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Contextualizing entrepreneurial learning in basic and vocational education

Lenita Hietanen (Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland)
Taina Järvi (Lapland Vocational College, Rovaniemi, Finland)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this study is to examine and model entrepreneurial learning processes as a continuum from non-business basic education to vocational education. Previous studies and policy programs in Europe suggest that entrepreneurship education should be a core part of the education system.


This is an action research piece of work in which two researchers (the authors) have first studied each other’s own data independently, and then combined these two sets of data. One data set has been collected in a non-business, basic education setting, whereas the other focuses on business studies in vocational education. Here, the entrepreneurial learning process is seen as a synthesis of experimentation with discovered and created opportunities and managing knowledge and competences through reflective practices and decision-making processes.


The main finding is that entrepreneurial learning can be enabled and may manifest itself as a useful process both in non-business and business school contexts. Another related essential finding is the importance of developing learners’ reflective practices.

Practical implications

This research aims to provide scientific evidence that different school levels should cooperate to establish entrepreneurial learning as a continuous process. This case has been researched in the Finnish educational system, but it may also prompt teachers at different school levels in other countries to enable their students’ entrepreneurial learning.


Although entrepreneurial learning has been researched frequently, there is still a lack of investigation concerning lower educational levels, especially non-business basic education. In addition, the point when growth to become entrepreneurial could begin has not been studied in depth. This research focuses on demonstrating how entrepreneurial learning can be planned and executed as a continuum at lower educational levels.



This paper was produced under the auspices of the YVI-project. YVI is a nationwide multi-science development and research project in Finland that aims to develop entrepreneurship education in teacher education, both vocational and general. The project is ESR-funded, with the Finnish National Board of Education as the financing authority. Additionally, the project receives funding from the Centre for School Clubs, the Turku Region Development Centre and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The paper includes a theoretical framework of the virtual course “Entrepreneurial action as a continuum of a process of personal growth and learning”. In the YVI-project this course is the output of the University of Lapland.


Hietanen, L. and Järvi, T. (2015), "Contextualizing entrepreneurial learning in basic and vocational education", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 45-60.



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