HIGHLIGHTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS IN ACADEMIC CURRICULA: “I STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR”

D. Dias, D. Soares

Universidade Europeia I Laureate International Universities, (PORTUGAL)
The potential of young people to develop their own industrial, commercial or social projects and, thereby, to innovate and think “out-of-the-box” is, more than ever, understood as a survival skill to face the current socioeconomic context. Accordingly, since the beginning of the third millennium, the number of entrepreneurship education initiatives have growing fast. Entrepreneurship education is essential not only to shape the mind-sets of young people but also to provide the skills, knowledge and attitudes that are nuclear to developing an entrepreneurial culture. For Higher Education, this “new” challenge is particularly high, as the ultimate step in the academic career. Notwithstanding the importance given to entrepreneurship in Higher Education, some open-questions remain to explain. This paper intends to analyze how entrepreneurship is defined in the learning outcomes proposed in the new study programs submitted to quality accreditation in Portugal, since 2009. In the scope of a qualitative approach, the content of the learning outcomes was analyzed, distinguishing between technical and generic skills. In general, results reveal that entrepreneurship is fairly mentioned as soft-skill, however, encompassing a vast range of definitions. “To be aware of market opportunities to develop new ideas and new digital projects”, “to adopt a risk-taking posture in business”, or “to develop a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness” are examples of how this skill is defined. A better understanding of the multiple definitions related to entrepreneurship skill is provided for our analysis and their multiple ways of implementation into practice is highlighted.