Research Week 2017: Samuel Olutuase - The Effect of Entrepreneurship Education on Entrepreneurial Mindset, Skills and Intentions
With the ever-increasing global poverty rate and growing youth/undergraduate unemployment in South Africa, youth entrepreneurship is the way to go.
These are the findings of Dr Samuel Olutuase, who graduated with his PhD from the School of Business and Finance at the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) recent Spring Graduation.
The Nigerian-born researcher developed his ideas on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education over a lifetime of study and experience - especially from the University of Jos in Nigeria, where he completed a BSc (Hons) in Business Management and was employed as an academic...and went on to obtain a Master’s in Business Administration as well.
Dr Olutuase’s research focused on developing and testing a structured model to measure the effects of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurial mindset, skills and intentions of undergraduate students in Nigeria - like South Africa, one of the strongest economies on the continent, and with similar levels of graduate unemployment.
The outcome proved that entrepreneurship education is a potential tool for solving rising graduate unemployment in a developing country - by building skills that allow students to become job creators as well as change agents, and also to adapt to ever-changing business environments.
However, this potential has been significantly undermined by the poor entrepreneurial climate of academic institutions in which entrepreneurship is taught.
Entrepreneurship Education and the University
As Dr Olutuase explains, the entrepreneurial climate in an academic institution entails:
• Internal and External Networks.
All of these must be deliberately and carefully coordinated to breed entrepreneurial orientation - not only in staff members, but especially in students, in order to harness the entrepreneurial potential of the young, developing intellectual mind.
But what does this mean for South Africa?
Well, as Dr Olutuase says:
1. About 36% of the population represents youths between the age of 15 and 34.
2. This age bracket most represents those who are in Higher Education Institutions.3. Young minds are more malleable at this stage and education is a potent tool to promote critical thinking skills and adaptability - and thus entrepreneurship.
4. Therefore, they deserve a good blend of existing curricula with entrepreneurship education aimed at stimulating an entrepreneurial mindset, skills, and intention within the context of truly entrepreneurial graduates prepared to effect much needed socio-economic change.
Given these points, in time, South African Higher Education Institutions will - and must - produce graduates who are highly employable, and are more prepared to take on entrepreneurial careers, and be flexible and better able to cope with constantly-changing business cycles.
Dr Olutuase’s next move is to publish papers from his thesis in Department of Higher Education and Training accredited journals.
“That is already in the pipeline,” he says. “The next step is to conduct workshops and public lectures on the importance of entrepreneurship education at South African Higher Education institutions.”
One way forward, as Dr Olutuase advises, in collaboration with varsities’ management and other stakeholders, is that a national consortium on entrepreneurship education could be formed.
The consortium would drive the process of extensive national consultations on the subject matter, and design practical national entrepreneurship education policy and programmes for South Africa.