We are undergoing through a period of great change in the field of work. The advance of technology has progressed at such a rate that students are now training for jobs that may well no longer exist in five years. Simultaneously, new posts are being created that currently do not exist.
With such uncertainty in the regular job market, an increasing number of people are considering creating their own business. This, of course, requires a degree of entrepreneurial skills.
What are Entrepreneurial Skills?
Before you can learn how to identify and develop your entrepreneurial skills, you will need to first understand what they are. Entrepreneurial skills are a collection of technical, managerial, and personal skills.
There is no simple definition that can be used. However, the European Union has expressed concern that interest in becoming an entrepreneur is lower within the EU than in many other global competitors, including the United States.
There has consequently been an upsurge in research into this topic. The EU has produced a working definition to use in studies of entrepreneurship.
«Entrepreneurship is the ability of an individual to turn concepts into action. This will include creativity, innovation, and calculation of risk. It is also the ability to plan and implement projects to meet an objective».
The Organization for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD) has suggested the three main skill groupings that will be required by Entrepreneurs.
These are problem-solving, communication, technology implementation and use, interpersonal, organizational skills, and environment monitoring.
Planning & goal setting, HR management, decision-making, marketing, finance, customer relations, quality control, accounting, business launch, growth management, compliance with regulations skills, and negotiation.
Self-control and discipline, management of risk, persistence, leadership, change management, innovation, network building, and strategic thinking.
Current Levels of Entrepreneurship Skills.
In the last decade, the % of the population who would prefer to be self-employed:
- The USA, China, Korea & Brazil – 50%.
- The EU – 37%.
- Japan – 23%.
Only 34% of the individuals in the EU who think they might go self-employed within the next five years have taken an entrepreneurship course. Some 47% of EU citizens feel their formal education prepared them to be an entrepreneur, and only 28% of them think that formal education inspired them to become one.
In the USA, there has been a decline in entrepreneurial training in formal education. In 2009, 51% of students felt that their formal-education made them interested in being an entrepreneur. By 2012 this had dropped to just 39%.
Where entrepreneurship courses exist and were offered inside formal education structures, more Americans (26%) take the opportunity to undertake a course than Europeans (23%).
Who Possesses Entrepreneurship Skills?
Within the EU, most entrepreneurs are male, aged between 40 and 55, and educated to tertiary level. Figures for 2013 show that only 31% of self-employed people are women. The percentage of women varies between 39% and less than 25%, depending on the country.
Developing Entrepreneurship Skills.
The European Commission has stated that «Entrepreneurship is a Key Component of Life».
They have also decided that all young people should receive entrepreneurship education and have at least one opportunity to take part in at least one practical Entrepreneurship experience before leaving compulsory education.
So, certainly within Europe, there seems to be an awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship and that training opportunities are increasing.
Courses that will Develop Entrepreneurial Skills in Formal Education Structures.
Finance and Accounting.
As an entrepreneur, you will be responsible for the financial health of your business and understanding its income and expenditure. A finance or accounting class will provide the raw skills that are needed.
A large part of the role of an entrepreneur will be connected to marketing, and a potential entrepreneur would be advised to take a course that, at least, provides a background in marketing. An important lesson to learn here will be that you need to find the market before creating the product.
An economics class will prepare you to understand the realities of production, distribution, and consumption. It will also assist with understanding government policies that affect your business.
Your business will eventually have employees, and an important skill is how to select, employ, manage, and motivate those staff members. You will learn delegation, motivation, and collaboration.
Getting up to make a sales pitch can be one of the hardest tasks of an entrepreneur. This class is essential, particularly if you naturally lack confidence. At the very least, it will give you a chance to practice presentation skills.
Writing and Composition.
As an entrepreneur, you will need to write a lot. These could be business plans, website content, press releases, or a blog.
Whatever your current writing skills, this is a skill you should work on as a matter of urgency.
Even if your business is not technology-based, you will need to use computers, the Internet, and other technologies to manage your business. You need to understand significant software suites and how computers function.
Websites, online stores, and digital delivery are all technologies that you will most probably use in your business at some point. Understanding websites and being able to use them correctly is a valuable skill.
Entrepreneurial Skills Courses Outside the Formal Education Structure.
These days many people turn to the Internet to take online courses with specialist education providers. These may be an individual who has designed a course-specific to a particular industry or possibly online education providers.
These courses usually do not offer formal certification, and that may worry some people, however, if your reason is simply to learn a skill, then does it really matter?
In this article, we have looked at how to identify and develop your entrepreneurial skills. We hope this has given you a much broader understanding of the subject and pointed you towards a closer understanding of entrepreneurship. Self-employment and entrepreneurship is the way of the future in the current economic climate.
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