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Learning to Evolve: Increasing Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and Putting the Market First

Entrepreneurship Education

ISBN: 978-1-78714-281-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-280-0

ISSN: 2040-7246

Publication date: 24 May 2017

Abstract

Interpreting venture creation as a process of learning allows potential entrepreneurs to help themselves, and develop the skills and competences they required for business. The effectiveness of a learning-based approach to enterprise education is explored here. This study examines changing perceptions and performances of business students as they complete a new venture creation module. In this course, students are invited to interpret the start-up process as a process of learning, using an evolutionary metaphor. Several key findings were revealed. First, the evolutionary learning approach increased the self-efficacy of participants, as their self-belief and confidence in their ideas and abilities increased over the course of the module. This increase was even more pronounced within a sub-group who started their businesses within six months of completion of the course. Second, by adopting the ‘learning to evolve’ approach, participants increasingly focused changes made to their ideas on marketing-related issues. The more the individual focused on marketing as a source of change, the better the improvement in quality of the idea. This research has implications for enterprise educators and practicing entrepreneurs. When one shifts the focus of attention to the external world, and when changes are driven by signals from that external world, the quality of emerging opportunities is enhanced. Moreover, self-efficacy increases as nascent entrepreneurs gain confidence and self-belief both in their ideas, and the skills needed to make them happen. The shift in perspective towards the external market is the key driver in triggering the entrepreneurial process. The approach thus promotes the notion that the entrepreneurship option is open to all who can ‘learn to evolve’.

Keywords

Citation

Breslin, D. (2017), "Learning to Evolve: Increasing Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and Putting the Market First", Entrepreneurship Education (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 7), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 17-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-724620170000007007

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited