Fostering entrepreneurial spirit of female students in higher educational institutions

The purpose of this paper is to point out the significant importance of entrepreneurship education

program in higher education in fostering entrepreneurial spirit of female students in higher educational

institutions by examining current trend, characteristics of male and female entrepreneurs, comparing and

contrasting the similarities and differences between the two and explaining what entrepreneurship is, who are the entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship traits. In order to point out the need of HEI on helping women realize their own strength, potentials, by provide them with knowledge and skills necessary as well as support them to take advantages of all possible resources to create jobs for themselves and for others. Lastly this paper also discusses the most commonly cited challenges for women entrepreneurs as well as suggestion and recommendation.

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male students or aim to develop self- efficacy among women students regardless the fact that females take a much larger proportion in schools’ population in comparison to men and that characteristics of women are quite distinct from that of men. Moreover, it seems that “entrepreneurship education and trainings conducted are dominated by male role models” 1. Also, a vast majority of guest speakers are males and an overwhelming entrepreneurial success stories feature businessmen rather than women. In relation to ratio of female and male students, statistics of 2017 intake showed that female students took 68, 59 % in the Vietnamese university and 75 % freshmen of 2018 are women. In the past, for example, figures of year 2005 show the number of males passing entrance exam outnumbered that of females. Similar situation happens in Rangsit University (Thailand) when 60 % freshmen of 2018 are women. Figures of alumni in recent three years at two investigated universities showed quite contradictory results in terms of genders as job-makers. Most of female alumni are in wage employment and the number of women entrepreneurs is less than one forth that of men. Statistics concluded that male alumni were more active in entrepreneurship than women. In addition, researches have indicated that women in fact possess different entrepreneurial styles and have different potentials in comparison to that of men. Additionally, they “learn differently from men and 1 Olena Bekh, (2014), Training For Women Entrepreneurs: An Imperative For Growth And Jobs, Policy briefing, extracted from issue-14-training-women-entrepreneurs-imperative 152 HỘI THẢO KHOA HỌC QUỐC TẾ KHỞI NGHIỆP ĐỔI MỚI SÁNG TẠO QUỐC GIA value the increased level of sharing a relationship-building “1. Therefore, entrepreneurial learning have to target different qualities in men and women so that women’s potentials can be fully explored without having to take males ‘roles. From literature reviews, it seems that one of the reasons why the potential of women has not been fully recognized, resulting in the lack of adequate investment from parties involved is that females themselves are not aware of their own potential or do not know how to apply it to a business activity. All trainings given do not differentiate different qualities in men and women engaged in business activity and offer training in males’ way. Meanwhile, according to the survey conducted by IFC-GEM/ MPDF in Vietnam, women business owners are much more likely to value women-focused programming than training and education programs that are open to all business owners. 4. SUGGESTIONS It is undeniable that men and women need the same basic business training and support to develop core skills and competences to be successful in entrepreneurial activity. However, in order to increase women’s awareness about entrepreneurship and inspire them to engage into a near future of being job- makers require more than simply offering general courses. It is apparent that the participation of women as entrepreneurs not only can be useful in benefiting their households and national economies but also affect the “entrepreneurial mind set of future generations who may come to consider self-employment as a natural career option following the examples of their mothers” 2. Choice of being an entrepreneur requires risk taking spirit and a vital degree of self-efficacy as well as a mix of knowledge, skills and attitudes base of flexible and adaptable self- realization. However, currently, academic research indicates a lack of all those factors among women. While women now appear to possess more higher education degrees, here is a demand that entrepreneurial education at higher educational institutions have to fully equip them with both foundation knowledge and skills essential for them to become job-creators graduates. Relating to general entrepreneurship trainings to develop core skills and competences necessary to be successful on entrepreneur activity delivered to both male and females students, because entrepreneurship cover a wide variety of knowledge and skills and it is not only about learning the theories of business, but also demands extensive exposure to personal practical experience3the application of an effective pedagogical method by experienced and competent trainers is the first recommendation. Examination- oriented courses with a lot of theories will not be very effective in nurturing students’ entrepreneurial attitude or positively affect graduates’ tendency to be startups. Instead, a focus on developing qualities like optimism, confidence, risk-taking propensity, self-efficacy and the like is likely to influence more. Secondly, entrepreneurship knowledge such as business behavior, entrepreneur mind set, and entrepreneur characteristics, planning business plan, management skills and the like should be delivered in close relation to practical activities to enhance students’ tacit knowledge. Allowing opportunities for students to put theories into practice is quite essential in motivating students. By planning their own business startup plan, executing their proposed projects, making cut throat decisions, taking risks and responsibility, students 1 National Survey of Women Business Owners in Vietnam 2015 2 Olena Bekh, (2014), Training For Women Entrepreneurs: An Imperative For Growth And Jobs, Policy briefing, extracted from women-entrepreneurs-imperative 3 Thomas M. Cooney, (2012), Entrepreneurship Skills for Growth-Orientated Businesses, OECD Report for the Workshop on ‘Skills Development for SMEs and Entrepreneurship’, extracted from cooney_entrepreneurship_skills_HGF.pdf 153 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE STARTUP AND INNOVATION NATION can learn valuable tacit knowledge through experience and discovery1. Regardless of the outcome of their project, students’ confidence level is surely boosted. Concerning the need of specifically fostering female students’ entrepreneurial spirit in higher educational institutions, it is advisable that the following suggestions should be noticed: First, it is necessary to offer gender-specific trainings whose lecturers must be more sensitive and have profound understanding of female entrepreneur characteristics and particular demands of women business owners so that they can address learners more effectively in the most beneficial way for female students. In addition, course content should pay a particular attention to women’s professional growth and skills issues. Gender-specific training “is not a reaction o perceived or actual discrimination but is recognition of learning style differences and customer preferences”. 2 Second, either formal and informal entrepreneurial education or trainings should be gender sensitive in the way that self- efficacy of female students can be fully developed and that female students can realize their own potential and possibility in successfully being entrepreneurs. It is best if schools can provide entrepreneurship trainings which pay special attention to boost female entrepreneurial potential and encourage their engagement into setting and developing enterprises at the later stage of their careers. Such training should be linked to the sensitization and awareness aspects with better introduction of female role models. In addition, it is suggested that female students be put into available support systems provided by business women networks and communities (who can be school’s alumni). Such kind of links between the worlds of business with women successful stories would be best motivation for females. Additionally, mentoring and coaching from the networks will have positive effects on business startup survival and on confidence among female students. Female entrepreneurship mentorship programs should be developed to provide female students with all forms of support such as mentoring, coaching, counseling, or dissemination of information, etc. 4. CONCLUSION The problem of the world today is seemingly no longer gender discrimination, at least in Vietnam and Thailand where the number of female graduates are relatively higher than that of males and the ratio of businesswomen is relatively high in the population. The issue now is how to help women realize their own strength, potentials, provide them with knowledge and skills necessary as well as help them take advantages of all possible resources to create jobs for themselves and for others. The most commonly cited challenges for women entrepreneurs are the lack of entrepreneurial education, training opportunities, business support systems, access to capital and access to network. Higher educational institutions can have great impact on making female students ready to engage into a future entrepreneurial life by offering them both more effective general entrepreneurship trainings and practical gender- specific entrepreneurship education and trainings. Once female students are well prepared for a future of entrepreneurship, they can successfully participate in business activities and hence help to “transform the quality and structure of the workforce and the society as a whole” 3 1 A.V. Ewijk, (2016), Journal of entrepreneurship education owned and published by Jordan Whitney Enterprises, Inc., PO Box 1032, Weaverville, NC 28787, USA. 2 National Survey of Women Business Owners in Vietnam 2015 3 Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) ( 2018), Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies, United Nations Publication.

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