The Role of Entrepreneurship Educators and Researchers in Addressing the UN’s Sustainability and Development Goals

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Role of Entrepreneurship Educators and Researchers in Addressing the UN’s Sustainability and Development Goals

Monday, December 30, 2019

What Role Do Today’s Entrepreneurship Educators Play?

Last year I had the privilege of participating in the International Council for Small Business’ annual conference at the United Nations in celebration of the UN’s Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprise Day (MSME). The topic of my talk focused on the role of entrepreneurship educators and researchers in working with the UN to address its 17 Sustainability and Development Goals. I talked about the well known linkage between the level of entrepreneurial activity in any given region and its effect on economic development. I also talked about the idea of recognizing entrepreneurs as problem solvers, especially in the context of addressing social issues. Closely linked to this talk at last year’s conference, past ICSB President Ki-Chan Kim emphasized the importance of adopting a philosophy and practice of “humane entrepreneurship”. In fact, at the close of last year’s conference, all attending delegates engaged in a signing ceremony to endorse ICSB’s support for promoting and adopting a humane and empathetic approach to the formation and management of growth oriented ventures.

For purposes of this discussion, I think it is important to clarify what I mean by levels of entrepreneurial activity. As Acs (2006) points out in his work in connection with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) project, it is first important to define how we measure entrepreneurial activity. Measurement issues can significantly influence how we make inferences regarding regional economic development. The GEM Project differentiates between “necessity based” entrepreneurship and “opportunity based” entrepreneurship. Necessity based entrepreneurship implies that individuals resort to a simple form of self employment because there exists very little to no other options at established organizations. Thus for regions characterized by high levels of necessity based entrepreneurs, we may infer that economic development is suppressed due to the lack of higher paying alternative employment opportunities. Alternatively, opportunity based entrepreneurship implies that individuals proactively choose an entrepreneurial path because they have recognized an opportunity and endeavor to exploit it through creative or innovative means. Accordingly. there seems to be a greater chance of improved regional economic development in areas where opportunity based entrepreneurs can flourish. From this perspective, opportunity based entrepreneurs may be more prone to undertake the challenges of building growth oriented organizations and thus contributing to the viability of a region. (Read more…).

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