Measures to build entrepreneurship education in HE

African universities must forge partnerships with counterparts in industrialised nations and work to create and sustain entrepreneurship and enterprise development by equipping graduates with the skills needed to identify new business opportunities and to start up companies, or with the qualifications required by employers.

This was the main message from the 3rd annual conference, "Universities, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in Africa”, held on 14 November in Rheinbach, Germany.

"Universities can provide invaluable input into creating and sustaining entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprise, or SME, development,” according to the conference note.

"Partnerships with universities in industrialised countries, including their respective business networks, can accelerate the transformation towards employability-orientation of African institutions.

"Further, practice-oriented research and education partnerships will help universities from the industrialised world to understand the growing relevance of Africa as a market, and help include this insight in their teaching," the conference note pointed out.

Welcoming the conference outcome, Juma Shabani, former director of development, coordination and monitoring of UNESCO programmes with a special focus on Africa, told University World News: "This proposed partnership between universities in Africa and the developed world will help in knowledge and technology transfer, as well as benefiting from best practices in developing entrepreneurship education programmes within African universities."

The strengthening of weak entrepreneurship education within African universities was emphasised in an April 2014 report entitled Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs Around the World: Dimensions for success.

Entrepreneurship Education

Focused on advancing entrepreneurship education, the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report 2014, or AGER 2014, was launched on 18 November.

The report is published by Amway, in partnership with the chair for strategy and organisation of the school of management at Technische Universität München in Munich, Germany. It included South Africa for the first time as part of its 38 surveyed countries.

The AGER suggests that the following entrepreneurship education programmes should be taught at educational institutions, including universities:
  • • Basic business skills such as financial controlling, marketing and computer applications.
  • • Leadership and management skills and abilities such as decision-making, customer care, and leading and motivating employees.
  • • Entrepreneurship in practice such as business plans, business competitions, business simulations and mini-company programmes.
  • • Innovation, such as teaching of creativity and finding creative solutions to problems.
  • • Entrepreneurial role models: mentoring programmes and personal interaction with entrepreneurs.
  • • Learning from analysing entrepreneurial success stories.
Manar Sabry, an Egyptian higher education expert at the State University of New York, told University World News: “These entrepreneurship education programmes are vital as many of the small and medium enterprises that can help in reducing poverty and achieving economic growth in African countries fail to produce positive results and are not sustainable, mainly because of the lack of adequate education and training."

Echoing Sabry's views, Shabani said: "African countries must ensure that elements of entrepreneurship education are adequately integrated into the intended skills to be attained at the end of each university programme."