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Promoting business creation through real world experience: Projecto Começar

Dominguinhos, P., L. Carvalho (2009), "Promoting business creation through real world experience: Projecto Começar", Education and Training, 51(1), 150-169.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effectiveness of entrepreneurship training programmes targeting post-graduate students.

Design/methodology/approach – The approach takes the form of a case study of an entrepreneurship training programme, to assess its effectiveness. For this purpose the paper concentrates on the number of firms created and industries chosen by individuals. Additionally, attention is focused on non-starters, analysing the main reasons behind the decision not to set up a firm. Several sources were used to accomplish the objectives: an assessment report provided by the deliverers of the programme, an interview with the person responsible for the programme and interviews with programme participants.

Findings – Two editions of the programme “Começar” are closely scrutinized, including a self-assessment made by developers of the programme. Results show a success rate of 41 per cent, but non-starters benefit from the competencies developed in the programme, allowing them to change their careers or to increase their effectiveness in the labour market.

Research limitations/implications – The paper presents some limitations. First, this programme is not compared at the same level of analysis, against others. The literature concludes that the entrepreneurial context is relevant in assessing the level of entrepreneurship. Second, a control group who had an idea but did not benefit from entrepreneurship assistance is not followed. Third, the timeframe of analysis is not too long. A longitudinal study will overcome this problem.

Practical implications – The case study can help promoters to design more effective programmes, especially those targeted at postgraduates. Combining classes with experience in the field could help young graduates to overcome their vulnerability which is due to their youthfulness and lack of work experience.

Originality/value – The paper identifies good practice in entrepreneurship training programmes. Additionally, it analyses the effectiveness of these programmes, measured by perceived effectiveness from the point of view of participants and by the number of firms created, an area so far characterized by scant research.