Training entrepreneurs in this new age has become a real challenge for educational institutions. Based on this context, we developed an innovation model that integrates five key elements for defining and structuring comprehensive social entrepreneurship projects with a human focus.
By José Carlos Vázquez Parra
Because of the complex environment in which we live, with continuous technological advances transforming industry in general and strong competition in the workforce, training entrepreneurs in this new age has become a real challenge for educational institutions.
In relation to our teaching work, achieving young people’s development through innovation projects that include disciplinary competencies is no longer sufficient; society expects more nowadays. We need to awaken in them a vision of the future, so they can generate goods and/or services in a creative, efficient, responsible and effective way. We also need to develop in them social and personal competencies, which must have a transversal effect on all their activities as future professionals. In this article, I am presenting a proposal for an entrepreneurial project evaluation mechanism that specifically includes the human aspect, exploring in greater depth the social impact of these projects.
Students’ education in entrepreneurship requires focusing on a new business vision, in which the generation of economic value is just one of the elements required for it to be considered as a truly successful projects. Having a business model or being a leader in the field, although undoubtedly important, is not everything. Organizations in the new millennium recognize that their environment and the way in which they relate to it impacts their production and profitability. Aspects such as sustainability, responsible consumption, stakeholder perspective, inclusive market trends and/or social responsibility have driven contemporary businesses to address events occurring beyond their physical boundaries, to make decisions and propose actions that position them in international social agendas.
In academic settings, an avalanche of proposals for educational innovation have been generated, seeking to relate each student’s preparation with entrepreneurship projects that include an abundant disciplinary section, with profound touches of creativity and originality, and a clear human and social responsibility focus. Nevertheless, this might sound easy, but it implies a level of reflection that is rarely achieved.
Based on this context, I developed a proposal, considering the integration of five key elements for defining and structuring comprehensive social entrepreneurship projects with a human focus:
This model makes it possible to consider elements that are not normally included or considered jointly. Usually, students’ proposals focus on just one of the elements, without considering the breadth and depth that can exist in a single project. This opens up the possibility of far more comprehensive and complete social entrepreneurship proposals.
Every year, thousands of companies worldwide participate in Corporate Social Responsibility training programs, which include certifications such as ISO 14001 or follow-up on parameters such as those put forward by ISO 26000. In Mexico, CEMEFI (Mexican Center for Philanthropy) works every year with hundreds of companies that seek to earn Socially Responsible Enterprise (SRE) recognition. Of course, this includes hundreds of projects produced in the entrepreneurship centers of educational institutions. Therefore, the benefit of producing entrepreneurship that from its beginnings already has a social and human focus not only has an impact on the training of new professionals, but also on the future requirements of industry. It is easier to incorporate a company that is socially responsible in its definition and creation than to modify the organizational culture after years of operations.
The generation of innovative models and tools that will improve the preparation of entrepreneurs is a determining factor for education and industry. Therefore, I would like to invite you to participate and share your ideas with the Observatory of Educational Innovation in order to generate a new culture of entrepreneurship with a human focus.
About the Author
José Carlos Vázquez Parra holds a Ph.D. in Humanistic Studies, specializing in Ethics. He teaches and coordinates the area of ethics at the School of Humanities and Education, in the western region of Tecnológico de Monterrey, in Guadalajara.