Debating the soft support of starting entrepreneurship in an educational setting

Rudpolhus Gerardus Maria Koopman

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There are all kind of support programs to support entrepreneurship. There are several ways of supporting entrepreneurship, where the person, the entrepreneur, is seen as one of the key factors for stimulating entrepreneurship. The support of the person is what I mention as soft support. To avoid confusion and to get insight in the different kinds of soft support of the entrepreneur, different terms used for this support should be put into perspective.

Soft support like coaching, mentoring, consulting etcetera is already known in ancient history. The last century this kind of support developed a lot and since the start of this century it became more professional with an emerging number of papers about this subject as a result and also as a result a lot of different definitions which makes it confusing. This will not end by struggling about these definitions. Better look at the similarities in supporting personal development.

The designed soft support model can be used to talk about similarities instead of differences, without neglecting the large variation in soft support. There are some models that describe the same sort of variation, but only from one perspective e.g. coaching or mentoring. This model combines those models into one common model that can be used to point out where to place the different sorts of personal support. The axes, used to combine supporting methods like coaching, mentoring, supervision, teaching etcetera, are about how the supporter is behaving. On one hand there is the direction of the goal; focusing on the person or focusing on the business, and on the other hand the intensity of leading; directive or non-directive.

Some of the aspects of soft support, like teaching, are already know for a long time in education. Others, like coaching, are not so commonly known in education. While the education of entrepreneurs needs an entrepreneurial way of education, which means that there need to be an assortment of roles while supporting these students. This implies that the traditional teacher, who is most times not capable of fulfilling all these rolls, can’t educate entrepreneurship well enough. The soft support model helps to discuss about these rolls and to construct an education system for entrepreneurship.

This paper will help to incorporate personal development into entrepreneurship education. For this reason this paper gives an overview of the field of soft supporting, especially for starting entrepreneurship. This overview helps to discuss about this topic and to decide what elements are needed for entrepreneurship education. It also gives an overview (leading to a taxonomy) of a field where there is much confusion, struggle and diversity in the definitions and terms being used and very little known about cooperation between these fields.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2013
Event3E Conference - Inaugural ECSB Entrepreneurship Education Conference - Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 29 May 201331 May 2013


Conference3E Conference - Inaugural ECSB Entrepreneurship Education Conference
Other29-05-2013 - 31-05-2013


  • METIS-296698
  • IR-86292

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