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2nd UNESCO-APEID Meeting on Entrepreneurship Education

26-27 March 2013
Zhejiang Hotel, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China

Co-organized by
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok, Thailand
Chinese National Commission for UNESCO
UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurial Education, Zhejiang University
Zhejiang Technical Institute of Economics (ZJTIE)

Money isn’t the issue

© UNESCO / Lay Cheng Tan

Steve Jobs said that when he started his business, he only wanted to change the world. To Mark Zuckerberg, the most important thing was to create an open information flow for people. Money had also never been important to Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, who lived a fugal life: his vision was to create the largest retail enterprise offering the best services at the lowest prices.

Apparently, getting rich was not the motive that drove some innovative entrepreneurs.

This was pointed out by Professor Peck Cho, a Distinguished Professor of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Dongguk University and the Director of the Center for Young and Gifted Entrepreneurs in the Republic of Korea at the 2nd Entrepreneurship Education Meeting held in Hangzhou, China, on 26-27 March 2013. About 50 participants attended the meeting to continue the dialogues initiated at the 15th UNESCO-APEID International Conference on Creativity and Entrepreneurship in 2011  and the first meeting on entrepreneurship education, also held in Hangzhou in June 2012.

Entrepreneurship has attracted the attention of policy makers because of the high youth unemployment rates in many countries: globally, 200 million people – of whom 75 million are under 25 years old – are unemployed. In fact, 600 million jobs are needed over the next 15 years to keep current employment rates. The increase in the number of 15-29 year olds who are neither employed or in education or training in OECD countries in 2010 has heightened concerns that if left unattended, these youth will represent a lost generation of valuable human resources. Traditionally, young people expect to find jobs in either the public or private sector after they finish their schooling. Faced with on-going economic and financial challenges, reliance on business-as-usual practices is no longer acceptable.

However, being an entrepreneur means more than just knowing how to start up a small shop or business. Presentations (add link to webpage) given at the Hangzhou meeting touched on the characteristics of entrepreneurs, as well as their skills and competencies. The roles of various agencies – governments, educational institutions and international organizations – in providing entrepreneurship education were also discussed, accompanied by examples of entrepreneurship education programmes and courses in some countries. While job security, financial gains and benefits cannot be overlooked in any entrepreneurial undertakings, the importance of sustainable and responsible social entrepreneurial practices was also highlighted.

A key consensus from the UNESCO-APEID International Conference and subsequent meetings on entrepreneurship education is that entrepreneurship can be taught and learned. To nurture entrepreneurship requires a rethinking of our education systems, pedagogies, curricula, education services, as well as providing opportunities to facilitate new business start-ups. At the same time, it is necessary to note that entrepreneurship is more than the creation and management of businesses. Developing and cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit – creativeness, innovativeness, curiosity, lateral thinking, adaptability, resourcefulness, risk-taking and so on – is what matters the most, regardless of the profession or career path to be taken.

The take-away messages of the meeting, as summarized by Mr. Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, are:

  • Entrepreneurship education is doable.

  • However, the mindsets of policy makers, parents and students themselves appear to be a major obstacle in encouraging young people to become entrepreneurs.

  • There is strong interest in establishing the Entrepreneurship Education Network (EE-Net) in Asia and the Pacific.

  • A long term vision for entrepreneurship education is necessary, complemented by careful consideration of how to make entrepreneurship education relevant to youth.

  • More opportunities should be given to engage young people in the dialogues, enabling them to participate actively in making decisions that will affect their future.

UNESCO Bangkok has secured some funding from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust to continue this initiative on entrepreneurship education. Project activities include (i) establishing the Entrepreneurship Education Network (EE-Net); (ii) conducting research on entrepreneurship education; and (iii) creating a database of successful entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific to serve as mentors for future entrepreneurs.

Two immediate follow-up actions are:

  • Prepare and share the Terms of Reference for EE-Net.

  • Plan the 3rd Entrepreneurship Education Meeting, 10-12 December 2013, which will be hosted by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia.

Institutions or individuals interested in joining the EE-Net or the 3rd Entrepreneurship Education Meeting can contact Ms. Lay-Cheng Tan, lc.tan@unesco.org.

Resources

Concept Note (pdf, 110kb)

Programme (pdf, 240kb)

Photo Gallery

Presentations