The focus of this investigation lies in identifying the evolution of the traits/behaviour required in entrepreneurs, during part of the 20thand 21stCentury, and narrow these down to the “soft skills” looked for by financial institutions and venture capitalists when they decide to provide credit. These skills, we propose, are identified and built on by using the structured behavioural interviewing process.
World events in the last 20 years, starting with the recession in 2008 and Covid 19, have seriously affected the economic situation of many Western countries. The labour markets have seen changes to employment which are requiring that employees entering the labour market, for the first time, adapt their skills to an extremely changing environment. With this in mind, and as Robles & Zárraga-Rodríguez (2015) state, developing entrepreneurial skills can provide development to a country and increases its competitiveness.
It is undoubtable that the European Union, as well as individual states, put into place specific policy actions to help SME´s and micro-ventures find credit, such as “The European Progress Microfinance Facility”. This research aims to support the use of soft information by financial institutions as well as financial information on the future entrepreneur (Brown & Zehnder 2007; Chang et al 2014; Grunert et al 2005).
In particular, the research centres around young first-time entrepreneurs and at risk of exclusion individuals who take entrepreneurship as a life option. The purpose of the technique is to provide information on past behaviour that in turn can be used as evidence of the existence of certain traits and behaviours that can lead an entrepreneur to success.
Based on this premise we explore the possibility of using the structured behavioural interviewing process to identify the importance of certain skills/abilities or competencies when banks and/or investment companies take decisions on whether to supply credit or not to new ventures.
This technique also contributes to providing future entrepreneurs with up to date feed- back of their learning progress and centres on developing their competencies from past experience. Some people are able to learn new behaviours from past life and work experiences (Lombardo & Eichinger 2000) and these are the individuals that can benefit from the kind of technique proposed in this work. Furthermore “action learning” or learning by doing and participating in the research-based training, can contribute significantly to the development and innovation of a business (Brink & Madsen 2015). Boyatzis & Boyatzis (2008) adds that a “behavioral approach to talent can be developed in adulthood” and that people are able to change their behaviour through time. However, not all learning methods appear to be as valid and in this line Guest & Riegler (2017) determine that traditional methods are not necessarily effective in improving the learning of students.
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