The ED organizations do not have the resources to plan and execute EDPs as per their own perceptions and need assessment. Types of EDPs, the target groups to be covered, and the time available for organizing EDPs depend on the terms and conditions decided by the sponsoring departments and organization. Also, there is almost complete uncertainty about the number and time of such entrepreneurship training assignments.
All these affect not only the execution of EDPs in a planned manner but also the availability of appropriate training materials, training faculty as well as application of training techniques and learning tools etc. In such a situation, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain the quality of EDPs and their impact.
It is, therefore, necessary that entrepreneurship development funds be created at the disposal of the ED organizations should have the autonomy to decide the module, content, location, and timing of organizing EDPs within a given territorial limits.
Approaches and Strategies of EDP
It is all the more necessary to keep in view the emerging business environment of the new millennium. The following strategies and approaches are, therefore, suggested to be followed for organizing EDPs in the future:
- Edp Objective
- Training Need Assignment
- Contents and Module of an EDP
- Training Techniques
- Training Aids
- Training Faculty
- Launching of an EDP
- Post-Training Activities
- Post-Training Assessment
- Growth Programmes
Objectives of each type of EDP, depending on the target group and its location as well as the nature of the activity to be focused upon, should be decided at the beginning itself. In other words, expectations from an EDP must be outlined at the outset itself.
Such expectations would be with regard to raising the motivation level of trainees, developing their entrepreneurial skills, personality traits, knowledge, and preparedness for the promotion and management of the enterprise, etc.
Training Need Assignment
Keeping in view the objectives of an EDP the target group and the gaps observed between the expected and existing levels of entrepreneurial motivation, skills, traits, knowledge preparedness, etc., the training needs and intensity should be assessed. While the expected levels could be the standard areas, the existing levels would have to be assessed by the concerned team organizing that EDP.
For assessing the existing level of motivation, skills, traits, knowledge, and preparedness of the target group, the team for entrepreneurship development should closely interact with the potential trainees, observe their entrepreneurial qualities, knowledge, and skill level, and also try to understand their socio-cultural conditioning and the economic status, etc.
For such an assessment, one could use questionnaires and have discussions with the elderly and knowledgeable persons as well as occupying responsible positions in the local society and government.
Contents and Module of an EDP
Based on the training needs, the entrepreneurship development team should identify the topics and activities to be covered and taken up and list them out in the form of contents of an EDP. Also, the learning objectives of each topic and activity should be stated clearly.
Once the contents have been finalized, they should be structured in the form of a module. Formulation of an EDP module shall involve sequencing of the topics and activities to be taken up during the training period and the extent of time required to be devoted to each of the topics. The module should comprise the activities to be performed during the post-training phase as well.
Once the content and module of an EDP have been worked out, the next step should be to identify and select the training techniques to be applied. These techniques could be class-room learning, on-the-job learning, lectures, panel discussion, one-to-one counseling, group exercises and discussion, case analysis, video shows, motivation/business/management games, simulation, group assignments, etc.
The identification and selection of training techniques should be done keeping in view the training needs, contents as well and target group.
Based on the content and training techniques to be applied, the training aids, like course materials, workbooks, scoring sheets stationary, etc. should be identified and developed.
Depending on the training techniques, learning tools, like audio-visual aids, black/whiteboard, flip charts, instruments, models, simulators, computers, manuals scoring sheets, etc. should be identified, acquired, or developed. Also, evaluation criteria and evaluation, as well as feedback tools for getting participants’ assessment of training, etc., should be developed.
One of the most important tasks to be performed in the course of the preparation for an EDP is the identification of suitable training faculty keeping in view the contents and the target group. It may be noted that training faculty plays a significant role in making an EDP effective and interesting.
Therefore, one must keep in mind that the chosen training faculty must have the necessary expertise and up-to-date knowledge of the topics (s) to be handled and also must be able to communicate and interact with the trainees in the same language as understood by them.
Besides, care should be taken to brief the concerned faculty about the objectives of the session, training techniques to be applied and the learning tools to be used. Efforts should be made to ensure possible. Another critical factor is the availability of training faculty when required. As such, the ED team must have a set of alternative faculty as well as whole services that could be availed of as and when required.
Launching of an EDP
In the course of planning, executing, and concluding an EDP, the ED team should try to involve the representatives of financial and support agencies as well as responsible social personalities of that is to the maximum extent possible.
It would be better if the interaction sessions with the representatives of the concerned financial institutions and promotional agencies as well as local public personalities are arranged, in the beginning, to explain the scope and objectives of an EDP due to be organized.
This would help build a conducive environment for seeking not only financial and promotional support for the creation of enterprises by the trainees but also sensitize the social environment for extending moral and material support to the potential entrepreneurs.
Mere completion of the training program would not be sufficient, and it would be necessary that the post-training follow-ups and monitoring of the trained potential entrepreneurs continue for an extended period of at least two years.
The purpose of the post-training activities would be to ensure that the impact of training does not vanish easily and leads to enterprise creation to the maximum extent. It may be stated that though such activities are being performed even now, the intensity and effectiveness of such post-training activities are hardly up to the expectation.
Assessing the impact and effectiveness of an EDP during the post-training phase should be an essential part of the whole exercise. It may be desirable to undertake such an assessment exercise. It may be desirable to undertake such assessment exercises towards the end of 3rd year from the completion of an EDP as it takes a lot of time for a potential entrepreneur to create an enterprise and sustain it in the initial stage.
The scope of such an exercise should not remain confined to the effectiveness of EDP in terms of enterprise creation only but also take into account the impact created by an EDP on the trainees as well as their immediate social environment i.e. family and friends etc.
During the 3rd and 4th year after the completion of an EDP a series of Enterprise Growth, programs may be planned and organized to further strengthen the management skills of the trained entrepreneurs who have already set up their enterprises and have been running them successfully or otherwise.
In this way, a link between the trained entrepreneurs and ED organization would continue for a longer duration and also help improve the health of the enterprises created by them and facilitate expansion, diversification, and modernization of the enterprises to a certain extent.