Research Case Study

Unlocking entrepreneurship in Iran

Young people in Iran are developing their entrepreneurial skills thanks to a new project.

  • Tagged under

    Economy, business, politics and society
    Global perspectives and challenges

  • Lead Academic

    Dr Misagh Tasavori

A lecturer from Essex Business School is helping students in Iran set up their own businesses after a major study revealed they lacked entrepreneurial skills, which could help their country prosper.

Dr Misagh Tasavori, an expert in international business and entrepreneurship, collaborated with a company in Iran to assess an initial 5,000 students for their business acumen. The research revealed that the majority didn’t have the characteristics, such as creativity, independence, innovation and risk-taking, necessary to be a success in business.

This prompted the Ministry of Education in Iran to order a wider study, and in May 2015 over two million students, aged 13-15, were surveyed with similar results. It was clear a major education programme was needed to address the problem.

Teaching entrepreneurial skills

“The data demonstrated that the level of entrepreneurial characteristics of boys and girls in Iran was quite low and a significant improvement was required,” said Dr Tasavori.

Working with education and training organisation Kaashef, Dr Tasavori used her experience and expertise to help design courses for both students and teachers. She worked with Kaashef to develop a questionnaire to assess the entrepreneurial skills of teachers, so that training could be targeted at those most likely to make a difference to their students.

So far over 450 teachers in 200 cities have been trained and they, in turn, have taught entrepreneurial skills to over 10,000 students.

“Teachers are now recognising the impact taking part in the entrepreneurial programme can have on reducing unemployment and improving the future of students,” added Dr Tasavori.

The training is already having an impact

Students who have received the training say they are more motivated to start their own business and many are already selling products at local markets or on-line.

Indeed Kaashef are so keen to give students practical, as well as theoretical skills, they have set up weekly Friday markets, known as a Jome Bazaar, where students can sell products they have made through their own micro-businesses.

Over 600 students have sold their wares through Jome Bazaars in 12 cities and the network looks set to expand.

Lessons can be learned by other developing countries

Kaashef plan to re-run the survey to show how entrepreneurial skills are developing over time, and it is hoped similar programmes, based on the Iranian model, can be run in other developing countries to help reduce unemployment and increase prosperity.

Facts

  • 2 million students surveyed and 10,000 trained in entrepreneurial skills
  • 450 teachers trained in 200 cities
  • 600 students already involved in micro-businesses.
Research team

  • Dr Misagh Tasavori, Lecturer, Essex Business School, University of Essex
  • Dr Reza Zaefarian, Zaashef