The E-Factor (Part 2)

Last week’s column talked about the e-factor and how it is important to have a healthy mix of academic framework and experiential learning when it comes to entrepreneurship. Close to 30% of the successful entrepreneurs I featured last week studied in the best schools in the United States, while others studied in the Philippines, also in good schools. However, some excelled in school while others barely made the passing mark. This shows that the educational background can be a good advantage but may not be the sole determinant. The right character, attitude and values in being a successful entrepreneur are learned even outside the school system, from mentors, from experiences (both good and bad ones) and from exposure in actual business projects.

It is definitely a huge plus to come from the best schools here and abroad but realistically, over 65% of the youth go thru the public school system and more than half will not make it to college. What future do these young people have? How can we help them especially those who possess the right attitude and creativity to become successful entrepreneurs? This is where Go Negosyo wants to focus on. We want to reach out to those who possess the creativity, passion and determination to become successful entrepreneurs most especially those who are in need of mentors. As we unleash the spirit of enterprise, we must help empower and guide them on how to start and grow their business. What kind of mindset is needed? How can they search, screen and seize opportunities? How can they be different and better than the others, and not just be another “me too” type of business that can only give false hope with little chances of success?

We see this around us where businesses with exactly the same products gather in the same street or area – the sari-sari stores, tiangges, lechon manoks, grills, the so called sweet corn along Katipunan and many more. They can only drive down their prices and margins, and so mortality just goes up. Perhaps, they can start developing new business models, or an innovative and better product offering to differentiate from their neighboring business. One can offer them to explore what other products or services would complement the existing businesses in the area, or what are the unserved or underserved demand in the area. Example, a street with car wash services might be a good area as well for barbers shops/ salons or coffee shops that can service same customers, or healthy food stores/ resto and spas can be located beside gyms and sports centers.

In our hope to empower and inform our kababayans, we have developed different channels of communications to reach to as many aspiring entreps as possible. Right now we have the Go Negosyo Bigtime TV show on RPN9 every Monday at 10:30pm that features different business categories every episode. Go Negosyo Bigtime is a hip, fast-paced show on entrepreneurship which generally caters to the young people and those who are young at heart. Eventually we will have a Go Negosyo channel to provide constant negosyo lessons over TV and also make it available via internet. We are also coming out with a How-to Go Negosyo book to help people who want to start and grow their own business. There is always the website that we have loaded up with information and tools, as well as a feature that will allow anyone to ask for business advice from our registered mentors. We have also converted the site to allow creation of your own business website for the other web visitors and buyers to see, plus a forum to exchange ideas and information within the Go Negosyo community. We are also continuing with our caravans of forums and expos which hopefully can also give our kababayans, especially the youth that seed of hope and ignite a spark for them to pursue their own entrepreneurial journey. A reminder to join us in next week’s Go Negosyo sa Manila on September 7 at 9:30 am at the Philam Theater at UN Ave. Manila. All schools, especially in Manila, are invited to take advantage of the presence of Go Negosyo entrepreneurs/mentors. Meet and greet them and ask them for business advice. As always, admission is free and advice from experienced and successful entrepreneurs is also free. You can also meet the selected inspiring entrepreneurs from Manila who will be given due recognition on that morning.

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Let me share with you the insights of the top negosyo educators/ mentors on entrepreneurship education:
What is the best way to teach entrepreneurship?

The best way to teach entrepreneurship is thru experiential learning wherein the student is exposed to actual situations in running a micro enterprise. Concepts can be taught in the school curriculum but it should be enhanced thru actual entrepreneurial exercises. The concepts taught in the classroom are better appreciated by our students when they see these concepts are actually being applied.
Sec. Jesli Lapus (Secretary, Department of Education)

Learning how to run a business is like learning to ride a bike: you can’t learn it by reading about it; you have to actually get on the bike and start pedaling. The best way to teach entrepreneurship is to get the students to actually practice entrepreneurship even while still in school. If students do not go beyond creating business plans in school, then entrepreneurship becomes no more than an academic exercise for them— business plans are merely school requirement that stay on the shelf after graduation.
Rudy Ang (Dean, John Gokongwei School of Management, Ateneo De Manila University)

Under the general concept of entrepreneurship, it is observed that the following underlying qualities are present in people who are said to be entrepreneurs: creativity, capacity to evaluate and take risks and the capacity to innovate and “operationalize” one’s creative ideas. Entrepreneurial education should focus on enhancing these three qualities in the candidate entrepreneur. Aside from these qualities, there are a set of general competencies as well as functional competencies that are expected of an entrepreneur. A good entrepreneurial education should be able to address any deficiencies in the candidate as far as these competencies are involved. Needless to say, an entrepreneurship graduate should be well versed in the general management areas of Marketing, Ethics, Accounting, Quantitative Tools, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Human Behavior, Business Planning, General Information Technology, etc.
Joe Navarro (Director, Entrepreneurial Management Program, School of Management, University of Asia and the Pacific)

The best way to learn entrepreneurship is from an entrepreneur. At The One School, this is called Mentoring. While case studies are important there is no substitute from learning from someone who has at some point in his/her life put money on the line in a start-up venture. Also, another component of successful entrepreneurship education is that teachers bother to get to know the students as human beings. Small schools are better at this than big schools for obvious reasons. Entrepreneurship is finding the genius in oneself and starting a business around it. In environments where Mentors and students have a lot of close-in interaction it is easier to help students find their passions and create businesses around these.
Lex Ledesma (One School)

The best way to teach entrepreneurship is through experience. Students must learn by running enterprises in increasing degrees of complexity. Learning events should allow them to discover problems and develop problem-solving approaches on the spot. They learn to face life challenges or problems to which there may not be one correct solution.
Angie Resurreccion (Old Balara Christian Community School)

Entrepreneurship should be taught through mentorships, “real-world” models and creative problem solving. At the MI International School, Dr. Howard Gardner’s definition of intelligence which is “to problem solve and create products valued in one or more cultural setting” becomes part of applying their mathematical skills and people skills in the context of entrepreneurship. Children try to use their intelligences and passions to create products and services that are relevant to them and their families. By making the world their classroom, it empowers children to unleash their creativity.
Joy Abaquin (Directress, Multiple Intelligence School)