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Promoting Entrepreneurship Education through University Networks — A Case Study in Mozambique

Written By

Dambusse Libombo, Anabela Dinis and Mário Franco

Submitted: April 3rd, 2014 Published: March 25th, 2015

DOI: 10.5772/59344

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1. Introduction

Entrepreneurship education is a growing concern within political and academic fields [1-15,]. A large number of initiatives have been developed worldwide to promote a broad range of entrepreneurial activities within academic institutions [4,16,17]. This is even truer for developing countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, where entrepreneurship is frequently presented as a solution to life and livelihood obstacles for different segments of the population [18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]. Entrepreneurship is also envisaged by politicians as the solution for inclusive economic growth and for social inclusion [26, 27, 28, 29]. However, the business landscape of sub-Saharan Africa is very different from the contexts of more developed countries, as it is mainly based on local markets, with underdeveloped regional integration and a high level of informal businesses. Furthermore, in these countries, the business and entrepreneurial environment is particularly hostile because of legal barriers, regulations, insecurity, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and poor financial systems, which inhibit the creation and development of businesses and firms [17, 23, 29, 30, 31]. Given the unfavourable conditions for entrepreneurship and the weak quality of entrepreneurship, some governments and institutions are beginning to invest in public policies and programmes that promote entrepreneurship and aim at improving business environments [22, 23, 26, 27, 30-34].

This is also the case for Mozambique. In recent years, the Mozambican Government and other institutions within civil society have promoted several initiatives to support entrepreneurship and ultimately to improve its level of development in the country. Within the framework of the National Agenda to Combat Poverty [25], a programme for poverty reduction and the creation of new jobs, one of the vectors is the promotion of entrepreneurship through the education system with an emphasis on entrepreneurship support at the level of higher education institutions (HEI), including the incubation of new businesses in order to "strengthen the intervention of the network of institutions engaged in [a] development capacity to manage and implement business" [25, p. 212].

In fact, in the current context of globalization and intense competition, cooperative networks between organizations – here defined as a group of organizations who generally seek common goals related to their survival and sustainability – contribute to the strengthening of competitiveness, the creation of new knowledge, developing new skills and organizational learning.

Much of the literature on cooperation networks has pointed out the rationale of cooperating in terms of business motivations. The latest research on cooperation, however, places the focus on the integration of resources through cooperation as an opportunity for learning and not only to minimize costs [35, 36, 37]. This area of literature argues that these relationships have contributed to the emergence of the information age and to the creation of knowledge networks for learning [38, 39, 40].

This study considers this issue to be particularly important in the context of developing countries, since networks and cooperation and their role in the integration of resources and/or organizational learning can function as an important strategy for skills development in organizations in terms of benefiting from globalization and the technological developments that affect all organizations, societies and economies. More specifically, this study focuses on Mozambique, where in recent times, within the framework of the National Strategy for Development – which includes a strong investment in human capital development – HEI have developed cooperation agreements for developing teachers and students’ skills, thereby addressing issues pertaining to the quality of (education) services, to combat unemployment as a result of lacking competencies and for responding to new market demands.

Based on a literature pertaining to a Mozambican case, this study discusses the issue of cooperation networks as a learning instrument and how they can be used for the development of the entrepreneurial skills of teachers in higher education. More specifically, it seeks to identify how these types of university networks can be decisive for the development of teachers’ skills and for the promotion of entrepreneurship in particular within the context of developing countries.

This chapter includes a theoretical discussion and presentation of a case study. The theoretical discussion includes a literature review on the importance of entrepreneurship education in HEI in the context of developing countries and particularly, in Mozambique. It follows the approach of collaborative networks as a tool for promoting learning and developing organizational skills, ending with a discussion on the importance of cooperative networks between educational institutions, and between them and other organizations as a key element for the development of teaching and learning about entrepreneurship. The case presented, in the context of a developing country – Mozambique – is that of Chibuto’s School of Business and Entrepreneurship (Escola Superior de Negócios e Empreendedorismo de Chibuto – ESNEC), one of the five schools of the University Eduardo Mondlane and one of the few HEIs specifically dedicated to entrepreneurship education in Mozambique. Data about this case resulted from participant observation of one of the researchers and data collected between February and June 2013 through an exploratory interview with the director (network manager); documental sources were also consulted.

From a theoretical point of view, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the theme of entrepreneurship by integrating the specific contexts of developing countries. The theoretical contribution also arises from the intersection of entrepreneurship theory and more specifically, the juncture between entrepreneurship education and the theory of networks and cooperation. In practical terms, this study contributes to the heads of HEIs' understanding of the importance of cooperation between institutions/organizations for the development of skills among both teachers and students.


2. Entrepreneurship education in the higher education institution (HEI): An emerging sector in developing countries

The HEI, in addition to its teaching function, assumes research as a basic element of knowledge creation, innovation and development [41]. Currently, HEIs face new challenges due to the emergence of the idea that entrepreneurship is the main engine for the creation of economic, social and ethical value, i.e., it is one of the key drivers for economic growth and wealth creation [42, 43]. These circumstances have forced universities and other HEIs to approach the business community, to develop interactions with entrepreneurs at local, regional and national levels, and to make them important sources of knowledge [44, 45, 46]. Furthermore, due to changes within the economy and society, reflected by fewer available job opportunities (even for graduates) [47] and the need for self-employment and innovation, entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial behaviour have become central issues in HEIs. This concern is reflected not only in the growing literature about entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial universities, but also in public policies and programmes aimed at promoting entrepreneurial behaviour through education.

The theme of entrepreneurship education is not consensual and includes several areas of discussion. One of these discussions focused on the question of whether entrepreneurship can or cannot be taught [48, 49, 50]. Some authors feel that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, because there is a lack of accepted theories or paradigms pertaining to entrepreneurship education [1, 3, 5]. Other discussions have focused on what the purpose and content should be of entrepreneurship education [6, 7, 9, 51, 52]; should it only be concerned with the creation of new enterprises and jobs or should it focus more on behavioural and cognitive processes like creative thinking and problem solving? In recent decades, studies on entrepreneurship have indicated that:

Entrepreneurship can indeed be taught and learned [2, 16, 51], though its success depends on internal (individual) and external (contextual) factors [53], and should also be related to the development of entrepreneurial behaviour [7, 9, 49]. In this sense, an enterprising person may not necessarily be an entrepreneur and their skills and characteristics may be exercised in different contexts (e.g., in a social context as a family or local community) instead of in the market.

Globally, entrepreneurship has become a subject of research [8, 45, 46, 53] at many universities through programmes and courses in entrepreneurship [1, 3, 5], although with little uniformity in content and approach among these programmes and courses. In reference to [49], three different types of entrepreneurship education were distinguished: education ‘for’, ‘through’ and ‘about’ enterprise.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the emergence of professionals and teachers of entrepreneurship [11].

Although research and entrepreneurship education still shows slow progress [33, 54], for students in HIE, there is considerable interest pertaining to the creation of new business as a career option [7, 43]. To meet the challenges of future human resources, HEIs should promote critical and creative thinking [54] in order to stimulate among students the development of an entrepreneurial culture that can respond to the pressures of globalization. Thus, one of the challenges facing HEIs is the definition of creative teaching methods and approaches for students that will assist them to acquire knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial behaviour through individual constructs and collective practices [29].

Knowledge about the cognitive processes of entrepreneurs allows HEIs to design courses aimed at helping students with entrepreneurial initiatives for improving their decision-making and risk management capabilities [55]. In other words, it is important that the university helps students to understand the world and the lives of entrepreneurs [56], so that they are aware of the attractiveness of the challenges and opportunities, as well as the uncertainty, complexity and limitations of their activities [29, 33].

The emphasis in sudent´s context makes evident the importance of context for entrepreneurship. In [57], it was argued that “context is important for understanding when, how, and why entrepreneurship happens and who becomes involved” (p.166). Welter considers what she calls an “omnibus context”, a broad perspective, drawing attention to “who, what, when, where and why” (p.167).

In the context of developing countries, entrepreneurship is frequently viewed as a catalyst for development, the solution for inclusive economic growth and for social inclusion [21, 23, 25, 26]. Despite some authors being sceptic about the link between entrepreneurship and development in the context of developing countries [24, 58, 59], most consider entrepreneurship, if not as a panacea for development, at least as a part of the solution [29].

The interest in entrepreneurship in this context is observable mainly within public policies [26, 27, 29, 50], although within academia, this interest has also exhibited growth during the past few decades [19, 20, 60].

However, in developing countries the business conditions are not favourable because of legal barriers, regulations, insecurity, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and poor financial systems that inhibit the development and growth of many companies [22, 23, 26, 27, 32, 30, 33, 34, 50, 61]. Furthermore, the quality of entrepreneurship is viewed as being weak. Entrepreneurship is largely represented by micro-small informal businesses with little or no innovation, which compromises its function as an engine for development. Thus, in these countries, some governments are becoming aware of the need for intervention in the business environment [22, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 33, 34] and that a key issue is to promote a different kind of entrepreneurship: with skilled entrepreneurs, able to innovate and structure a company and its growth. As mentioned in [50], skilled entrepreneurship offers potential rewards for individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum, including vulnerable populations and workers in the informal sector, for whom entrepreneurship signifies potentially more stable income flows, increased profits and more secure employment. For this reason, educational institutions are increasingly seen as tools for the development of an entrepreneurial culture. Some studies [29, 50, 62, 63] show evidence of the growing sub-Saharan African governments' investments in entrepreneurial education and training.

In general and despite of the difficulty of measuring the impact of entrepreneurship education, primarily due to its long-term effects [63, 64], several studies have concluded that government policies for developing entrepreneurship within the education system help to instil entrepreneurial values and attitudes in students [65, 66, 67, 68]. The importance of these policies lies mainly in promoting a strong educational system for the teaching of entrepreneurship, aimed at a constant incentive for delivering innovation [69].To create these policies, [70] suggested a list of actions that aim at transforming the educational system of countries that wish to induce entrepreneurial actions in their students. Among the items the authors suggest are: (i) developing national education plans for entrepreneurship; (ii) creating inter-ministerial work groups (education, economy, research and technology, etc.); (iii) creating public or private agencies to stimulate entrepreneurial education; (iv) teaching leadership in educational institutions; (v) reassessing rules and regulations in universities. These elements represent not only an investment in entrepreneurship education, but also a change within HEIs toward more entrepreneurial behaviour. The institutional culture of the higher education institution, together with its practices and policies, play a fundamental role in preparing the student for the employment market [71], which in turn highlighted the importance of a more dynamic and entrepreneurial institutional profile. Furthermore, the principle that the institution is important in the training of students is intrinsically linked to the fact that universities must be prepared to change teaching paradigms toward more global and business-like dynamics, in this way changing the culture of these institutions [72].


3. Cooperation networks in HEIs as a tool for promoting entrepreneurial learning and developing organizational skills in developing countries

As discussed in the previous section, in recent times, the development of entrepreneurial competences in universities have appeared as a response to curricular challenges (that require curricular components to be linked to behavioural and attitudinal components valued by the business world) [73], as well as challenges pertaining to business and/or organizational performance [4, 17, 54]. This requires new working (professional, social and personal) scenarios in a new generation of workers, representing a bonus and differentiating element in human resource management. Thus, it is expected that university graduates show a wide range of technical, professional and behavioural skills, which potentiate individual values that in turn contribute to the quality of firms/organizations [74, 75]. Furthermore, nowadays, a range of challenges impact on HEIs such as dwindling financial resources, demographic changes among the student population, the need to attract students and remain engaged with the community, etc. [76, 77].

Due to the growing emergence of these new challenges and therefore the need to establish an educational and entrepreneurial culture at the heart of universities, the adoption of cooperative networks appears as one possible response to these challenges by reinforcing resources of a diverse nature. To this end, universities engage in a wide range of networks and relationships with both private and public organizations, which serve as additional sources for collaboration and co-operation [78]

In recent times, HEIs, along with other organizations, have felt the need to act jointly and in association, sharing resources that may be material, financial, technological or human. University networks can be a crucial strategy for overcoming the current constraints within HEIs, since they are considered to have a primary importance for the transfer of knowledge between universities, universities and young entrepreneurs and between universities and other actors [41, 79, 80, 81]. Networks can take on activities that will exceed the capacity of individual institutions and the intention is often to establish a longer-term, more sustainable set of relationships than what is typical in university-to-university partnering arrangements [82].

In any type of network, it is assumed that two or more organizations are working together to solve common problems for a given period of interaction [83]. In this sense, the notion of the network implicates the notion of cooperation. In fact, the term 'cooperation' has been described by various investigators as a cooperative relationship, strategic cooperation, network or collaboration, as well as the formal or informal communication agreements between two or more organizations that allow the parties involved to obtain mutual benefits from said cooperation [84, 85, 86]. In reference to [87], it is stated that the result of this process can be designated symbiotic entrepreneurship, which they define as “an enterprising effort by multiple parties, each of which benefits from the joint effort, such that added value is created” (p. 110).

Cooperation networks are formed by a group of actors – people, services, organizations and countries – interacting and maintaining structural relationships, which can be familial, social, communicative, financial, strategic and/or commercial [88]. A cooperation network consist of an agreement that establishes relationships that allow the different actors to not only reduce market uncertainty and turbulence, but also create advantages, with the view that the overall benefit is greater than the individual action. Cooperation networks can be established for various reasons. For [88], a partnership concerns agreements in which two or more partners share the commitment for reaching a common objective, joining all their capacities and resources and coordinating their activities to be successful. Cooperation networks serve as a response to globalization and growing market uncertainty and complexity, implying the sharing of knowledge and experiences, the reduction of risks and costs and the development of new technology [35, 36, 89, 90, 91, 92]. More important in the context of HEIs, cooperation networks can be seen and used as a strategy or opportunity for learning new competences, i.e., embedding a partner’s know-how [93]. In general, cooperation is seen as a means for developing an opportunity to learn new competences and knowledge.

Competence is defined here as the recognized ability to act responsibly, which implies the individual’s capacity to mobilize, integrate, transfer knowledge, resources and skills that add economic and social value to the organization [94]. Organizational competence is defined as the ability to coordinate the distribution of the organization’s resources and capacities in an established direction in order to attain its objectives. These two definitions are set in the theory based on organizational competencies, which considers that competencies do not only lie with individuals, but depend on the organizational context and have a social and organic quality that often depends on shared experiences and interactions within the organization, so that this is seen as a complex, structured and dynamic combination of assets, organizational resources and competencies [57].

In [95] it is proposed that cooperation networks should be seen as learning opportunities, while several later studies have confirmed this point of view [96, 97]. Learning networks are formed above all by partner organizations with the aim of learning from each other’s knowledge base [98]. This type of cooperation serves as the basis through which organizations intensively interact and gradually absorb knowledge from their partners [99]. As opposed to opportunistically stealing knowledge, learning networks allow for specified and encouraged knowledge. The knowledge network allows for the accumulation, storage and sharing of organizational knowledge. Through the interaction between different groups from different cultures, sources of learning and innovation are provided and in this way, the organizational structure and culture will also determine the capacity for absorbing inter-organizational learning [39, 40].

The most prevalent traditional methods for teaching entrepreneurship include the business plan, case studies, presentation and discussion of case studies and training by entrepreneurs who act as role models for the students [100]. However, some authors consider these traditional methods of teaching entrepreneurship as lacking the innovation component [4], as not promoting entrepreneurial skills in students [48] and inhibiting the ability of teachers to take risks, to take on new practices and to implement new methodologies extended to new publics and new contexts (Gibb, 2002a), i.e., they do not promote entrepreneurial behaviour [101].

In [102], the importance of cooperation between universities and the business sector in terms of creating innovative pedagogical practices that able to develop fundamental capacities in young people for making them successful future citizens is noted. These authors consider that networks between schools/universities and the local community is essential for creating the foundations of an innovative and sustainable society. They focus on the learning processes, often in the form of cooperation networks and more flexible relationships between the university and other local institutions, corroborating the potential for moving the boundaries between systems of education, training and work, as pointed out by [103], within the pursuit a common goal – enabling young people both to develop work practices and to contribute to community development.

One approach in the field of teaching entrepreneurship is associated with preparing trainers to transmit more solid knowledge about the subject. When speaking about trainers linked to entrepreneurship, not only lecturers should be considered, but also a network of business-people, ex-students or even students with an entrepreneurial profile, all of whom can serve as models in classes [71]. The impact of teaching entrepreneurship can be greater when we make a connection between theory and practice, which the above-mentioned network individuals can transmit during the learning process [104, 105]. Educators responsible for teaching entrepreneurship tend to bring in outside examples to present diverse classes involving theory and practice, in this way improving the learning of entrepreneurship [104]. In this way, the educator becomes more of a facilitating agent than a lecturer, as they provide students with wider experience in terms of transmitting knowledge about entrepreneurship [105]. This fact is corroborated for the teaching of those students who have entrepreneurship as an intrinsic characteristic, as studies such as [106] prove that these students are searching for practical knowledge in addition to theoretical knowledge to formulate their business ideas.

Therefore, cooperation networks become a viable and stable strategy for achieving certain objectives that the organization might not be able to reach on its own [92]. These objectives emerge as a result of the influence of the organization’s external environment (the organization’s social and economic surroundings), as well as its internal conditions [107, 108, 109].

Governments and international organizations alike are promoting multi-university networks as a mechanism for strengthening higher education in low- and middle-income countries, while also promoting the greater engagement of universities in high-priority national development issues [110]. Concerning HEIs in developing countries, these objectives include both the improvement of entrepreneurship education and the development of more entrepreneurial and competent (qualified) institutions. In these countries, where entrepreneurial culture and knowledge is low as it pertains to historical and cultural circumstances, cooperative networks with other national and international institutions can foster the creation and dissemination of entrepreneurship knowledge and competences.


4. The case of Mozambique and the School of Business and Entrepreneurship Chibuto (ESNEC)

Mozambique is a developing country in sub-Saharan Africa, where the theme of entrepreneurship is assuming particular importance.

Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975, after which FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique/ Mozambique Liberation Front), the independence movement, implemented and lead a single-party, socialist regime. During this time, beginning in 1977, Mozambique suffered a devastating civil war, as a result of opposing FRELIMO and RENAMO (Resistencia Nacional Moçambicana/Mozambican National Resistance). In 1990, through a new constitution, the country introduced a multiparty democracy and recognized the role of market forces in efficiently allocating resources. The civil war ended in 1992, with an agreement to hold multiparty elections. In 1994, the country held its first multiparty elections, in which FRELIMO was elected as the majority party in parliament. Since then, the country has remained relatively stable as a presidential republic.

Mozambique has experienced sustained economic growth since the end of the war, increased foreign direct investment and the diversification of its private sector [50].

Due to the stable macroeconomic environment and the implementation of programmes and socio-economic reforms, Mozambique recorded an annual average economic GDP growth of 8.1% during the period 1995 to 2012, representing one of the highest in the world. This strong real GDP growth has been influenced by increased foreign and domestic investment, access to finance, technology transfer and gains through investment in education and infrastructure. Since 2000, growth has also been driven by investments in large projects [111]. In the past 10 years, the economy has proved to be increasingly robust and resilient to external and internal shocks. Despite the financial and food crisis that had an impact on the national economy, the country continued to show high and stable economic growth. Over the past four years, the average inflation was 7.1% and real GDP grew on average by about 7.0% per year. In 2012, real GDP grew by 7.2% and the GDP per capita was USD608.1 Agriculture is the sector that has most contributed to domestic production. Over the past 10 years, agriculture had an average GDP share of 23.3%. The manufacturing sector is the second largest contributor with a share of 13.5%. Sectors of trade and transport and communication services contributed 10.9% and 10.5%, respectively [111].

While the Mozambican economy has made significant progress in the past 10 years in its reported growth and its efforts to improve the investment climate, it still has a low ranking among international indicators of competitiveness and business environment (see Table 1). This is related to poor access to finance, the perceived prevalence of corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy, an inadequate infrastructure and the lacking education level of the workforce [50]. Additionally, among the population, there is a perceived inferiority of entrepreneurship as a career choice [50]

Ease of doing business rank (among 185 countries) 146
Ease of doing business rank (among 46 African countries) 20
Among 46 African countries
Starting a business 10
Dealing with constructions permits 29
Getting electricity 40
Registering property 31
Getting credit 22
Protecting investors 5
Paying taxes 17
Trading across borders 16
Enforcing contracts 22
Resolving insolvency 28

Table 1.

“Ease of Doing Business” rankings in Mozambique.

Source: World Bank (Adapted from [50], p. 24).

Human development indicators, namely the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Human Development Index Adjusted Gender (IDG), has shown positive trend results in Mozambique primarily from the results achieved in economic growth, access to education, longevity and reduced gender inequality in terms of access to income (INE and PNUD in [111]). However, this evolution coexists with high levels of informal sectors, high rates of unemployment (especially among the youth) and a large part of the population living in poverty. According to the Population Census 2007, the Mozambican population was estimated at 20.6 million inhabitants, of which nearly 10 million live in poverty, with problems related to food insecurity, low incomes and unemployment. The Mozambican population has been growing at a rate of 2.4%. The National Institute of Statistics' (INE) population projections indicate that by 2035, the final year of implementation of the National Development Strategy, the country will have a population of roughly 41.5 million [111].

The poverty rate of the population decreased from 69.4% in 1997 to 54.7% in 2008, but the poverty situation stagnated from 2003 to 2008. In this context, the government is accelerating measures aimed at reducing poverty levels by adopting policies and actions conducive to human capital development, including the improvement of basic social services and increased business initiatives that will contribute to increased production and the generation of employment and incomes for Mozambicans, particularly for the youth and women.

Meanwhile, domestic small and medium enterprises and locally owned business ventures lag behind and experience low labour productivity. The formal sector employs only 11.1% of the total labour force, 4.1% of which is in the public sector. With a total labour force of 10.1 million, it is estimated that 52.3% of Mozambicans are self-employed informal workers and that 11.5% are family workers that do not receive remunerations. The unemployment rate remains above 21% and is higher among young adults, including university graduates. It is estimated that about 300 000 youth enter the labour market each year [112].

In recent years, initiatives by the Mozambican Government and other civil society organizations for supporting entrepreneurship has multiplied with the aim of improving the level of development, reducing poverty and enhancing social inclusion. Many of these programmes target vulnerable potential entrepreneurs, aiming at poverty reduction rather than skill acquisition (see Table 2).

The introduction of the Economic Rehabilitation Programme (PRES) in 1987, targeted at demobilizing soldiers when the civil war ended, constituted the first step towards Mozambique moving away from a centrally planned economy. Seen as a potential catalyst for peace and stability through the support of self-employment initiatives, the programmes were later expanded to target vulnerable groups, particularly women, former refugees and those who had been severely affected by the war [50]. Development partners also became increasingly active in entrepreneurship education and training in the late 1990s through two key development institutions: the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDPs) Enterprise Mozambique, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the All India Manufactors’ Organization (AIMO) Industrial Development Advisory Centre (CADI) [50].

Programmes focused on youth, often making job acquisition a priority. In the case of the Entrepreneurship Education Programme, a secondary school programme, an entrepreneurship curricula has been introduced in secondary and professional schools since 2004 (see [63]), which is aimed at developing an understanding of business principles and to encourage the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours. Other programmes target higher education students as potential high-growth entrepreneurs.

Programme Type Programme Name
Entrepreneurship Education: Secondary Education Students DNET – Entrepreneurship Modules in Professional and Technical Schools
PIREP – Technical and Vocational Education Reform Project
MINED: Entrepreneurship Education:
Entrepreneurship Education: Higher Education Students UP/ESTEC – Entrepreneurship Courses
Empresa Junior/ISCTEM
ESNEC – Business Entrepreneurship Higher Ed. School in Chibuto Business Management (UEM)
Entrepreneurship Training: Potential Entrepreneurs NEC and Management of SMEs
Fundo de Desenvolvimento
ILO Comece o seu Negócio e Desenvolva o seu Negócio
INEFP – Professional Training Centres
Aga Khan Foundation – EDI Cabo Delgado
Internet Solutions- IS
RIC/ISPM – Research and Incubation Centre
ACIANA – Industrial and Agricultural Association
GAPI Youth Entrepreneurship Programme
IAC – Chimoio Agricultural Institute – CSDC
Entrepreneurship Training: Practicing Entrepreneurs Institute of the Promotion of SMEs (IPEME)
Programme of Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation between Finland and Mozambique (STIFIMO)
Investment and Financing Company (GAPI)
Institute for Export Promotion (IPEX)
USAD – Technoserve
Negócios Inclusivos
Support in Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (PACDI)

Table 2.

Programme landscape in Mozambique.

Source: World Bank in [50].

In the National Development Strategy (2015 to 2035) document [111], under the challenges and opportunities for development, knowledge is pointed out as "crucial to the achievement of socio-economic dynamics that occur in the country [as] it [allows for creating] new capabilities and patterns of economic development. Thus, investments in education and research, allied to science and technology are key factors [for catalysing] the production process and the economic competitiveness of the country" (p. 10). Moreover, included among the challenges for the development of the private sector is market-oriented training. It is not surprising therefore that the first pillar of the National Development Strategy is the "Development of human capital (training oriented to market establishment and expansion of vocational education...)" (p. vi).

The change towards a more entrepreneurial mindset and attitudes are also expressed as one of the fundamental factors for the success of the National Development Strategy: "[The] change [in] mentality is also meant to instil a proactive spirit in Mozambican[s] toward work and especially in the search for efficient and peaceful solutions to the challenges facing the development of [the] country. Assuming a posture of proactivity and creativity in seeking solutions to the country's development means looking at the individual and collective future in a promising and encouraging manner, where Mozambicans can, through work, access development opportunities that arise in the country and thereby improve their welfare" (p.52). To achieve this goal, the government also makes evident the importance of collaborative networks between different actors of the society: "[To develop, a society] depends on... individual action, as partnerships between citizens, civil society representatives and elected officials, administration and utilities, businesses, as well as unions, all contributing in different ways" (p. 52).

Thus, for both economic and social reasons, entrepreneurship education represents one of the main concerns of the Mozambican Government. One of axes of the National Agenda to Combat Poverty is to promote entrepreneurship through the education system, highlighting the support of entrepreneurship at the level of HEIs [30]. This support includes the introduction of entrepreneurship courses and courses related to business creation and local development, in order to both prepare and motivate graduate students to consider entrepreneurship as a possible professional career and to develop entrepreneurial behaviour. One of the main challenges of this agenda is the expansion of the higher education system, as well as the improvement of its quality and internal efficiency. Indeed, reports regarding the results of the National Programme for the Fight Against Poverty in Mozambique makes it evident that the results of the government's financial support, "about 7 million" (including many failures among the projects funded) include gaps concerning the implementation of teaching entrepreneurship in higher education institutions, as well as its objectives and its effectiveness with respect to providing guidance to students to learn to become entrepreneurs, or to be scholars in entrepreneurship. Thus, it is expected that all HEIs, regardless of location and curriculum content, act as incubators for entrepreneurial skills and innovative ideas capable of transforming various resources into wealth. For this reason, in some cases, beyond school education about entrepreneurship, HEIs have also promoted the incubation of new businesses in order to "strengthen the intervention of the network of institutions engaged in the development capacity to manage and implement business" (25, p. 212).

Thus, entrepreneurship education is increasingly prevalent in Mozambique’s higher education institutions. In [50], three institutions are identified that combined, enrol more than half of the country’s higher education students: Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique (Higher Education Institute of Science and Technology of Mozambique), the Pedagogical University and Eduardo Mondlane University. The first of these institutions hosts the Empresa Junior programme, which includes workshops and a business plan competition for providing students exposure to entrepreneurship processes. The Pedagogical University, in partnership with UNIDO, designed an entrepreneurship course for training teachers about entrepreneurship in 2009 (for secondary schools). In this university, “entrepreneurship” is both a degree and a cross-course discipline within the curriculum of different degrees. At Eduardo Mondlane University, students take a required entrepreneurship course regardless of their area of study. This latter university also opened an Entrepreneurship Higher Education School, the Escola Superior de Negócios e Empreendedorismo de Chibuto (ESNEC), which conducts courses on business management and leadership. This school is the focus of the following paragraphs.

The ESNEC, one of the five schools of the University Eduardo Mondlane, was created by the approval of the University Council at its meeting on 25 November 2008 and its mission is: "To develop the human resource capacity in the identification of business opportunities and transforming them [into] wealth". This school began its activities on 2 March 2009 and currently has about 790 students and 52 teachers (47 full-time and five part-time) teaching courses in Finance, Management and Leadership, Agro-Business, Retail and Commercial Agriculture.

One of the distinctive aspects of this school, compared to other schools of the University Eduardo Mondlane, as well as other HEIs in Mozambique, is the introduction of "entrepreneurship and business creation” and “business plan” courses in all the degrees taught in the school. Another strength of this school as it relates to entrepreneurship education is the development of business projects, not only with students, but also with local small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, thereby creating a space for interaction with local communities.

The school has been implementing agreements/projects for developing the skills of teachers, students and local entrepreneurs, e.g., SMETOOLKIT, which enables students, teachers and small businesses to use management tools for SMEs. Business Edge aims to enable teachers, businessmen and students in organizations, administration and business management, as well as in other short training projects related to hotel services, namely English and computer training. Since 2011


, the school has implemented the NICHE project, which includes the Development of a Sustainable Trade Academy, the aim of which is empower teachers and enable graduate students to develop a business through a business incubator. This incubator intends to serve as “a space where theory and practice can coexist and where different actors in the public and private sector can complement their interests”. This is a project whose goals are to develop a sustainable business academy that guides graduates to respond to the expectations of the growth and development of agriculture and trade in the country. Another objective of this project is to allow staff and students to participate in courses of action pertaining to research and sustainable business management in order to obtain the ability to advise the various actors such as associations of producers, traders and financial institutions in the agricultural sector, as well as commercial actors through a model of student-centred teaching. Thus, the NICHE project aims to guarantee results in the form of the improvement of the profile of its graduates, thereby adapting them to market needs.

With the above in mind, interviews were conducted with stakeholders in order to assess its sensitivity to the agribusiness sector in Mozambique, expectations for future graduates of the ESNEC (expected competencies), the possibility of establishing collaboration protocols with companies related to the sector, as well as to receive interns. It also aims to create a regional network of sustainable trade development in cooperation with other actors in the sector. In 2011, ESNEC was able to strengthen its institutional capacity through the training of more than 50 students, 30 teachers and 20 employees on various topics, and has also developed partnerships with other institutions such as BINDZO, ARPONE, Millennium Villages and IIAM. To enforce local and regional experiences, the NICHE project uses the local expertise of research institutes such as Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique (IIAM) and HICEP (Hydraulic Chókwe), agricultural enterprises in Chokwe, Xai-Xai and Maputo. However, greater involvement is expected in the coming years, since other service providers will be included through the Business Incubation Centre for the private sector. This project has already enabled the purchase of two vehicles, a minibus with 32 seats and another with eight seats. It has also allowed for the mobilization of bibliographic material for ESNEC courses valued at over 8.000 USD and the purchase of miscellaneous equipment such as computers, printers, cameras and office supplies. ESNEC also recently launched an internal competition for graduate students to submit business plans that, within the framework of cooperation with a bank, may be financed.

These projects contribute to the collaboration of diverse entities, namely: FUNDEC (skills development fund) (a public programme funded by the World Bank), National Institute for Training and Employment, the National Institute of Tourism, the Centre for Academic Development and the Institute of Languages.

As reported in [50], a focus group and interviews suggested the lack of qualified teachers in business and entrepreneurship subjects. To overcome this difficulty, ESNEC has established cooperative relationships with several other national and international academic institutions, especially with Portuguese-speaking countries, for the development of teacher skills, namely the School of Hospitality and Tourism Inhambane. (Mozambique), the Polytechnic Institute of Gaza (Mozambique), the Pedagogical University (Mozambique), the University of Saint-Thomas-Gaza (Mozambique), the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil), the University of Goiás (Brazil), the University of Aveiro (Portugal), the University of Beira Interior (Portugal) and the University Van Hall Larenstein (Netherlands). As a result of these cooperative networks, 20 teachers attended or are attending Masters courses and three are attending doctoral programmes in entrepreneurship or management. Twelve of these teachers have already attained a Masters degree and only two failed to complete their studies. Only 11 teachers of the institution did not receive further training or qualifications.

According to the Director of ESNEC (manager of cooperation networks), “cooperation [includes] help or mutual collaboration between two or more parties without profit interests or other [monetary] benefits... help may be based on agreement[s] between the parties and network[s] are seen as “connections between different institutions to exchange relations of mutual information for use [with] available resources" (extract from interview). This statement emphasis the non-profit aspect of cooperation found in the content of the cooperation agreements that the school has established. Networks were established in order to exchange information and knowledge and to potentiate the available resources of the total network. In this sense, the networks are used not to create an immediate profit or market advantage, but to enable the mobility of resources for the specific purpose of improving entrepreneurship education competencies (cooperation in other universities), as well as to promote business knowledge dissemination and innovation (in the case of other collaborative projects).


5. Concluding remarks

In this chapter, the importance of entrepreneurial competencies and entrepreneurial education in developing countries was discussed. Furthermore, collaborative networks were presented as effective instruments for promoting the entrepreneurial competencies of both HEI students and teachers. The primary argument presented in this work is that, especially in countries with major weaknesses concerning entrepreneurial culture and human capital, collaborative partnerships with other international and national universities and organizations are fundamental to the generation and dissemination of knowledge and an entrepreneurial mindset. In fact, the literature review showed that university networks are considered one of the most important vehicles of knowledge transfer between universities and between universities, young entrepreneurs and other economic actors.

The case of Mozambique was presented, a country where the national strategy for development is heavily centred in the human capital development and where entrepreneurship education plays a fundamental role. In fact, in its public communications, the Mozambican Government emphasize the importance of collaboration between the different sectors of society and cooperation with international organizations in order to promote learning and change attitudes. In line with this, since the 1990s, governments have strongly invested in entrepreneurship education and training with the collaboration of other national and international organizations. Investment in entrepreneurship education in HEIs represents a central issue of this strategy.

This study focused in the ESNEC case, which represents one of the more important and recent developments of entrepreneurship education in Mozambique. This case showed how collaborative university networks have been used as tools for the development of the entrepreneurial competencies of both teachers and students and as a vehicle for knowledge dissemination within the community. More specifically, cooperation with other universities is being used to promote the mobility of resources for the specific purpose of improving teachers' entrepreneurship knowledge and competencies; other collaborative projects have been implemented in order to promote innovation and the dissemination of business knowledge among students and entrepreneurs in the surrounding community.

How far these investments in entrepreneurship education, especially those in HEIs have been effective as a strategy for development is beyond the scope of this work; however, in the medium-long term, this will be an important issue to address within the continuity of the debate about whether entrepreneurship can or cannot be taught and learned.

Finally, it must be noted, as mentioned by [50], that there are two important dimensions that affect successful entrepreneurship: the human capital of the individual and the business environment in which individuals operate. In this sense, entrepreneurs’ ability to succeed based on their own skills and abilities is moderated by the context in which they operate. In spite of the fact that there is some cause for optimism in Mozambique, the challenges for achieving a vibrant entrepreneurial economy in Mozambique are significant. Entrepreneurship education can only address some of these challenges [50]. Despite the increasing importance given to entrepreneurship education, networks and cooperation, Mozambique has many shortcomings in terms of infrastructure, human capital, financial capital, organizational structure, technological development and also in terms of organizational development agreements, often associated with lack of confidence, lack of fidelity and opportunistic behaviour, i.e., the lack of an organizational culture. All of these constraints have an impact on entrepreneurial outcomes. Therefore, the improvement of organizational culture in Mozambique should also be seen as one of the contributions or earnings resulting from cooperative networks. In reference to [113], it was argued that “learning organisations require a culture where all individuals, without exception, share organizational values. A climate of trust and respect between [all acceptable] stakeholders and aspects like change/adaptation, innovation and creativity are factors to take into consideration” (p.1729). On the other hand, issues related to access to and the cost of financial capital, as well as integration into markets though market information, regulatory regimes and infrastructure constraints are beyond the scope of what any single programme of entrepreneurship education can address; however, these programmes will clearly benefit from greater attention to the links between improvements in knowledge and skills and other enterprise development mechanisms, including access to funding and market intelligence. In these contexts, networks and HEIs play a fundamental role.


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Dambusse Libombo, Anabela Dinis and Mário Franco

Submitted: April 3rd, 2014 Published: March 25th, 2015