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Chapter 15: Entrepreneurship Education in the Republic of Ireland: Context, Opportunities and Challenges
15 Entrepreneurship education in the Republic of Ireland: context, opportunities and challenges Thomas Garavan, Naomi Birdthistle, Barra Ó Cinnéide and Chris Collet Introduction Entrepreneurship is considered central to economic growth. It is a major source of employment, innovation, product and service quality, competition and economic flexibility. The 2007 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (Reynolds et al., 2004) describes entrepreneurship as a ‘worldwide phenomenon that is on the increase’. The generation of the twenty-first century has been branded generation E, the most entrepreneurial since the Industrial Revolution (Kuratko, 2005). Ireland is no different in this respect. The GEM report highlighted that in Ireland 8.2 per cent of the adult population can be classified as early stage entrepreneurs and 9 per cent were classified as owner-managers of businesses older than 42 months. In 2007, approximately 306 000 people were involved in early stage entrepreneurial activity (Fitzsimons and O’Gorman, 2008). The 2006 GEM report found that Ireland ranked seventh out of 22 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries on early stage entrepreneurship. It ranks third in the European Union in terms of overall entrepreneurial activity (Fitzsimons and O’Gorman, 2007). Entrepreneurial activity is therefore strong in Ireland even though numerous reports highlighted that the Irish education system at second and third level is not conducive to the development of students’ entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Entrepreneurship education is considered to be a major agent for societal change. Not everyone will become an entrepreneur; however, all members of society need to be more entrepreneurial. This...
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