Empowering first-time entrepreneurs with self-efficacy in leadership competencies is integral to effective entrepreneurial training programs. This study explored the impact of a specific Self-Employment Training (SET) program on the leadership self-efficacy on a group of 21 nascent female entrepreneurs. Long, semi-structured interviews were conducted with past graduates of the SET program as well as the SET Program Director during the period of December 2007 through January 2008.
The results revealed that a fundamental educational need among nascent female entrepreneurs is to cultivate individual self-efficacy through experiential learning situations that remove ambiguity from the entrepreneurial process and build the self-confidence of the learner. The findings showed that experiential learning situations, the establishment of support networks, and reflective self-assessments all contribute to effective learning among nascent female entrepreneurs. Ninety percent of the participants indicated that experiential activities positively impacted their personal development. Sixty two percent of the participants discussed the valuable impact of the MasterMind peer-support networks to their learning experience. The women shared how their active involvement in these peer-support networks accelerated the entrepreneurial process by providing a forum for personal accountability, skill development and inspiration.
An interview with the Program Director provided insight into the history and evolution of the program in meeting the educational needs of the nascent entrepreneur. The Program Director attributed the program success to addressing the specific needs of a target female demographic through an experiential approach. Additionally, the Program Director stressed the subtle integration of leadership development throughout the program curriculum as a strategy to enhance learner self-confidence.
Analysis of the data revealed that experiential learning activities developed the entrepreneurial competencies of the women and, in turn, increased their self-confidence. The participants in this study stressed the value of the SET program to developing their self-awareness of inherent capabilities and demystifying the entrepreneurial process. As such, the women in the study were able to transition their passions and ideas into tangible businesses. The results show that effective entrepreneurial education programs that actively engage participants in building entrepreneurial skills change the self-perceptions and behaviors or the learner resulting in transformative learning experiences.
|Commitee:||Ledesma-Reese, Lydia, McManus, John F.|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, Management, Business education|
|Keywords:||Entrepreneurial education, Entrepreneurs, Leadership, Self-efficacy, Women, Women entrepreneurs|
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