Written By : Dr. Nabil Shalaby
For many years, people repeated the Chinese old proverb "Don’t give me a fish, but teach me how to fish". I think catching few fishes are not enough. So I adapted the statement to be "Don’t give me a fish, but teach me how to start and operate a (fish farm)”. I believe we have to teach each startup entrepreneur, how to start and operate his "fish farm" successfully, which represents a symbol of his/her small business. This is really the in-depth philosophy of the entrepreneurship training programs should be.
Topics of entrepreneurship training include entrepreneurship opportunity identification, innovation, decision making, finance, accounting, operations, ethics, leadership, marketing, business law, technology, human resources, strategies, social responsibility, life-work balance, and culture. In brief, I think entrepreneurship training requires entrepreneurial trainers and actually redefines the job of training.
I strongly believe that entrepreneurship should be taught at the high school levels, and even to some degrees, earlier than that. The problem we have with education, I've seen in the Arab countries is that we teach kids to leverage on their skills, not on their passion. Skills are defined by someone else's perception; it strengthens an external focus of control. Passion is defined internally. Then it becomes about being better than yourself every day, not about being better than anybody else. That gives the individual a sense of progress and freedom and empowerment. You can do a job because you have the right skills, but you can build a complete life which you are passionate.
Entrepreneurship training to start a company helps trainees think in adding value, innovation, managing their money, but most importantly, gives themselves honor and dignity. We must train them in order to be successful, more likely "make a job" than "take a job".
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