Unveiling the Entrepreneurial Mindset: A New Approach to Education

Entrepreneurial competencies

Bridging the gap in entrepreneurial education, our newly developed framework, comprising 15 principal competencies, offers universities a comprehensive tool to intentionally cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset. This innovative tool ensures a targeted, nuanced approach to fostering entrepreneurship, replacing hopeful coverage with intentional teaching.

Note: from this introduction page you can click through to our interactive framework where you may explore all the principal competencies and their sub-competencies. You are also able to download a pdf of the full framework from there.

Certain competencies distinguish the mindset of the successful entrepreneur

The entrepreneurial landscape, ever-changing and thrilling, is a captivating world of possibilities and challenges. At its heart lie certain competencies and capabilities that constitute the quintessential entrepreneurial mindset. It is these traits that often distinguish a successful founder and their venture. Moreover, even for those not intending to delve into entrepreneurship, these characteristics can prove invaluable. They are sought after by corporates and organizations alike, underscoring their broader relevance.

Understanding these competencies allows us to know what and how to teach entrepreneurship

As educators vested in the realm of entrepreneurial pedagogy, the comprehension of these competencies becomes crucial. It serves two fundamental purposes: it enlightens us on what to teach, and perhaps more importantly, how to teach it. The competencies, a blend of cognitive and non-cognitive elements, are not merely subjects to be communicated but traits to be nurtured. A deeper understanding of these elements provides us with a robust metric to gauge the efficacy of our educational programs in cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

A framework to help design, develop and measure programs has remained elusive

Indeed, significant work has already been undertaken in this sphere. Noteworthy examples include Saras Sarasvathy’s exploration of “effectuation,” the European Union’s EntreComp framework, and the initiatives by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NTFE). Yet, despite these substantial efforts, a comprehensive framework catering to the unique requirements of designing, developing, and implementing high experiential programs remains elusive.

“Standing on the shoulders of giants” we have developed a framework for program designers

Addressing this gap, we have synthesized our experiences and insights from existing research to develop a set of 15 principal competencies, each supported by several sub-competencies. The product of rigorous research, partially funded by an EU-based Higher Education Initiative, this framework promises a nuanced and holistic approach to entrepreneurial education.

We invite you to use this framework in your programs

We extend an invitation to universities developing and implementing entrepreneurial programs to utilize our work. Whether these programs form part of the accredited curriculum or are extra-curricular initiatives like accelerators or incubators, the framework can prove beneficial. Of course, the complexity and extensiveness of the framework mean it may not be fully covered by all programs, especially shorter ones. However, the framework enables educators to consciously choose which competencies to focus on, replacing reliance on hopeful coverage with targeted teaching.

Let us reshape entrepreneurial education together

Discover our framework at Mashauri Entrepreneurial Competency Framework  (MecFrame ) and join us on this exciting journey to reshape entrepreneurial education. We hope that, through deliberate design based on our framework, we can collectively nurture future entrepreneurs, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and mindset they need to succeed.

Teespring announcement

The story from the founder ……

“Just over nine months ago, armed with a few beta users and a short wait list, we launched Teespring to the world. The concept was simple: Kickstarter for custom t-shirts. Instead of dropping thousands of dollars to get your tees screen printed and trying to figure out how to get them to your buyers, all you had to do was come to Teespring, design your tee, set a goal (the higher the goal, the cheaper the price per tee), and launch the campaign.Teespring T shirts
Buyers could come to your campaign and pre-order your tee, and once you reached your goal we’d handle the production and fulfilment and send you a check for the profit.

We had big dreams of Techcrunch articles and explosive growth. We’d poured ourselves into this, people were sure to be blown away and it wouldn’t be long before they’d be sharing it with their friends. It was only a matter of time.

The reality was far less exciting. No one was interested in covering our launch, only a small percentage of the waiting list opened their invite email, and traffic was the same as it had been the day before. It was time to face the truth: There would be no overnight success for us, we’d have to grind it out.”

Teespring now has multi-million dollar revenues and although success has come quite quickly, it has not been without hard work and the normal “entrepreneurial roller-coaster”. What are the lessons to be learned:

On a positive note:

  • They really understood the problem they were solving – as it was a problem they faced.It is always critical to have a clear idea of the need your venture is fulfilling (in fact it may be THE most critical aspect); but it is often best if you have first-hand experience of the problem. If you do not – it is always a good idea to go and get that experience.
  • They got a product up and operational in a short time. They proved it worked and then developed from there. This is also classical start-up thinking -do not try and develop a solution with all the bells and whistles at first cut – you will only have to redo it all later when you have more user experience to guide you.
  • Although they had a good start, they recognised the need for help and signed up to an accelerator (Y Combinator) as they recognised they were missing skills and networks. This is a great lesson for entrepreneurs in general who have a tendency to try and do everything themselves. It may be possible, but it will slow you down.

On a more challenging note:

  • Although the product was good and met a real need – it still had to be actively sold. The founders did an excellent job at speaking to a wide range of prospective buyers to understand what was required to make it something that was easier to buy. They finally realised it was the in-web design tool that was the critical issue (and the most difficult to develop)
  • It was a long haul. They pushed and hustled and generated leads but nothing seemed to allow the site to get its own momentum, until suddenly there was a magic moment when it started getting easier. Campaigns began to commence organically and new users arrived who had not been cajoled to join. The owners put it down to a critical mass  of effort that eventually started paying off.

The Teespring tipping point


So – in summary, what are the lessons:

  • Really understand the problem or need – and keep increasing your knowledge of it.
  • Get a product out there quickly and then refine based on user needs
  • Recognise where and when you need help- and go and ask for it
  • Push hard and keep persevering – even when things look dark, you may be inces from the tipping point.

Mashauri has been designed as a web-based accelerator and training resource that is focussed on assisting entrepreneurs moving along the start-up path. Although the effort is going to be yours, we can support you in reaching the stars through our tool-set, process and real live mentors. Have a look around the site for more information.