Entrepreneurial Skills for the 21st Century Workplace: The SME Sector

Entrepreneurial Skills for the 21st Century Workplace: The SME Sector

Mauvalyn M. Bowen (Bethel University, USA) and Karen R. Johnson (University of North Texas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6331-0.ch004
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The foundation of graduates' employability is based on skills and by extension, workers. Due to the high levels of unemployment among young people, entrepreneurial skills for graduates and the workforce becomes an imperative to scholars and policy makers trying to tackle unemployment issues by providing students with skills, and competences that fulfill the needs of a very competitive labor market (Pereira, Vilas-Boas & Rebelo, 2016). To encourage collaboration on educational innovation, to promote entrepreneurship education, and to improve university technology and knowledge transfer to industry and society, several initiatives were developed. This chapter discusses some of those initiatives and contributes to the skills discourse by proposing strategies to empower, structure, and improve innovative curriculum, workplace, and life. Some skills shortages identified for the 21st century workplace are: learning and innovation skills, career and life skills; adaptability, self-reliance and social skills, team building, technology, leadership and responsibility skills.
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According to Rehor and Vrchota, (2016), SMEs play a significant part in economic activity through employment, innovation, and growth. These businesses act as suppliers of goods and services to large organizations and any lack of product quality could adversely affect the competitive ability of the larger organizations (Deros, Yusof, & Salleh, 2006). These enterprises are recognized worldwide as probably the most dynamic sector in the economies of many countries. In this sector, there are businesses of every type and description, which employ thousands of people. In the European Union, 99.8 per cent of companies represent SMEs, and, they generate 60 per cent of GDP and employ over 70 per cent of private sector workers (Floyd & Mc Manus, 2005). In the US, approximately 99% of business enterprises are SMEs, which account for 52% of total employment (OECD, 2007). In developing nations, SMEs account for more than 90% of businesses which represent an average of 50-60% of national employment (Krishnan & Scullion, 2017). SMEs are top priority on the economic agenda of most governments (Krishnan & Scullion). It is the acknowledgement of the potential in this sector to transform the lives and work of individuals and nations with the aid of effectively using entrepreneurial skills.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Entrepreneurship: The generic term entrepreneurship will be used here, as the focus is on the ways the skills and attitudes can be fostered in enhancing entrepreneurship.

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