The student enterprise scheme for agribusiness innovation: A University-based training model for nurturing entrepreneurial mind-sets amongst African youths

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Stephen Wamala Kalule
Basil Mugonola
Duncan Ongeng


Paradigm shifts in higher education have necessitated embracing and mainstreaming entrepreneurship education in training curricula. This is because entrepreneurial capacity building amongst the youth is considered the best approach for addressing unemployment, rural poverty and creation of responsible citizenry in Sub Saharan Africa. Reportedly, entrepreneurship education increases the chances for young people to start new businesses or even expand existing ones, gain confidence and so enhance their employability. However, one of the criticism of entrepreneurship education in Africa is that it is largely theoretical, and barely provides the much needed hands-on practice. This calls for training models of entrepreneurship that exhibit practical orientations. In light of this view, Gulu University in Uganda, introduced a practical approach of agri-entrepreneurship training branded as the Student Enterprise Scheme, in which students develop, defend, implement and evaluate agribusiness plans. The students are guided and supported with funds on credit to actualize economically viable and commercially sound business plans. Insights from the implementation of the scheme so far show that it is a useful practical approach for students to integrate theory and practice. This paper illustrates that although the linkage between student entrepreneurial activities and other stakeholders for Roundtable engagements requires further testing and refinement, the scheme is a good opportunity for young people to develop positive entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities, start own businesses and enhance their employability. The study recommends strengthening linkages between university students and those in technical and vocational institutions to develop a higher educational value chain on entrepreneurship training.

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