disability.

                       

2/ Checklist

            A client who wants to be successful with her/his idea should keep in mind:

1.    The “perfect entrepreneur” does not exist, but certain skills will be a great help in your journey.

2.    Innovate and create. Seek new business opportunities, new alliances or new work practices that differentiate you from the rest. Discover new pathways, services and products.

3.    Take risks and manage uncertainties. In a society that gives priority to safety, the entrepreneur takes risks and knows how to live with uncertainty.

4.    Confidence, perseverance and dedication. We are talking about a medium-term project that requires confidence in oneself, persistence of effort and every day work. An analysis carried out over a short time period (at a moment of economic strength or weakness for example) will likely give a result that does not properly reflect the reality.

5.    Observation capacity. The ability to scrutinise and analyse events and potential developments around you will allow you to anticipate and find accurate solutions.

6.    Draw on the experience of others. There will be others that have followed or are following a similar path to yours. It is important to learn from their successes and failures in decision making.

7.    Willingness to learn. What we know today may not be applicable tomorrow (a new I.T. Tool, a new accounting model…). The entrepreneur evolves and applies the appropriate measures according to her surroundings.

8.    Organise, direct, communicate. You must learn how to co-ordinate teams of individuals and correctly manage material and economic resources. Also, how to communicate and have the conviction to transmit your ideas

         When a learner start up an innovative idea, it is very important to keep in mind what personal and social skills the learner owns, and which should be strengthen. These skills will let them have a good basis to face the -sometimes hard- process to realize their idea of company or small business.

         Knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important will allow them to solve many problems, will help them to organize their workload, and will make possible to waste less time and resources in having an efficient performance.

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