The Youth Entrepreneur Profile - Initial Steps - Part 1 of 4

The Youth Entrepreneur Profile - Initial Steps - Part 1 of 4
Anastasios Vasileiadis
by Anastasios Vasileiadis

Over the last decades many theoretical and empirical researchers tried to record the necessary for the entrepreneurial start up and growth, entrepreneurial competences, although many efforts focused on those competences that should be taught to the educational system and not to the task that an entrepreneur should cope with.

The present article proposes the profile of the youth entrepreneur and especially the functions, activities tasks and qualifications that he/she should do or meet in order to start and growth his/her enterprise. Empirical research is needed in order to verify and test the proposed profile.

Youth, entrepreneurship, profile, qualifications, knowledge, skills, competences

Many theories and approaches was supported for the explanation of the entrepreneurial phenomenon and these are related to personal characteristics, attitudes, environmental and economic factors. These theories also relates to the degree of entrepreneurial culture that a society has and to the personal cognitive state during the decision making procedure.

Of course most of the supported theories converge to the opinion that an entrepreneur should have several qualifications (Vasiliadis, A., Vitsilaki, C. and Efthimiou, H., 2009), which according to European Qualification Framework (European Commission, 2005) should be described in terms of three types of learning outcomes such as a) knowledge, b) skills and c) wider competences. Learning outcomes (personal and professional) refer to the “set of knowledge, skills and competences that an individual has acquired and/or is able to demonstrate after completion of a learning process and also are statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to do at the end of a period of learning” (European Commission, 2005)

Knowledge “is the facts, feelings or experiences known by a person and means the outcome of the assimilation of information through learning and is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of study or work (European Commission, 2005) such as entrepreneurship. Concerning skills in the European Qualification Framework working document (European Commission, 2005) these are defined as the knowledge and experience needed to perform a specific task or job and the personal ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems.

Moreover, skills also include the efficacy for the execution of a specific task, the perception that the skills are nominal while there are different types of skills such as vocational which are related to a specific profession. Additionally, Winterton, Delamare - Le Deist, & Stringfellow, (2005) support that the definition of skills is used for a specific level of performance, while Proctor & Dutta (1995) define skills as the targeted and well organized behavior and the required knowledge and experience for the execution of a specific task or project. Finally, skills usually refer to “a level of performance, in the sense of accuracy and speed in performing particular tasks (skilled performance)” (CEDEFOP, 2009).

Trying to define competences, the majority of researchers and practitioners support that these are the knowledge, skills and applied and mastered know-how in a specific task. Competence also are the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and/or personal development and includes: i) cognitive competence involving the use of theory and concepts, as well as informal knowledge gained with experience; ii) functional competence which is the tasks that a person should be able to do in a given area of work; iii) personal competence; and iv) ethical competence which are the possession of certain personal and professional values (European Communities, 2005).

Fulfilling a competence level an individual is able to use his or her knowledge, skills and wider competences according to the requirements posed by a particular context, a situation or a problem and is able to deal with complexity, unpredictability and change defines/determines his or her level of competence (EKEPIS, 2007).

Highlighting the importance of the qualifications that a person should acquire European Union (2006) propose eight (8) key competences for personal fulfillment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment, and among theme is the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. The sense of initiative and entrepreneurship refers to an individual ability to turn ideas into entrepreneurial action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the personal ability to plan and manage tasks in order to achieve these objectives. The acquired knowledge for this competence includes the ability to identify available opportunities for personal, professional and/or entrepreneurial activities, including issues for the context in which people live and work, such as understanding of the economy issues, and the opportunities and challenges facing an enterprise.

Skills are related to the project management, the ability to plan, organize, manage, lead and delegate, analyze, communicate, evaluate and record, effective representation and negotiation, and the ability to work individually and in teams. It also includes the ability to identify strengths and weaknesses, to assess and manage risks. An entrepreneurial attitude is characterized by initiative, pro-activity, independence and innovation in personal and social life, as much as at work. Finally it also includes motivation and determination to meet objectives, whether personal goals, or aims held in common with others, including at work.

In order to use the competences in the entrepreneurship topic it is necessary to identify and measure competences and competence development of entrepreneurs in a reliable and valid way (Lans et al., 2005). Moreover, new analytical frameworks and empirical research is needed to correlate thinking on entrepreneurship and competences (Dahlqvist, 1999). The identification and assessment of competences of entrepreneurs is important from a scientific as well as a practical point of view.

The present paper deals with the young entrepreneur profile and the basic learning outcomes for this. Moreover, the aim is to identify the functions, activities and tasks for the young entrepreneur and the necessary for these competences, because until today small amount of effort is posed for the youth entrepreneur profile and the necessary for the start up and entrepreneurial success qualifications. This research could contribute in the effective development of continuing education and training programmes which will be more related to the market needs.