For many years researchers and practitioners tried to investigate the competency-based education (Stoof, 2005), and the qualifications that should be taught to young people in order to be successful entrepreneurs.
This method of curriculum development does not necessarily consider the content as the starting point, but the competencies that should be acquired in order to be successful in a certain task or job (Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, 2010). Competencies are seen as characteristics that a person brings to a job situation, which can result in effective and/or superior performance in such job (Boyatzis, 1982) and include among others motives and traits, social role and self-concept, knowledge and skills (Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, 2010. Boyatzis, 1982. Spencer and Spencer, 1993).
Concerning entrepreneurs, it seems that they do not have specific jobs but the have tasks to comply with as the run their enterprise (Bird, 2002). Therefore, Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, (2010) posed the question: what are the entrepreneurial competencies that the entrepreneurial education and training should address for entrepreneurs? This question is more important as far as it concerns young people and the tasks that a youth person should fulfill in order to start and run successfully an enterprise and the qualification that he/she should meet.
Boyatzis (1982) supports that competences are the underlying characteristic exhibited by a person that can result in effective and/or superior in a job, and based on this definition Bird (1995) supports that entrepreneurial competencies are the personal characteristics which result in new venture creation, survival, and/or growth. According to the level of exhibition, entrepreneurial competencies are categorized as a) threshold which are those considered as baseline or at a minimum standard, and include the competencies required to successfully start an enterprise and b) success competences which are those for going beyond start up into organizational survival and growth (Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, 2010).
Few basic approaches can be distinguished according to Lans et al (2005) for competence based education, with the first to focus on personal traits and characteristics, and the second on competences. Personal and psychological factors are important for entrepreneurial success and Lans et al (2005) supports that competences are a) context-bound, b) subject to change, c) connected to activities and tasks, d) subject to learning and development processes and e) they are interrelated.
A second method consists of the behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS). BARS are used to identify criteria for effective performance, using evaluation of job performance and the third method is the action research (Morgan, 1988) which promotes self-reflective enquiry and team work by managers. Finally, Caird (1992) proposes another method for describing the competences. This analysis is a known technique for curriculum development and concerns the analysis of task related to a certain job or profession. Specific knowledge, skills and competences for each task should be met for the profile of the entrepreneur.
A question that should be addressed is which are the qualifications that a youth entrepreneur should meet in order to start and growth his/her enterprise? According to Bird (1995) different levels of entrepreneurial competencies are exhibited by individuals who start an enterprise or carry out changes in existing organizations, but he also points out that research is mixed, especially when the success criteria is considered. Furthermore, Spencer and Spencer, (1993) supports that competencies can include: recognizing the relevance of relationships in a business context, high quality of work, assertiveness, self-confidence, and taking actions to overcome obstacles.
At the knowledge and skill level, finance/cash management, engineering, accounting, marketing, and sales have been frequently cited as important topics for entrepreneurship (Hood and Young, 1993) and also leadership, communication, and human relations are crucial for entrepreneurial success. An other basic skill is creativity, (Kuratko and Hodgetts, 2004. Ronstad, 1985) and this presupposes differentiation, persistence and curiosity by individuals who should generate new and innovative ideas.
Other competencies that are proposed for the entrepreneurial success are the tolerance for ambiguity, the opportunity recognition and evaluation, networking, intuitive thinking, and identifying and solving problems, and team building skills (DeTienne and Chandler, 2004. Garavan and O’Cinneide, 1994. Lindsay and Craig, 2002. Man and Lau, 2000. Ronstad, 1985. Shane, 2000. Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, 2010. Bird, 1988). Moreover, the extant literature highlights the importance of decision making competency as crucial within the entrepreneurial process for its implications (Izquierdo and Deschoolmeester, 2010. Busenitz and Barney, 1997. Eisenhardt, 1989. Smith, Gannon, Grimm, and Mitchell, 1988).