Template needed competences

Project title: IMPROVED CURRICULA AND MODERN LEARNING SYSTEM TO PROMOTE THE NEW DIRECTIONS OF BUSINESS ENHANCEMENT IN LIFE SCIENCES APPLICATIONS.  Acronym: BELA

Lifelong Learning Program Leonardo da Vinci – Transfer of Innovation

Basic template regarding the entrepreneurship key competences needed to start and to develop innovative SMEs in the bio economic sector targeted to sustainable development applications (ENG)

I.                  Introduction. Target group.

The project is addressed to a comprehensive target group of people in need of developing competences in Entrepreneurship for a specific, complex, and involving high scientific and technical knowledge economic sector: sustainable development applications bio economy. The target group comprises:

1) Young entrepreneurs involved in life sciences business and interested in promoting sustainable development applications;

2) Young scientists preparing to pass from the research field to the business sector by developing start-up companies;

3) Young educators involved in teaching entrepreneurship and sustainable development applied to life sciences.

This document was elaborated in the framework of the WP 2. Evaluation of the competence needs of the target groups from the involved countries and study of key competences from dedicated documentation to define the BELA matrix of competence

II.               Aim – understanding the requirements

The central idea is the processes of innovation and venture-creation in high-technology domains are inextricably intertwined. This is particularly true in the uncertain life sciences industry, where start-ups with very uncertain futures are required to face significant challenges in short windows of opportunity.

The aim of the WP 2 is to define a matrix of key competences to be used to train young specialists in entrepreneurship in Life sciences business linked to sustainable development, the project target group already presented in the introduction. These competences formation, still a very rare training tool in an economic sector of increased complexity, will contribute to the growth of the number of innovative SMEs in the target domain.

First activity is to elaborate, based on documentation regarding the state of the art dedicated literature or previous education & training projects or education curricula & contents or handbooks, a comprehensive template comprising the key competences in bio entrepreneurship linked to the transfer of new technological achievements to market. The purpose of this approach is to get the key entrepreneurship competences regarding the starting up of innovative SMEs in bio economic sector and to associate a short characterization of each defined key competences.

The methodological framework applied to accomplish the task was:

1. Study and cross examination of the dedicated literature

2. Analysis of the education programs and content dealing with the entrepreneurship key competences needed to start and to develop innovative SMEs in the bio economic sector targeted to sustainable development applications

3. Analysis of the previous vocational training projects in the field of interest (deeper or/and larger vision)

4. Synthesis and integration of the gathered information

Due to the considered characterizations and explanations one can define further on the Questionnaire regarding the need of the key competences in the field of interest and the training’ specific content and methodologies to develop these competences having in view two issues: a) develop training for the knowledge transfer by theoretical formation, but also by “learning by doing” methods; b) as some of the competences can be developed based on natural aptitudes, it is to introduce specific pedagogical methods needed to test the inborn aptitudes and further on pedagogical practical methods to enhance them.

III.           Definitions of entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. This provides a foundation for entrepreneurs establishing a social or commercial activity”. (Education & Training for Entrepreneurship, EU Commission, Entrepreneurship Education, June 2013)

Well-known Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter’s definition of an entrepreneur (1934) entered the mainstream and relates entrepreneurship to innovation. Schumpeter defined entrepreneurs as innovators who implement entrepreneurial change within markets, where entrepreneurial change has 5 manifestations:

1) the introduction of a new (or improved) good;

2) the introduction of a new method of production;

3) the opening of a new market;

4) the exploitation of a new source of supply; and

5) the re-engineering/organization of business management processes.

The definition used at Harvard Business School was formulated by Professor Howard Stevenson, the godfather of entrepreneurship studies at this famous university and considers that the entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled.

Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy. These are the people who have the skills and initiative necessary to take good new ideas to market and make the right decisions to make the idea profitable. The reward for the risks taken is the potential economic profits the entrepreneur could earn. (www.investopedia.com)

The economics of entrepreneurship comprise (Financial Times Lexicon):

  • investment decisions affecting aggregate wealth accumulation in the economy;
  • the effects of borrowing constraints on rates of entrepreneurial entry and performance;
  • the role played by entrepreneurs in stimulating employment and innovation growth in the economy;
  • the existence of market failures in entrepreneurial economies and the scope for public policy to design programs to correct these failures;
  • how incentives within incumbent firms stimulate entrepreneurial spin-offs and the effects those have on the broader economy;
  • identification of the economic determinants of growth, at the levels of the venture, the region and the economy as a whole.

In now-a-day economy, where the crisis is still powerful, there is an increased need of well trained scientists, engineers, and business professionals capable of moving ideas to the real world in order to drive the new knowledge-based economy.

IV.           Presentation of main entrepreneurship competences

Competency or competence can be defined as a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, inborn and developed skills, behavior and values used to improve performance; or as the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role.

There are a lot of issues to be considered when presenting the entrepreneurship competences, as the subject was analyzed based on very diverse positions and having in view the complex personality of an entrepreneur as knowledge and skills.

The entrepreneur competence as a whole represents the capacity of a person to accomplish in best conditions the following actions:

  • find an idea;
  • appraise an idea;
  • see problems as opportunities;
  • identify the key people to be influenced in any development ;
  • build the know-who;
  • learn from relationships;
  • assess business development needs;
  • know where to look for answers
  •  improve emotional self-awareness,
  • manage and read emotions and handle relationships
  • constantly see yourself and the business through the eyes of stakeholders and particularly customers

At the same time that entrepreneurship is about:

  • a way of thinking and behaving
  • identifying opportunities
  • realization of value
  • building and learning from relationships
  • gathering resources
  • being positive and taking risks
  • building for the future

A comprehensive classification of the needed entrepreneurship competence (figure 1) considers:

  1. 1.      Technical knowledge and skills
  2. 2.      Management knowledge and skills
  3. 3.      Entrepreneurial knowledge and skills
  4. 4.      Interpersonal skills
  5. 5.      Critical and Creative Thinking knowledge and skills

outcomes-1

Figure 1. Main categories of entrepreneurship competences

1.Technical knowledge and skills

Specific Operation Technology

2.Management knowledge and skills

There is a tremendous need for practical skills and knowledge to produce goods or services effectively, and run a company.

  • Goal Setting: capacity to set goals, to create a plan to achieve them, and then carry out that plan.
  • Systematic Planning, Organizing and Monitoring: the potential, skills and abilities to achieve the scheduled objectives; the capacity to coordinate people to achieve these efficiently and effectively; the knowledge to develop a coherent, well thought-through business plan, including developing and learning from appropriate financial forecasts.
  • Decision Making: the capacity to make decisions based on relevant information and by weighing the potential consequences, and the quality of being confident in the considered decisions.
  • Other important knowledge in several areas, when starting or running a business
  • Business knowledge: a good general knowledge of the main functional areas of a business (sales, marketing, accounting, finance, negotiation and operations), and skills to operate or manage others in these areas with a reasonable degree of competence.
  • Market knowledge: a deep knowledge of the market where the entrepreneur attempts to enter, and about the requirements to be fulfilled to bring the new product or service to market.
  • Venture-specific knowledge: a comprehensive knowledge on the needed actions to make this type of business successful, about the specifics of the business that one intends to start (This is where it’s often useful to work for a short time in a similar business.)
  1. 3.    Entrepreneurial knowledge and skills

 

  • Innovation, meaning the continuous pursuit of new technological ideas and business.
  • Entrepreneurial knowledge: the knowledge about the ways to raise capital, and the sheer amount of experimentation and hard work that may be needed to find an appropriate business model.
  • Visionary spirit, meaning the capacity to understand far ahead others the value of new technology or business.
  • Self-confidence and optimism, meaning: feeling able to do something, having a positive perception of one self, being certain of one’s potential, expressing one’s point of view even if it diverges from the prevailing opinion.
  • Motivation, meaning: wanting to do something, remaining enthusiastic about a project, meeting challenges and anticipating the pleasure of success.
  • Effort Willingness, meaning: to work hard, performing unpleasant tasks with a positive attitude, anticipating the satisfaction of work well done.
  • Sense of responsibility, meaning: taking on and completing what was agreed upon by the team, group, organization or oneself; honoring commitments.
  • Initiative, meaning: taking action, transforming a problem into an action that can be undertaken, looking out for opportunities.
  • Perseverance / persistency / resilience, meaning: demonstrating constancy in what one undertakes, demonstrating an ability to see a project through to completion, overcoming frustration and the problems encountered to pursue the initial objectives despite obstacles.
  • Solidarity, meaning: sharing goals and working towards them, believing that one can be a resource for other people, believing that other people can make a contribution.
  • Team spirit, meaning: acting with other people in a concerted fashion, working toward an objective while considering the opinion of other members of the group.
  • Resourcefulness, meaning: using knowledge and skills to deal with the unexpected situations.
  • Determination, meaning: imposing self-discipline, concentrating on a defined goal.
  • Risk seeking/ tolerance, meaning the capacity to accept and to like risks, when they are needed to take steps towards a new project.
  • Change orientation, meaning the potential to understand that only this continuous orientation can assure the business long run.
  • Commitment to work contract, meaning the orientation towards well scheduled activity, to be done in well defined period of time with determined resources.
  • Demand for efficiency and quality, meaning the inborn and further on the developed potential for well done and efficient work.
  • Information seeking, meaning the capacity to get all the needed information each time when this is useful and to rely on comprehensive information to fulfill a goal.
  • Desire for control / leadership inborn and developed characteristics, comprising the capacity to lead and motivate others, to follow up and to deliver own vision, and the ability to delegate work to others.


  1. 4.      Interpersonal Skills

As a successful entrepreneur, one is to work closely with people – this is where it is critical to be able to build great relationships with your team, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors, and more. This means that the following skills and behaviors are needed:

  • Ability to understand others, ability to motivate and direct people, ability to empower, empathy.
  • Communication and active & empathetic listening
  • Interpersonal relations (social and emotional intelligence), persuasion and networking (important for start-ups)
  • Organizational ability
  • Environmental Observation
  • Ethics values respected and included into all actions.
  1. 5.      Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

As an entrepreneur, the need to come up with fresh ideas, and make good decisions about opportunities and potential projects is outstanding.

Creativity is an inborn skill that can be developed by investing time and effort.

  • Creative Thinking: the ability to see situations from a variety of perspectives and to come up with original ideas.
  • Problem Solving: the capacity to come up with sound solutions when it is faced with difficult problems
  • Recognizing Opportunities: the ability to recognize an opportunity and to spot the trend, and further on to create a plan to take advantage of the identified opportunities
  1. A.  Besides these needed competences there is always added a comprehensive description of the entrepreneurial personality.

Entrepreneurial Personality means above all a sum of inborn characteristics and behaviors to be developed further on.

  1. 1.    Psychological characteristics
  • Charisma: friendliness
  • Highly confident
  • Risk Taker
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Thirsting for the right answer
  • Thinking logically
  • Being practical: no sell – no income; no cash in hand – no income
  • Living with uncertainty and complexity
  • Having to do everything under pressure
  • Coping with loneliness
  • Holistic management
  • Building know-who and trust relationships
  • Learning by doing, copying, making things up, problem-solving
  • Managing inter-dependencies
  • Working flexibly and long hours
  1. 2.    Key entrepreneurial values
  • Strong sense of independence
  • Distrust of bureaucracy and its values
  • Self-made/self-belief
  • Strong sense of ownership
  • Belief that rewards come with own effort
  • Hard work brings its rewards’
  • Believe that one can make things happen
  • Strong action orientation
  • Belief in informal arrangements
  • Strong belief in the value of know-who and trust
  • Strong belief in freedom to take action
  • Belief in the individual and community, not the State

 

Other factors affecting the development of an entrepreneur personality:

 

3. Entrepreneurial Influences

• Antecedent influences – the social environment one find themselves in

• The culture of the society- certain cultures encourage entrepreneurial activity, others may discourage it

• The situations one find oneself in such, as employment

4. Antecedent Influences on the Entrepreneur

  • Well-educated
  • Young or Middle Aged
  • Leaves managerial job to start business
  • Willing to share ownership of business
  • Starts business because of positive motivations

 

5. Societal Influences

  • Family business
  • Proactive culture
  • Social interactions are many
  • Fostering independence
  • Society is flexible
  • Supportive relationships
  • Encouragement of achievement and responsibility
  1. 6.   Situational Influences
  • Monetary status
  • Childhood environment
  • Relationship with parents
  • Work environment
  • Level / quality of education
  • Encounter with a role model


  1. B.  Success And Failure Factors

Finally there is a discussion about success and failure factors in entrepreneurship. Two models of presentation prevail.

  1. 1.      General list of characteristics

• Hard Work

• Perseverance

• Motivation

• Social Skills

• Leadership

• Good Management

• Integrity

• Courage

• Good Health

• Common Sense

• Luck

• Support of Family and friends

• Clear Initial Goals

• Creativity

• Ability to Accept Uncertainty

• Adaptability

• Ambition

• Patience and flexibility.


 

 

  1. 2.    Deeper characterization

 

1 “Position in society”: Satisfactory government support; appropriate training; marketing/sales promotion. Position in society can contribute to the business success via linkages with a vast number of decision-makers in profit and non-profit organizations, government agencies and institutions. This kind of social network can enable involving key decision-makers who can provide help in variety of business situations.

2. “Interpersonal skills” is the second factor. It includes variables: Access to capital, ability to manage personnel, social skills, reputation of honesty.

 

  1. “Approval and support” includes variables: Support of family and friends, marketing/sales promotion, hard work. In order to manage a successful business, entrepreneurs need be approved by the people they care, but also by the environment in which they operate. They also need to gain support for their actions, because entrepreneurship means that they are walking on unsecured terrain.

4. “Competitive product/service”. It consists of success variables: Good product at competitive price, good customer service, and hard work. In the era of global dynamic competition, which continues to increase in all types of industries, the ratio quality – price is more significant than ever before. On the other side, development of information and communication technology affects the increase of market transparency, which represents additional pressure on providing more competitive products/services.

5. “Leadership skills”, contains success variables: Good management skills, charisma: friendliness, satisfactory government support, reputation of honesty. The leadership can be defined as a process of “using no coercive influence to direct and coordinate activities of the members of an organized group toward the accomplishment of group objectives”. This factor can significantly contribute to the overall success of an enterprise, because it implies that employees are willing to recognize the entrepreneur as their leader, who inspires and motivates them to follow him in achieving organizational objectives.

6.“Always to be informed including: Charisma & friendliness, position in society, maintenance of accurate records. Information regarding people and events inside and outside organization are crucial for success of entrepreneur. Quality decision making can be sustained only if it is based on exact and precise information obtained in the right moment.

7. “Business reputation”, includes Hard work, previous business experience, reputation of honesty Business reputation takes a lot of time to build. Long-term experience in business and maintaining of professional relationship with all stakeholders can establish solid business reputation. Entrepreneur with reputation has already earned trust in the market, which can be helpful in acquiring business arrangements.

 

V. The bio entrepreneurship competences specificities

 

While other sectors have had more success combining science and business together, this has not been the case for life science researchers. One can consider important differences from other sciences. Until now there are so few profitable outputs. So one must consider as many as possible actions to stimulate and enhance an entrepreneurial spirit and commercial outcomes among life sciences researchers, as this domain has a tremendous contribution to the increase of the quality of life. That is why the measures to develop bio entrepreneurship competences are well appreciated.

The field of biotechnology and life science faces different and difficult commercialization challenges compared to other technological-based fields, such as lengthy product development, long clinical trial process, high costs for R & D and clinical trials phases, as well as complex Intellectual Property (IP) protection regulations.

These characteristics impose both high standards and specific entrepreneurship competences. Of these, scientific and managerial talent is undoubtedly the most problematic issue. The characteristics and demands of current life sciences research already make it difficult to find a manager that will both master the science and have some interest in managing it. In the case of bio entrepreneurship, it requires an even rarer individual, with the skills, knowledge, talent and personality traits that are essential to launch this type of endeavor.

As for the entrepreneurship content of the training programs, accounting, finance, marketing, strategy, IP protection and regulatory affairs courses, coupled with business plan writing, were most often encountered. But opportunity recognition is rarely mentioned in the programs, although it is recognized as one of the weaknesses of those with a science-based degree, when it comes to commercialization.

Finally scientists becoming bio entrepreneurs must be qualified both in business and engineering. Teamwork must also be a core component of a bio entrepreneurship training program.

While there is no doubt that graduates in life sciences programs have the technical skill and knowledge required to adequately performing scientific research, the same cannot be said of “soft skills” like communication and management.

From the following article Paths to entrepreneurship in the life sciences, done by Shreefal Mehtaand published online: 26 October 2004 (doi:10.1038/bioent831) on the Bioentrepreneur portal (published by Nature Biotechnology) the two main roles of the scientist becoming bio entrepreneur (Inventor of technology, but also Market perceiver) are well put into evidence. At the same time the principal actions until marketing a new bio product are also presented (figure 2).

The ideal bioentrepreneur personality is described as follows:

 

1. A charismatic individual who articulate plans well.

2. A skillful manager.

3. A scientist with high technical knowledge of the area.

4. Energetic to the point of being “driven.”

5. A person with the ability to lead.

6. A person with an appropriate track record.

7. An individual with Maverick thought (being independent in thought and action)

8. A person with a high ability to work effectively in cross-disciplinary teams.

9. An individual with a dense social and investment network to assist in translating new technologies to the marketplace.

 

Main bio entrepreneur competences can be classified in the following categories:

  1. 1.      Technical Skills

Knowledge and understanding

–          Deeper knowledge and understanding of processes and mechanisms when developing products and services within the field of life sciences;

–          Adequate knowledge and understanding of the way in which the life sciences sustainable applications industry is organized and operates;

–          Proper knowledge and understanding of intellectual property rights (IPR) issues and strategies from an international perspective;

–          High capacity to lead activities and to work in a multi disciplinary, inter disciplinary context, dealing with highly complex technology.

outpout-2

Figure 2.Principal roles of the scientist becoming bio entrepreneur


 

  1. 2.      Management and Business knowledge and skills

Good management skills are needed to sustain transition from a R &D driven-culture to a market-driven culture.

Knowledge and understanding

–          Deeper knowledge and understanding of market and payment mechanisms within the field of life sciences sustainable applications industry;

–          High specific knowledge of the characteristics in the domain of interest, such as the definition of the customer, the importance of nongovernmental associations, companies’ relationships with (and dependence on) economic and social models developed in the national and international context, and the significance of politics and various ideologies for the economic organization;

–          In-depth knowledge and an understanding of regulatory issues and the requirements of authorities from a national and international perspective;

Skills and abilities

–          Ability to analyze, clearly communicate and discuss the relationships between the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation, namely to be able to express knowledge of the importance of life sciences research within the innovation process.

–          Ability to demonstrate understanding of relationships and networks.

–          Sound skills and ability to assess the market for a product.

–          Sound skills and an ability to carry out evaluations (due diligence) of projects at various stages.

–          Good skills and ability to formulate a business plan.

–          Adequate skills and an ability to make calculations where economic and financial factors form part of a project’s decision-making data and evaluation.

–          Real capacity to get access to financing, especially long-term and venture capital financing, as it is a big challenge for R & D, innovation, and science-based companies, where the inherent risk of innovation is high.

–          Capacity to argue for and against various types of financial sources at different stages of a project.

–          Skills and an ability to develop and propose an intellectual property rights (patent, etc.) strategy for a project.

–          Proper skills and ability to analyze a regulatory strategy for a project.

–          Needed skills and ability to participate in an expert manner in the development of an organization for projects at various stages.

Judgment and approach

–        Abilities and a sound attitude in relation to the financial evaluation of projects at various stages.

–        Capacity to evaluate the technical, practical and ethical foundations of developing and using management and analysis tools within life sciences companies (business plan, inter-company cooperation and cooperation between companies and academia, business intelligence, the management role, building organizations, staff issues, ethical issues, the environment).

–        Comprehensive approach in terms of the importance of networking and cooperation.

Meanwhile the bio entrepreneur’ management and business knowledge and skills are also in connection with the business development stage, such as:

  1. At start-up stage-critical skills set includes the ability to direct and lead R & D activities, and communicate the planned company’ economic indicators to the stakeholders.
  2. At commercialization stage-manufacturing and commercialization capabilities and collaborations.
  3. As it approaches the market-marketing and sales skills, as sale agreements have in-deep descriptors of profit and loss.

Bio entrepreneurship training must determine the development of competences and behaviors such as self-confidence, initiative, creativity, team spirit, self-esteem, passion, self-fulfillment, the will and motivation to act, the desire to learn, intellectual curiosity, the drive to excel, appreciation for a job well done .

 

VI. Conclusions

The project is addressed to a comprehensive target group of people in need of developing competences in Entrepreneurship for a specific, complex, and involving high scientific and technical knowledge economic sector: sustainable development applications bio economy.

This document was elaborated in the framework of the WP 2. Evaluation of the competence needs of the target groups from the involved countries and study of key competences from dedicated documentation to define the BELA matrix of competence.

 

A comprehensive classification of the needed entrepreneurship competence considers:

  1. 1.      Technical knowledge and skills
  2. 2.      Management knowledge and skills
  3. 3.      Entrepreneurial knowledge and skills
  4. 4.      Interpersonal skills
  5. 5.      Critical and Creative Thinking knowledge and skills

Entrepreneurial Personality means above all a sum of inborn characteristics and behaviors to be developed further on.

  1. 1.      Psychological characteristics
  2. 2.      Key entrepreneurial values

 

Main bio entrepreneur competences can be classified in the following categories:

  1. 1.      Technical Skills

Knowledge and understanding

  1. 1.      Management and Business knowledge and skills

Knowledge and understanding

Skills and abilities

Judgment and approach

The bio entrepreneur’ management and business knowledge and skills are in connection with the business development stage, such as:

  1. At start-up stage-critical skills set includes the ability to direct and lead R & D activities, and communicate the planned company’ economic indicators to the stakeholders.
  2. At commercialization stage-manufacturing and commercialization capabilities and collaborations.
  3. As it approaches the market-marketing and sales skills, as sale agreements have in-deep descriptors of profit and loss.