Entrepreneurial education (EE) can be considered one of the ways of solving socioeconomic issues in emerging countries by developing the entrepreneurial capacities of its citizens. Thus, they may decrease the unemployment rate in developing countries (Boahemaah et al., 2020) and, in its turn, positively affect their citizens’ well-being (Dalmarco, Hulsink, and Blois, 2018; Woodside, Bernal, and Coduras, 2016). Furthermore, EE programs enable the dissemination of entrepreneurial culture nationwide so that they contribute to the productivity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem (Kshetri, 2014).
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One of the well-known EE programs available to Brazilian people is the National Programme for Entrepreneurship Education (PNEE) of SEBRAE, Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises. Although the PNEE courses are free of charge, they seem to efficiently provide school and university students with entrepreneurial skills (OECD, 2020). According to João and Silva (2020), EE programs may develop a positive mindset toward entrepreneurship. Other benefits for EE learners include gaining self-confidence and high motivation to start a business (Doucet, 2010).
However, Borges et al. (2018) have found that Brazilian policymakers support existing business projects rather than increasing the entrepreneurial capacities of its citizens through EE programs. In their study, Borges et al. (2018) scrutinized 94 state policies of 2013 on entrepreneurship and classified them into eight categories following the policy model proposed by Lundstrom and Stevenson. This study revealed that while 45.5% and 31.9% of state policies focused on start-up financing and start-up support had 45.5% and 31.9 %, only 5.3% and 9.6% of them considered entrepreneurship education and promoting entrepreneurship (Borges et al., 2018). Thus, the attention given to operating business ventures is six times higher than to the spread of EE programs and explaining their essentiality in reaching success.
As only 0.75% of Brazilian companies have grown steadily within their first five years (OECD, 2020), it can be an indicator of either the ineffectiveness of EE programs to the existing enterprises or of their insufficient promotion. As a result, despite the fact that Brazil is high ranked in entrepreneurial activities, these enterprises fail to grow sustainably. It would, therefore, be beneficial to assess the effectiveness of the EE programs on the performance of the established enterprises.
To contribute to the growth of entrepreneurial activities in the country and their further sustainability, this research has set the following objectives: first, to identify the entrepreneurs’ attitudes towards EE programs; second, to explore how the entrepreneurs benefited from EE programs; and, finally, how their new knowledge affected on the performance of their enterprises.
Previous research has established a positive impact of EE on students’ attitudes towards entrepreneurship and their intentions to start a business (Boahemaah et al., 2020; Srirejeki and Faturokhman, 2020). In a quasi-experimental study conducted in Indonesia, Srirejeki and Faturokhman (2020) have found that experimental group students’ intentions to be engaged in entrepreneurial activities were almost twice higher after taking entrepreneurship classes.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship education programs seem to contribute to developing the students’ entrepreneurial skills (Hahn et al., 2020; Stettiner et al., 2015). According to Hahn et al. (2020), the students of both compulsory and elective entrepreneurship courses in Switzerland have improved their entrepreneurial capacities as a result of their motivation.
Although the studies above highlight the role of EE on the students’ entrepreneurial attitudes and skills, the studies that evaluated the effectiveness of EE programs in their lives are scarce. Moreover, much of the previous research focused more on undergraduate and graduate students than on experienced entrepreneurs. One of them can be the study conducted by Doucet (2010) in Los Angeles, the United States of America. This study revealed that EE can have a “profound” impact on young people’s personalities (Doucet, 2010, p. 130). According to Doucet (2010), the respondents of the study from students with low esteem and fear of being in the spotlight grew into highly motivated and courageous individuals due to the EE program. Even though Doucet’s (2010) study corroborated the benefits of the NFTE program, it had focused on young people who received EE in their middle and high school years.
This research, therefore, will investigate the role of EE programs for established entrepreneurs in developing their entrepreneurial activities. As noted by Bruyat and Julien (2001), an enterprise that has one member differs considerably from one that has several members. Therefore, any growth in entrepreneurial activity might require new knowledge and new skills. Thus, exploring whether the EE programs correspond to the companies’ growing needs might be beneficial to policymakers in fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem across the country.
Concepts, Indicators, Variables, Hypothesis
According to Fayolle et al. (2006) (cited in Srirejeki and Faturokman, 2020, p. 2), entrepreneurship education can involve any education program that aims at developing entrepreneurial qualities in the learners. In addition, entrepreneurship education programs, depending on their purpose, can be divided into four groups (Linnan (2004) cited in Srirejeki and Faturokman, 2020, p. 3): entrepreneurial awareness education, education for start-up, education for entrepreneurial dynamism, and continuing education for entrepreneurs. As this study will focus on the established entrepreneurs who have at least three years-experience, the third and fourth types of EE programs will be evaluated.
As this study employs a qualitative research design, the benefits of the EE programs will be identified through the perceptions of the participants on their skills and knowledge. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these programs can be measured by comparing the income of enterprises before and after taking EE courses.
This study will be cross-sectional and retrospective because it seeks to learn the role of the entrepreneurship education programs the participants attended in their entrepreneurial activities. As the data from participants will be collected using semi-structured interviews without treatment, this study will be non-experimental.
Method and Data Collection
For this study, semi-structured interviews will be employed to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the EE programs in the participants’ entrepreneurial activities.
Population and Sampling
The potential population of this research is the entrepreneurs who are consulting with NPEE course trainers and have owned their enterprises or start-ups for more than three years. To sample this population, first, the questionnaire will be developed on SEBRAE’s official site. This questionnaire will cover the personal information on entrepreneurs’ age, place of living, contact number, and the questions related to their company such as the longevity of their enterprises, field of business, and the number of company members. Ten respondents who will agree to be interviewed and meet the research criteria will be interviewed in one-on-one phone interviews, selecting two respondents from each federal state.
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Manpower, Budget, and Planning
Manpower and Budget
This research will be written and conducted entirely by the researcher. Therefore, no money is required.
Task and Time Planning
|Tasks||# of hours||Months|
|1. Creating and piloting an interview protocol based on the previous studies||5||Month 1|
|2. Creating questionnaire questions to the SEBRAE’s official site||1||Month 1|
|3. Contacting SEBRAE members to get permission to advertise the questionnaire||1||Month 1|
|4. Contacting respondents and making arrangements to a phone interview||3||Month 2|
|5. Collecting data||10-15||Month 2|
|6. Transcribing available data||40||Month 2|
|7. Data analysis||50||Month 3|
|7. Writing and submitting findings||20||Month 4|
Problems and Limitations
The first limitation might be the lack of a quantitative part of the study, which might make it hard to generalize the findings. However, the researcher will sample individuals so that they will be from various contexts.
Another limitation might be the sampling procedure because the desired number of respondents might be achieved. If this will be the case, snowball sampling, where participants are recruited by involving acquaintances of potential participants, will be employed.
Boahemaah, L. et al. (2020) ‘The impact of entrepreneurship education on the entrepreneurial intention of students in tertiary institutions’, International Journal of Management, Accounting and Economics, 7(4), pp. 123-146.
Borges, C. et al. (2018) ‘Entrepreneurship policy in Brazil: its focus and gaps’, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 34(2), pp. 183-203.
Bruyat, C. and Julien, P.A. (2001) ‘Defining the field of research in entrepreneurship’, Journal of Business Venturing, 16(2), pp. 165-180.
Dalmarco, G., Hulsink, W. and Blois, G.V. (2018) ‘Creating entrepreneurial universities in an emerging economy: evidence from Brazil’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 135, pp. 99-111.
Doucet, L. (2010) Post-evaluation of an entrepreneurship porgram [sic] for inner-city youth. PhD thesis. Pepperdine University.
Hahn, D. et al. (2020) ‘The impact of entrepreneurship education on university students’ entrepreneurial skills: a family embeddedness perspective’, Small Business Economics, 55(1), pp. 257-282.
João, I.M. and Silva, J.M. (2020) ‘Developing an entrepreneurial mindset among engineering students: encouraging entrepreneurship into engineering education’, IEEE Revista Iberoamericana de Tecnologias del Aprendizaje, 15(3), pp. 138-147.
Kshetri, N. (2014) Global entrepreneurship: environment and strategy. Routledge.
OECD (2020) SME and entrepreneurship policy in Brazil 2020, OECD studies on SMEs and entrepreneurship. Paris: OECD Publishing. Web.
Srirejeki, K. and Faturokhman, A. (2020) An experimental study on the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education. Economy Transdisciplinarity Cognition, 23(1), pp. 116-125.
Stettiner, C.F. et al. (2015) ‘Teachers’ entrepreneurial profile: case study’, International Education Studies, 8(12), pp. 1-12.
Woodside, A.G., Bernal, P.M. and Coduras, A. (2016) ‘The general theory of culture, entrepreneurship, innovation, and quality-of-life: comparing nurturing versus thwarting enterprise start-ups in BRIC, Denmark, Germany, and the United States’, Industrial Marketing Management, 53, pp. 136-159.