Novice Entrepreneurs Training Needs Analysis.
This paper shows the results of the research project named “Design of the career and management of the enterprising talent” (ref. EDU2013-45704-P). Funds were provided by the National R&D Programme 2013-2016 of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness – http://www.transitions.careers/ (this organization is not responsible for the views expressed). The project is still in progress under the leadership of Magdalena Suárez-Ortega (firstname.lastname@example.org). The aim of the project is to define a training strategy to advice and motivate to be entrepreneur. The main objective is to stimulate and encourage self-employed and entrepreneur professional careers.
Since the mid-1980s, there have been fundamental changes in ways of working, in labor relationships, and in professional careers. Some of these changes are related to the global social changes that have occurred in the last decades. In fact, “literature implicitly supports the idea of short term careers which lead to greater long term success” (Palomares-Montero and Chisvert-Tarazona, 2015, p. 531). In this context, the present work is related with employment counseling field for the development in turn of new professional careers.
Entrepreneurship is conceptualized as a term linked to the creation of a business project, but also close to an attitude of life for developing the vital project. In fact, European Commission (2006) describes entrepreneurialism as the individual’s ability to turn ideas into action and includes creativity, innovation, and calculated risks, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. This definition suggests that entrepreneurship can be applied to range of different environments, not only to socio-economic settings.
Following this understanding, we define an entrepreneur as a person, who recognizes him/herself and the others, who knows him/her environment, him/her opportunities and limitations, who deludes him/herself to bring up a project and who learn from victories but also from failures because he or she recognize that both are necessary to move up.
In this context, it is recommended to analyze and observe the entrepreneur talent in all educational levels. The choice of being entrepreneur in a professional career favors the naturalization of the concept and taking the initiative to face challenges. This makes necessary to study the entrepreneur and business profile that helps us to improve the personal and professional welfare condition along the career.
Padilla (2013) identified general employment counseling needs and particular needs related with self-employment and entrepreneurial competencies. Therefore it is recommended to answer those needs facilitating guidance and counseling in the transition stage for being entrepreneur by giving information and resources (Morales, 2008; Padilla, 2013). The study also explains that a knowledgeable entrepreneur also enables them to invest in their various fields. The question is to what extent the existing level of skills and knowledge of entrepreneurs and what training requirements needed by novice entrepreneurs to face the market? We try to go further by finding educational proposals for novice entrepreneurs training needs, people who are in the first phases of their entrepreneurial project.
In order to determine the novice entrepreneurs training needs, that is needs from people who are in a transition stage for being entrepreneur, we have applied the Delphi technique. The Delphi approach is a “method of structuring communication among groups of people able to provide valuable contributions to the resolution of complex problems” (Palomares-Montero and García-Aracil, 2011). The aim of this method is to create a collective view of experts on a subject; in our case, on training needs of novice entrepreneurs based in the experience of the panel. The key lies on the successive reiteration of a questionnaire. In this research, two phases were carried out and the average results were fed back into the second round, in order to reach consensus. The panel was composed by sixteen specialists. The number of participants in this research is in the range of appropriateness proposed by various experts (Cabero and Infante, 2014; Landeta, 2002).
As Flick (2009) notes, the respondent is of greater interest in his/her quality as an expert in this field of study than as a whole person; which is why we selected people from different professional fields whose have in common their recent start as entrepreneur (its entrepreneurial project is less than two years old). The heterogeneity of the participants and the anonymity of their responses prevent the domination group effects and ensure the validity of results (Cabero and Infante, 2014). The assertions made allowed for the introduction of a forum for discussion that helped to understand the social reality. Participants were able to make observations and to assess the suitability (agreement/disagreement with the statements) and relevance (interest rate by reference to the aim of the research) of each of the statements introduced in the survey.
Following Guba’s indications (1983) on the application of a qualitative methodology, saturation has been the followed strategy of credibility, consisting of gathering sufficient evidence from the repetition of contributions in the Delphi. In regards to applicability, descriptive and interpretive statements are provided allowing for comparison with similar contexts, thus endowing consistency. Neutrality is taken into account by making explicit the initial methodological assumptions. To define consensus we considered the rule applied by other authors (Rowe and Wright, 1999; Landeta, 2006): consensus can be said to be achieved if an item in a two-choice question receives a 70% response or if an item in a multiple-choice question receives a 50% response.
One way to achieve consensus among a group of experts is to examine responses and correct for bias. Thus, after the first round we analyzed the responses and sent the panel results to the experts involved to allow a re-thinking of their responses. In our case, the sample of experts was not random and was based on experience as entrepreneur being necessary to be novice. Thus, we did not need respondents’ self-evaluations to establish their expertise.
In general, experts were aware of the advantages of learning some competencies to set up an entrepreneur project. They agreed that learning capacities, decision-making, planning & organization, team work, context adaptation, fault tolerance and knowledge about the sector or product are useful to be success on being entrepreneur. Experts recognized that these competencies are, in general, more useful than being qualified in general knowledge related to formal or legal aspects of the enterprise and/or to labor aspects as the management of salaries. In general, they achieved considerable consensus on the description of strategic planning and analysis of the local, national and/or international market as useful knowledge for being a novice entrepreneur. Especially they highlight marketing strategies, sales planning and being expert in the sector/product/service. There was no agreement among the experts on the description related to required resources to start the entrepreneur project. Therefore, we cannot highlight any particular resource as more useful than the others (chamber of commerce, consulting, networking and so on).
We expect to find significant differences between gender and group of age (still in progress).
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