Nowadays, people become more and more aware of the importance of certain skills in their professional and private life, such as the ability to manage one’s own time, communicate effectively, or have proactive life attitudes. It is not enough to merely teach young people about tangible topics, such as history, grammar of a given language, etc., but rather help them become proficient users of that language, reflect on history and to reflect and come to certain conclusions for the future and many more. Entrepreneurship education in its broad sense refers to many abilities and skills that are worth developing. There are some initiatives in the area, but still not enough; it is worth, however, to look at some good examples of entrepreneurship education aimed at youngsters in Poland.
Jasielskie Stowarzyszenie Przedsiębiorców (Jasło Business Association), thanks to the European Funds grant, made it possible for secondary school students from their area (School complex no 4 in Jasło) to get entrepreneurship-related skills. The initiative is a part of “Podkarpacki Ośrodek Wsparcia Ekonomii Społecznej” (The Podkarpacie Social Economy Support Association) which supports and coordinates a project with the same name. The objective of the project is to organize workshops for secondary school students in the following domains: planning skills (including professional planning software), setting up and managing one’s own business, forms of business ownership in Poland, typical mistakes connected with sole entrepreneurship. Each one of 60 afore mentioned participants will undergo a 12-hour workshop dedicated to the relevant skills development. Eventually, Jasło Business Association will launch an offer of a comprehensive workshop comprising three modules with the hope to boost economisation in the region in the long run. The financial contribution to the project is only 9000 PLN (around 2 093 euro), yet it gives a chance for a better professional life for 60 young people. Project partners are Hetman Tarnowski Fundation and the Tarnobrzeg Academy of Regional development.
Previously, Jasło Business Association offered other relevant workshops devoted to social insurance, labour law, data processing and storing, free workshops concerning fund-acquisition skills, etc.
The Association, in cooperation with School complex no 4 in Jasło, also piloted Entrepreneurship Academy aimed at creating a free, extracurricular educational offer connected with entrepreneurship education and vocational education among secondary school students who are at the threshold of life decisions concerning their future profession, establishing their own companies or looking for their first job. 100 secondary school students from school complex no 4 in Jasło participated in the project between January – June 2019. Local entrepreneurs and a professional trainer volunteered to carry out panel discussions revolving around the following topics: “sole entrepreneurship vs a company”, “what sole entrepreneurship entails”, “is sole entrepreneurship better than being employed?”, “is it possible to combine sole entrepreneurship with being employed?”, “the potential of Jasło and its area for new entrepreneurships and employees”, “phases of establishing and developing companies”, “typical mistakes made by young entrepreneurs”, etc.. There were also workshops organized as a part of the pilot study. During the workshops 3 areas were tackled: setting objectives and planning based on value matrix, SMART planning, planning based on Walt Disney.
The pilot study was successful: the participants and their teachers were of the opinion that it was very developmental and necessary. For that reason Jasło Business Association applied for a grant to make it possible for students of other schools to develop their entrepreneurship skills and help them get ready to enter the job market. The work of Jasło Business Association and their partners is an excellent example of entrepreneurship-related initiative for young people in Poland and can be treated by other cities and their authorities and local entrepreneurs as a benchmark.
Authored by: Maciej Mitręga, University of Economics in Katowice