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Chapter I


Pedro Alonso García, Juan A. Moriano León and Francisco J. Palací Descals


Different factors have an effect on the self-employment development in the advanced economies. On the one hand, the continuing public deficit reduction policies make the number of new job positions in the public sector decrease considerably. Likewise, the companies emphasize on decentralizing the labour and outsourcing in favour of self-employment. Along with all these, the impact of new technologies on information also provokes a significant growth of self-employment.

Some authors, when studying the changes in the labour world that are taking place now, believe that we are heading increasingly for a more self-employed and interrelated job and types of organization more connected to the person, considered as an essential part of the big company (Ontiveros, 2001).

All this explains that in the last few years self-employment has grown much more than the rest of the workforce. Nevertheless, in contrast to the United States, where more than 10% of the workforce is self-employed, the situation in the European Union does not experience the same level of development. Therefore, it is important to develop a culture that will favour the entrepreneurial values and a training program that will help succeeding in the process of setting up new companies.


  • Explain the reasons for carrying out this programme
  • Know the characteristics of the entrepreneur programme
  • Present new professional horizons in the field of entrepreneurs training


The following describes the main characteristics of the European educational policy and the adult training initiative. Within those initiatives we found the project “LUCES: Cognitive Abilities” which purpose is to identify the efforts of different European countries in the entrepreneurial training environment.

2.1. Education policy in Europe

Following the conclusions of Gorri Goñi (2003), the European policy in the field of education seems to be immersed in a given legal and socio-political framework and with several representative characteristics, which clearly talk about a clear future vocation. (Delgado, B., 1994; Foessa, 1994).

The European Educational system has developed under the influence of the following three factors:

  1. Demographic changes.
  2. Unemployment that affects mainly the young and produces a lack of educational and professional motivation.
  3. The new ways, expectations and difficulties derived from the democratic system.

The school, individuals and society have to accept the change that brings us closer to a united Europe:

  • We have to be aware that the society changes and people have to modify the way they act and work. Therefore, education has to change also and we must not separate but exchange our experiences.
  • The changes need time and therefore it is necessary to have a period for personal adaptation.
  • The incorporation of the new technologies makes real time communication easier and allows to create working parties among people who are thousands kilometres away from each other.
  • The development is a necessary and inevitable process. The continuing education is one of mechanisms that helps us get used to it.

The framework of the new advances represented by the new unique currency, the exchange of knowledge and experiences between socials agents in Europe does not have to be a privilege, but a common action of a continued interrelation (M.E.C., 1997).

2.2. Transnational projects

The National European Agency through Socrates program, in the framework of Grundtvig 2, finances international projects between Learning Associations dedicated to adult training in different European countries. In general, Grundtvig 2 programmes favour the first contact among partners from different countries. The Learning Associations can have different goals, for example: conferences organization, expositions or visits to exchange experiences, trainings or methodologies. Therefore, the mobility has a very important role in these projects.

You can get more information about the European educational programs at:

The international projects are a reality and a change of mentality and methodology. Grundtvig programmes finance the following objectives:

  • Improve the quality of Adult Education.
  • Help to increase the learning opportunities throughout life.
  • Promote innovation and exchange of educational experiences.

The professors’ training as an essential element in order to improve the quality of the educative system shows the close connexion between professor’s training and the social demands expressed by means of educative systems.

Among the different training systems, Sparks and Loucks-Horsley (1990) propose their investigative model in order to train professors and make them aware of reality. Using this model as a reference and through the call of the Socrates programme, specifically Grundtvig-2, different adult educational centres from three European countries have developed a project called “LUCES: Cognitive Abilities” to train people who are willing to create a new business.

Chart 1: Main Axes to design the “LUCES: cognitive abilities” Project

2.3. Description of the project “LUCES: Cognitive Abilities”

Everything that surrounds the labour world is always moving. In our urban occidental current societies, people have serious problems to find a job for their whole life, but we can see a new workers generation, who in order to get out unemployment, to look for independence or personal development decide to create their own company, although they find an hostile environment, with little financial resources and often with no social or institutional support. These people who we are going to call entrepreneurs are those who have decided that they are the masters of their own destiny and they assume the challenge.

The small companies created by the entrepreneurs are arising in alternative models because of the current labour market saturation in the occidental countries. Moreover, some changes are taking place in the social environment, in the labour market and in the field of training that enable women and men to introduce themselves at the same time in the entrepreneurial market.

The European Commission for the labour market recommends, in the White Book of Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, the support to small and medium-sized companies as an important means to advance in a more competitive economy, to make better use of the internal market and of the big market, and as a means to create jobs.

However, it is not easy to create a new company and entrepreneurial people do not only need advice on legal, fiscal, economics or financial aspects, but demand a specific training to develop the skills that are needed to create and manage a new business successfully. Therefore, adult education centres cannot overlook this social necessity and LUCES project tries to join forces to develop a European training program for entrepreneurial people.

LUCES is a three-year project that has the following goals:

  1. Study the main psychosocial characteristics of Entrepreneurship in the European participating countries.
  2. Design a training program for self-employment.
  3. Implant and evaluate this training program in the European participating countries.

In order to achieve these goals, a Learning Association was created between the following adult educational centres:

  • Nepravitelstwena Profesionalna Organizacia Izledovatelski Proecti sa Evropeiska I Atlanticheska Integrazia (Bulgaria)
  • Tempo-Training Centre (Czech Republic).
  • Centro de Orientación Información y Empleo (COIE) del Centro Asociado de la UNED en Calatayud. (Aragon-Spain).
  • Sinergia, Formación y Desarrollo Humano (Castile-Leon- Spain).
  • Organismo Autónomo para el Desarrollo Local (Extremadura-Spain).
  • Centro de Personas Adultas de Villaverde (Madrid-Spain).

Thanks to this Learning Association, during the first year we researched the psychosocial (values, attitudes, work goals and personality characteristics) and socio-economic (social support, administrative paperwork, difficulties...) characteristics of entrepreneurs in Europe. During the second year, we designed an educational program for self-employment in order to help people who decided to start up a new company in Europe (specifically in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Spain).

You can get more information about the Luces Project at:

Next we describe the research done during the first year of the project on the psychosocial aspects of the entrepreneurial behaviour and its main results.


3.1. Theoretical framework

The multi-country study of entrepreneurship is an interesting research field because the present socio-economic environment requires people that can create new companies and can take advantage of the global market opportunities. In fact, different studies have indicated that small and medium-sized companies are the main agent of economic growth in Europe and that new jobs will be created in this private sector (OCDE, 1994; ECSB, 1997).

First, we need to define what is our idea of an entrepreneur; therefore, we will follow the entrepreneur definition proposed by Varela (1998):

“The entrepreneur is a person who is able to perceive one production or service opportunity and to make a free and independent decision for obtaining and assigning the financial, technological and Human Resources that are needed to start a new business. This business creates an added value for the economy and generates work for the entrepreneur and often for other people. In this process of creative leadership, the entrepreneur invests money, spends time, uses knowledge and takes part in the setting up and management of the business, risking personal resources and prestige, but looking for monetary and personal rewards." (p.63).

The finality of this investigation focused on the study of the psychological and socio-economical characteristics that surround the entrepreneur (values, attitudes, competences, administrative proceedings, difficulties) to be able to design training programmes that should be really effective to begin a new entrepreneurial adventure within the European Union.

The studied variables are:

  1. Individualistic and collectivistic values. We argue here that the personal values structure seems to have a very important place in determining the behaviour; nevertheless, we have not paid special attention to it in entrepreneurs’ studies. Following Schwartz (1990), we consider the personal values for a person as a conception of the individual objectives as driving principles for life. In a preliminary study (Moriano, Palací and Trejo, 2001), it was noted that the entrepreneurs tend to be mainly inspired by more individualistic values as, for example, success, independence, hedonism or stimulation.
  2. Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy. Bandura, De Noble, Jung and Ehrlich (1999) have elaborated a scale in order to evaluate Entrepreneurial Self-efficacy (ESE) inspired on the necessity of developing measures for self-efficacy in a specific subject. This scale would evaluate the belief of a person on his or her own abilities in order to carry out the required tasks to create a new company.
  3. Risk-Taking Propensity. This variable shows the degree to which people will take risks in order to obtain greater profits. The entrepreneurs are daily exposed to uncertainty (credits, customers, variations of the economic market, etc.), that defy them to overcome their own weaknesses and this set of factors powerfully encourages them to do so.
  4. Internal Locus of Control. Rotter (1966) states that people vary in the degree they recognize a contingent relationship between their own behaviours (actions) and the resulting reinforcements (outcomes). Certain people (externals) generally believe that forces that are external such as fate, chance, luck or other powers control reinforcements. Others (internals) tend to believe that the results of their behaviours are their responsibility. (Shapero, 1975; Gilad, 1982; Nelson, 1991; Bonnett and Furnham, 1991 and Sánchez Almagro, 2003).
  5. Working Goals. This variable can be defined as the outcomes individuals seek out of work and it may answer the basic question of why individuals work (MOW, 1987). For some individuals, work provides a means of self-expression, a way of forming their identity and acquiring social status. For others, work is an instrumental means and a basic existential need (Harpaz, 1990).
  6. Social Variables. The decision to start a company is not only influenced by psychological characteristics, but there are other social variables that have an important effect as well. Family and friends may have an effect on an entrepreneur in two ways: as models that inspire his or her behaviour or in giving him or her social support. Also having entrepreneurial experiences during one’s life could give an entrepreneur the self-confidence to accept the challenge to create a new company. However, there are difficulties or obstacles that an individual perceives when he or she thinks about creating his or her own business and that could discourage his or her intentions.

3.2. Methodology

The research proceeding was the following:

  1. Sessions with groups of business people from the third sector (trade and transport).
  2. Interviews with young entrepreneurs and professionals who guide and advise entrepreneurs.
  3. Survey to assess differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Spain.

The questionnaire was given to a sample of 340 people, 139 men (41,2%) and 198 women (58.8%), between 17 and 70 years old and mean age of 40. The people surveyed were from three different countries: Spain (28,2%), Bulgaria (38,9%) and the Czech Republic (32,9%).

With regard to the professional situation, most of the subjects work (88,7%) as employees (39,2%) and self-employees (49,5%). Considering the labour situation, the subjects have been classified like non-entrepreneurs (57,8%) and entrepreneurs (42,2%).

The analysis of group sessions and interviews gave us qualitative information, while the survey provided quantitative and specific data that allowed us to identify the entrepreneurial profile in the different countries participating in the project.

3.3. Results

Next we will show a summary of the more significant results found about psychosocial entrepreneurial profile:

  1. Individualistic and collectivistic values. There is no common value structure between entrepreneurs from the studied countries, but the entrepreneurs’ values are influenced by cultural differences. However, we have found that the specific value to be entrepreneur is significantly related with individualistic types of values achievement and self-direction. Therefore, we could confirm that being an entrepreneur is an individualistic value related with being independent and achieving success.
  2. Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy. The entrepreneurs have a significant higher score in this variable, specifically in the following tasks: developing new products and market opportunities, building an innovate environment and defining the business core goals.
  3. Attitude toward risk taking. Only the Spanish entrepreneurs show a higher score than the average in their attitude toward risk taking.
  4. Internal Locus of Control. Entrepreneurs have a more internal Locus of Control than the wage workers. Therefore, entrepreneurs attribute their successes or failures to their own behaviour.
  5. Working Goals. In Spain, the entrepreneurs look for more expressive working goals like, for example, interesting job, education, innovation and new challenges. In the Czech Republic, the entrepreneurs look for expressive work goals like interesting work and tasks variety, and an instrumental goal: a good salary. In Bulgaria the entrepreneurs expect from self-employment only one instrumental work goal: a good salary.
  6. Social aspects. The family in Spain and the friends in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are the source of social support for entrepreneurs. Moreover, having had experiences linked with entrepreneurs during life influences significantly taking the decision to start a new business.
  7. Difficulties. The main difficulties for Spanish and Bulgarian entrepreneurs are those related with finding financing for the new business. For Czech entrepreneurs the main problem is getting professional advice about how to start a new company.

The analyses of these results show us the main psychological variables (individualistic values, self-efficacy, internal locus of control and attitude toward risk taking) that should be developed in the training courses for entrepreneurial adult people. Besides, it explains what surrounds the entrepreneurs (family or friends) and the difficulties entrepreneurs have to face with (financing, professional advice, etc.).

In conclusion, the present research has allowed us to get an empiric knowledge which united with adult educational theories allow us to support the following training program for developing cognitive abilities of entrepreneurs.


For training to be efficient for self-employment, it is necessary to understand that the entrepreneurial process is more than the creation of a new company. Bygrave (1989) considers that the foundation of an organisation is a discontinuous change and that the creation is the singular event. Shaver and Scott (1991) agree with the first affirmation of Bygrave; with regard to the second one, they consider that there are several discontinuous events which are previous to the creation that can be considered because of their results. For example, the niche of the market, the design of a product, or the identified need, to see opportunities, the risk above security or the tenacity to carry out an innovative idea represent the essence of this process.

Perls, in Ettiger, Gaspard and Pourtois (1997), points out the psychological stages for the entrepreneur in starting a new business (chart 2).

Figure 2.- Stages to start a new business of Perls.

On the other hand, Carton, Hofer y Meeks (1998) propose another model (chart 3) that presents clearly the main stages and characteristics of entrepreneurship. In addition, these authors differentiate entrepreneurship from management.

F igure 3. Entrepreneurship (Carton et al., 1998)


Chart 2. Steps for the creation of a venture by Perls

We describe in the following chart, the steps of entrepreneurship:


Chart 3. Entrepreneurship (Carton et al. 1998)

4.1. Developing the business idea

The entrepreneurial process starts when the person explores the environment in search of opportunities, identifies the best opportunity to follow, defines the business concept and evaluates the viability of the business project. An entrepreneur must be motivated to improve his or her personal situation in order to fulfil his or her ambition. What process must he follow?

The following stages are suggested by Perls:

  • Nonconformity. A positive or negative cause initiates the motivation and energy needed for further stages.
  • Impulse. During this stage, the entrepreneur gets in touch with reliable people to share with them the business idea. The business process takes quite a lot of time during which the idea will crystallise; the entrepreneur will investigate the market and competition. This phase is the most important part of the process.
  • Environmental reaction. The project starts getting a shape. In this phase some detractors of the idea could appear; there could also be administrative problems, financing difficulties and unexpected obstacles.

    Here, only the behaviour of the entrepreneur will help him or her go on or give up the business idea.

  • Active collaboration. In this phase, the entrepreneur develops his or her competences, looks for appropriate partners and must convince them about the project viability.

4.2. Starting a new business

Thinking over the previous aspects: who has ever had a good idea or found a new opportunity to create a new company?

In this phase, we develop the following stages proposed by Perls (Chart 3):

  • Growth. When the internal vision of the entrepreneur and the external factors are balanced, and after having thought over the business idea and analysed the advantages and disadvantages, the entrepreneur will decide to start the new company.
  • Success. During this stage, the entrepreneur feels more secure and confident to follow his or her goals, with the feeling this is the right moment to begin a new cycle. This action is elementary because without the creation of a new company, entrepreneurship would not been achieved.

4.3. Building the venture

To stabilize the company, the entrepreneur has to create an organisational structure, get resources, create a costumer basis and develop a competitive advantage. Without these elements, it would be very difficult to maintain the organization and the entrepreneurship could end because of a failure or bankrupt of the company.

4.4. Sustaining phase

The next phase is when entrepreneurship finishes. Gartner (1988) proposes that entrepreneurship ends when the creation of the new company o business is completed. Carton et al. (1998) follow this argument and propose that entrepreneurship ends when the new company is self-sustaining.

The sustaining stage would be the end of entrepreneurship and the beginning of management. The personal characteristics and abilities needed to start a new venture do not have to be the same as the personal characteristics and abilities needed for the management and the profitable maintenance of a business. In fact, many great entrepreneurs have left in other hands the management of their own company while they dedicate themselves to what they best know: recognize opportunities, innovate and create new companies.

The entrepreneurial training needs to focus on every stage of entrepreneurship in order to transform the intention into the action of creating a business. The professor must adjust the necessities and interests of the students to the stages of entrepreneurship. Therefore, the learning will be organized according to the specific stages and with the specific support that is needed in every moment by the professionals in different fields. The training must be located and specialized according to specific periods of time while the entrepreneur prepares, sets in motion and begins the development of his or her company. We give specific assistance and support in the worst moments or concrete professional assistance in the different aspects of management.


Next, we will describe the bases of the present program for specific training of people who want to be self-employed and/or create their own business.

5.1. Training pattern based on competences

According to Sánchez Palomina (1999), the “training pattern based on competences” takes the subject and the environment into account. This model encourages the autonomy, establishes relationships between necessities and problems, and the training according to the students diversity.

The characteristics of this model appear in the following table:


  • It assumes that people are all different.
  • The diversity refers to the capacity for learning: different ways and rhythms of learning.
  • It is based on the subject competences: it looks for personal and social autonomy; in this case, the autonomy to start up a new business.
  • It considers the student constructor of his or her own knowledge.
  • It needs an appropriate curriculum for each student: open and flexible
Chart 1 Educational pattern based on competences (Sánchez Palomino, 1999)

The competences can be defined as the underlying personal characteristics related with a high performance and can rely on motivation, personality, attitudes and values.

Morcillo and Cubeiro (1998) consider that the entrepreneurial competence flourishes when the person focuses on what he or she knows, can do and wants to do. We cannot forget that many entrepreneurs are the only members of their own companies; therefore, the competences of the organization are the competences of the entrepreneur (chart 4).

For that reason, a competence will be the result of three really different elements, but at the same time dependant: will-vision, resources and skills.

The first element, the will-vision, is what the entrepreneur would like to be and the other his or her raison d’être. It would be directly linked to the will expressed in each case in accordance with the entrepreneurial vision.

The second element, the quality of resources, defines who he or she is and what he or she can do. This group is composed of material and immaterial assets, and it includes knowledge.

Figura 4 Entrepreneurial competence (Morcillo y Cubeiro, 1998).

The third element, capacities, define what he or she is able to do and to be. Qualities, skills, abilities of the entrepreneur, things that his or her competitors cannot almost copy; for example, creativity, education, learning and quality. Attitude and Strategic Thinking

The competences can be classified into the following types:

  • Personal competences: motivation, attitudes, social abilities, values, etc.
  • Cognitive competences: theoretical and practical knowledge, and cognitive abilities.
  • Specific competences: specific knowledge and abilities in the sector where the entrepreneur is going to operate.
  • General competences: basic competences needed to manage any kind of business


Chart 4 Composition of an entrepreneurial competence (Morcillo and Cubeiro, 1998)

The entrepreneurial training program for adults that we propose mainly focuses on personal and cognitive competences.

5.2. Connecting theory and practice

Bygrave (1993) points out that there are two ways of ruining an entrepreneurial training course. The first one, when the training activities only consist in analysis of cases and practical applications and when the second consists in teaching only theories. As mentioned by Castillo (1999), the entrepreneurial training must consist of the action based on theory.

According to Castillo (1999), the entrepreneur training must focus on the action based on theory. The first courses of entrepreneurship were based on several invitations of managers who had succeeded so that they told their own story. These courses were for motivation but they did not give the necessary tools for the participants to become entrepreneurs. During the last decades, research on the company creation and the theories on entrepreneurs have created models that can be applied to the reality of every environment to develop entrepreneurship.

According to Fiet (2001), we could find the following pedagogical problems associated with teaching theoretical concepts:

  1. The professors become boring when the teaching style is predictable.
  2. The professors become irrelevant when they use theories to answer the questions of their students. When the theories cannot be applied to entrepreneurial problems the class loses its relevance.

In addition the training taught mainly through theory seems inadequate in the context of self-employment, because different studies (Choueke and Armtrong 1992; Deakins and Freel, 1996; Williams, 1998) have shown that the learning style of the entrepreneurs is experimental, they learn through experiences and the learning process is the result of critical events that oblige the entrepreneur taking strategic and operational decisions.

On the other hand, without theories, the professor would not be able to teach and the classes would be limited to the description in a non-theoretic way of what the entrepreneurs actually do. Theory gives the student conceptual basis and methodology to understand how the business world works and what is the situation of the respective markets.

The new tendencies have to relate theory with practice. Kuhn (1970) showed that there is nothing as practical as a good theory, because it helps us to make predictions about the consequences of our decisions. For example, we could explain the success or the failure of a case through the application of a particular theory. The class should be a world of ideas where the students learn theories that teach them what they could do successfully.

5.3. Case study method

The case study method is very effective for entrepreneurial training; the entrepreneur learns how to diagnose and take decisions through the study, analysis and argument of business situations where the complex entrepreneurial reality is clear.

Harvard Business School was the first organization to use this method in order to explain practical situations and promote strategic thinking. The cases were analysed through different theories and perspectives.

According to García and Castellanos (1998), the case study method in entrepreneurial training has the following pedagogical advantages:

  1. Students will learn how to find the key information, since the information that surrounds an essential problem has not the same importance. We try to succeed in teaching the student that he or she has to separate the secondary information and furthermore that he or she must not mix the relevant and the significant information.
  2. This method helps students understand the global structure of the problems and apply this knowledge to real business situations.
  3. It is important not to simplify because it is necessary to consider all the presented aspects. It is not recommendable to preconceive receipts for its solution and to face the situations as if they were unique, with their characteristics. Through problematic situations, we pretend to develop a practical savoir-faire: to diagnose and to decide.
  4. This method improves the analytical thinking, self-control and teamwork.

The content of the cases can be very diverse and embrace many different situations and problems that the entrepreneur will have to face when he or she starts and manages the new company. However, the content must include the following characteristics (García and Castellanos, 1998):

  1. Authenticity: the cases must not include hypothetic or utopian situations, but try to define clearly the entrepreneurial situation. This aspect helps the participant to adopt a position with regard to situations, which in theory are not present.
  2. Variety: the cases shown to the entrepreneurs must belong to different fields.
  3. Information range: the cases shown must be described and explained with a lot of detail and must show the global situation.

With regard to its presentation, it is usually done with the reading of a text, although any other material can be used (video, multimedia...).

According to Castillo (1991), in the case method, the teacher should only guide the students to the main aspects of concepts and decisions without judging if the interventions of the students are correct or not. This case is then an instrument to stimulate the creative discussion and the strategic thought through the ideas debate (Kasturi, 1996). This is the moment to reinforce some theoretical concept and to provoke a deeper and internal reflection by means of a sentence.

The discussion experiences of the cases are beneficial for students and professors, but they require a previous preparation from both sides. This encourages the learning desire, a useful behaviour for entrepreneurs.

A variant may be the real cases, in which the protagonist goes to the course and stays as a spectator during the problems discussion and the possible solutions. Then, the whole audience debates with the protagonist the remarks of the students and they evaluate if the solutions given can be applied. It is necessary to tell the protagonist that he or she may receive critics from the students during the case.

In conclusion, the case study methodology as an educational tool for self-employment can be an effective method because from a practical perspective it encourages the analytical and critical thinking, and the decision taking. In addition, this methodology permits the application of the former theoretical concepts and combining theory with practice.

5.5. The professor’s role

In the self-employment training, the professor should change his or her traditional role to adapt to the diverse necessities of the entrepreneur. The students should not only acquire theoretical knowledge, but also develop through the training process cognitive abilities required in order to create and manage their own business. The professor must direct the entrepreneurial energy of the student and the business idea enthusiasm and use them to build their knowledge and entrepreneurial abilities.

According to Fiet (2001), the professor needs to have the students’ approval and their commitment in the learning process. The students must leave the classroom talking about how great it is to be an entrepreneur. Therefore, the role of the professor is to motivate the students and identify the competences he or she must teach. Using theories based on activities, the professor acts like a coach and a mentor.

Therefore, mentoring can be a useful way for self-employment training that can help entrepreneurs find a specific assistance to overcome problems. For the professor, it means supporting the new entrepreneur so that he or she can develop specific abilities through learning and experimentation. As Dehter points out (2003), the role of the mentor is to help the entrepreneur give a form to his or her future, in the past actions of the mentor, to modify future actions as a result of this game of joining, in the present time, the past and the future. Consequently, the mentor helps the entrepreneur, through his or her usual behaviour, to experience changes of attitudes.

Dehter (2003) classifies into two categories the mentoring functions within the training for self-employment:

  1. Professional career functions: They reinforce the abilities and necessary knowledge learning to create and manage successfully a new business.
  2. Psychosocial functions: aspects of the relationship between the mentor and the entrepreneur that reinforce the personal competences, help identifying weaknesses and strengths of the entrepreneur, and motivate professional development.


The results of the investigation work done in Spain, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, and all the aspects that were analysed previously, permit us to conclude this chapter with a series of recommendations on how to prepare the training for self-employment.

6.1. Favouring realistic expectations

The entrepreneurs usually know very well who they are and what they want. However, it is necessary to clarify their values, necessities, motivations and attitudes. Before starting a business project, the entrepreneur needs to know very well the personal cost that this is going to take (working hours, spare time, money, etc.) and evaluate his o her decision. Therefore, the training program must help clarifying the necessities and aspirations of the entrepreneur.

We think that the imbalance between expectations and reality of the entrepreneur at the beginning of his or her entrepreneurial activity is one of the main reasons for the failure of many new companies that do not go on after the first year. Many entrepreneurs do not realize that the creation of a new company is not only a change, and that it often means a change of lifestyle. The new company needs all the resources of the entrepreneur (time, money, contacts, abilities, etc.) in order to survive and grow successfully.

Therefore, the training program must encourage the realistic expectations of the new entrepreneurs giving them information about negative and positive aspects of self-employment.

In the first steps of the training process, it may be interesting to encourage the self-selection of the students who want to become entrepreneurs giving them realistic information about the process of creating a company. It does not aim at discouraging the potential entrepreneurs but helps them know, apart from the pleasant aspects of self-employment, the difficulties they must face when setting up a new company.

In brief, giving the entrepreneurs realistic expectations about the creation of a company can help them face the future difficulties and can even improve their training.

6.2. Development of the entrepreneurial self-efficiency

The training program must improve the personal growth through the model called success spiral (Nicholson, 1987). The idea of the Success Spiral refers to the fact that the controlled balances and imbalances are the personal and professional development engine. The success of the entrepreneur when he or she faces situations that require balance or imbalance, produces the development of the personal competence and at the same time, it favours the efficacy in future situations.

We propose the following recommendations to develop the entrepreneurial self-efficacy during the training process.

  1. To select the necessary activities to acquire competences.
  2. To design first experiences to get positive feeling and success beliefs.
  3. To supervise in order to adapt the support and evaluation to the student competences.

Therefore, the entrepreneur must be given patterns where he or she can observe the competences he or she needs to acquire and correct guidelines of behaviour. In this way, the learning would be deeper if the entrepreneurs understood and learnt easier the way they had to face adequately difficult situations if they discussed and asked about the pattern.

However, it is not enough to observe the model and then discuss his or her behaviour: the entrepreneurs need to practice the observed behaviours.

6.3. Improving the initiative and the achievement direction

During the creation and management of a new business, the entrepreneurs have to face complicate tasks and opened problems for which there is not only one correct solution. Besides, the entrepreneurs need to confront continually new challenges and act with initiative in order to solve problems and seek for competitive advantage.

We consider that the complexity task level and task control can influence the development of the entrepreneurial initiative. If there is control and complexity in the training situations, then the entrepreneurs will think that in the future they will be able to control easily the business situations. However, the management of a new business means facing problems that are often complex and the entrepreneur cannot control. That is the reason why during the training program they have to get used to face problem that are difficult to control and they need to use their initiative.

In the training program, the educational goals and tasks difficulty have to be designed carefully to the abilities of the student. The difficulty level must be gradually increased in order to give the students challenges that they can pass.

Most of the entrepreneurs want to carry out successful challenges. However, in other entrepreneurs, this orientation may be less developed; it is then necessary that the training program gives to the future entrepreneur challenges, and real success opportunities. That for, the training objectives must always be realistic and of increasing difficulty. If we establish objectives that do not adapt the students level or in an environment where it is easy to fail, the entrepreneurs may lose self-efficacy and discourage themselves.

To develop this success orientation, we must give the entrepreneurs difficult objectives that require a variety of skills. For example, an exercise in which the entrepreneur has to negotiate with the bank, with a partner who does not collaborate, to listen to an unsatisfied client...

Finally, the learning level of the experiences will increase considerably if the entrepreneurs receive specific feedback about the actions and use them to think over their own experiences. The students who do not receive an adequate feedback may develop some habits that are really difficult to modify. Moreover, the students usually think the lack of feedback means that their teachers have no interest.


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A model for self-employment training in Europe

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