The purpose of this paper is to approach the debate surrounding the role of business plans in enterprise/entrepreneurship education from a different perspective; that of the student. The paper argues that much of the consternation within this stubborn debate derives from a lack of appreciation of the context actually occurring in the lives of our students. The paper aims to explore several arguments directly related to these contexts.
The approach is to build around a combining of cycles of reflective practice via the authors’ iterative consultation with each other. The paper seeks to explore the world of the student via an enfolding of the literature, but ultimately we do not claim to have hidden our personal biases.
It is important to separate enterprise education (EE) from entrepreneurship education when discussing the role of the business plan. While the business plan has a place in the latter, it makes little sense for it to be a focal learning activity in the former. In addition, we see this outcome as a positive outcome for our field with little point in continuing on with what has become a fairly pointless debate.
The paper concludes that once EE is viewed as being distinctly different from entrepreneurship education it is free to be considered with more precision what learning needs exist. Focusing on learning needs changes the direction of the discussion, with the business plan only up for discussion if it contributes a learning activity related to pre-determined learning outcomes.
The paper offers a constructive way forward from a debate that has been beset with extreme vested interests for too long.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited