måndag, oktober 09, 2017

1 x 1.000.000 or 1.000.000 x 1?

Bill Gartner My view on entrepreneurship education seminar
Bill Gartner at "My view on entrepreneurship education"-seminar organized jointly by ESBRI and SSES.
Last Friday ESBRI and SSES (Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship) arranged the first seminar in our new series ”My view of entrepreneurship education”. This first edition featured William (Bill) Gartner, the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship at Babson College and a visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden.

Bill Gartner started out with this question “Is it bad to create smaller firms?”, and asked “If one of the purposes of entrepreneurship is to create jobs, then which is better:

1 firm that creates 1.000.000 jobs, or
10 firms that create 100.000 jobs each, or
100 firms that create 10.000 jobs each, or
1.000 firms that create 1.000 jobs each, or
10.000 firms that create 100 jobs each, or
100.000 firms that create 10 jobs each, or
1.000.000 firms that create 1 job each?”

In his view, these possibilities are equivalent as they all produce the same number of jobs. Yet, business schools (and the media) are more biased towards the success stories of large firms, even though we could get the same employment effect with lots and lots of smaller outcomes. Maybe creating 1.000.000 firms would actually be better for the economy rather than an outcome that creates only a few high growth companies.

During the seminar there was also an extensive interaction on the concept of “value”. The discussion raised questions such as “what does it mean to create value?”, “how do you create value?” and “who benefits from the value creation?”

Bill Gartner argued that the humanities have a lot to say about what value is and about what is valuable. Entrepreneurship education should include perspectives that recognize insights from philosophy, literature, history and the arts. Value is not only economic or utilitarian in nature. Entrepreneurs create different kinds of values that benefit society in a variety of ways that are not, necessarily, accounted for in most models of economic value.

One common theme among many of the educators that attended the session was that students need to go out and talk with potential customers and other stakeholders. Bill emphasized that in his courses the important thing is that the students “do lots of stuff” and then report back to him. Taking action is more important than just talking about taking action.

A lively discussion followed, where Bill Gartner and the other participants exchanged thoughts on the foundations for entrepreneurship education, and on opportunities and challenges for developing courses and programs.

I’m very happy that we developed this idea together with our office neighbors SSES in a true joint effort. And now also launched it!


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