|Training Entrepreneurs for Small Business Creation: Lessons from Experience (ILO, 1988, 154 p.)|
The Entrepreneurship Institute is a non-profit-making corporation specialising in the formulation of strategies designed to create jobs by assisting entrepreneurs to start or develop firms. Programmes are offered on a consulting basis to client organisations. The following programmes are conducted:
(a) the Community Entrepreneurial Development Project drawing on the involvement and financial support of the community within which the programme is conducted. The Institute organises a local directorship of bankers, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurial support services;
(b) custom-designed programmes for specialised client organisations and target groups, e.g. redundant workers.
The programme consists of five activities:
(a) the building of entrepreneurial support networks;
(b) the canvassing, identification and selection of candidates;
(c) the provision of information and contacts for use in starting and developing the business;
(d) involvement of the local directorship and others in the community in implementing the programme;
(e) follow-up programmes to provide continuous support for the entrepreneur.
Identification, recruitment and selection of trainees
The following is adapted from a description of the procedure proposed by the Entrepreneurship Institute for a project to provide redundant workers with an opportunity to start their own businesses.
The identification of eligible participants for the programme and the preparation of these participants for formal training in how to start and operate their own businesses. This phase will span three months and will encompass the following tasks:
(a) Recruitment/marketing. The preliminary 200 potential participants are obtained through a combination of UAW (United Autoworkers Union) pre-selection and paid newspaper campaigns.
(b) Preliminary questionnaire. Applicants who go to the local UAW office will fill out a preliminary questionnaire developed by the Entrepreneurship Institute. This gives an idea of the applicants qualifications, aptitudes and business orientation.
(c) Pre-business workshop. All applicants are invited to attend a one-day, pre-business workshop which discusses questions such as: Are you really interested in business? Do you have what it takes? How do you start a business? The workshop generates enthusiasm and interest while acting at the same time as a self-selecting screening device.
(d) Selection test. A selection test will be administered at the pre-business workshop to approximately 200 applicants. This is designed to probe a little deeper into their abilities and attitudes, and acts as a cross-check of the preliminary questionnaire.
(e) Preliminary selection. After the preliminary questionnaires and selection tests are scored and evaluated, initial selection is made of those applicants who match the entrepreneurial profile. It is estimated that between 60 and 80 of the original 200 will be chosen for the next phase of the programme.
(f) Selection interview. This is the key step in the process. Every applicant must be personally interviewed in order to be accepted in the training programme. Final selection will be limited to 35 eligible individuals plus five reserves who can take the place of any of the original 35 who later decide that they do not have the ability to start their own companies.
(g) Announcement of final selections and invitation to the Business Enterprise Concept Paper Seminar. Individuals selected to participate in the rest of the programme will be invited to the Business Enterprise Concept Paper Seminar. (Individuals not selected can be offered alternatives by the appropriate persons.) The Seminar will be a one-week workshop lasting eight hours daily and covering some of the following topics:
- determining entrepreneurial characteristics;
- entrepreneurial motivation;
- goal setting;
- creative thinking about your business;
- selecting your business;
- ways of getting into business;
- the business plan;
- researching and preparing the business plan.
The objectives of the Seminar are to identify personal strengths and weaknesses of the selected individuals to help them clarify their goals in life as well as in their businesses, to stimulate new ideas and ways of thinking entrepreneurially, and to help them identify a specific business and/or programme for an existing business which they will write up in preparation for attending the Entrepreneurship Forum.
(h) Market research. Following the Business Enterprise Concept Paper Seminar, each participant will be instructed to develop a marketing plan for his or her company and conduct preliminary market research. A locally based consultant designated by the Institute will serve in a tutorial capacity, helping all participants to clarify their market research and plans as preparation for attendance at the Entrepreneurship Forum.
Business opportunity guidance
The following adapted extract describes the process of identifying a business opportunity.
The identified participants in the programme will be integrated into the mainstream of entrepreneurship by participating in one of the Entrepreneurship Institutes two-day Forums. The goal of participation in the Forum is to provide participants with an introduction to those business resources that can assist them in launching their businesses, as well as to integrate them into the mainstream of entrepreneurship. Specific tasks include:
(a) the identification of eligible participants who will be introduced to the network of resources in the communities in which they are planning to start their businesses by attending a regional Entrepreneurship Forum;
(b) the introduction of trainees by the Institutes personnel to individuals that can help them the most. Specific workshops are held, where participants are given an opportunity to discuss their business concepts with bankers, lawyers, accountants, etc.;
(c) attendance at the Forum as a valuable training experience for participants, as well as a second phase in the screening process.
This intensive small-group business development phase of the programme is critical in providing participants with a self-employment opportunity. This phase spans six months and involves direct small-group counselling between and among the participants and the Institutes professional staff. Specific activities include:
(a) six-monthly business planning sessions conducted by professionals and designed to prepare an effective business plan for participants in a team atmosphere;
(b) assistance to the potential entrepreneurs in taking their business plans to the persons whom they have met in Phase II. This activity will reinforce the entrepreneurs integration into the entrepreneurial network;
(c) advice and counselling in finding the appropriate resources to launch the participants business, including public and private sector resources, and preparation for the necessary business planning presentation.
THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
3592 Corporate Drive, Suite 100
United States 43229-4988