By NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN
Dr Kerry Healey, president of Babson College, who hosted the |third annual “Babson Connect: Worldwide” in Bangkok from March 24-26, said Thailand was chosen as the venue because of its favourable conditions for entrepreneurs.
Based on a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey for 2016-17, Thailand’s established-business ownership rate of 27.5 per cent is the second highest among 65 countries polled.
Second, many Thais are undeterred by fear of business failures; in that category, the country ranked third highest of the 65 countries covered by the survey.
Third, a large number of Thais have a positive attitude towards being entrepreneurs, which carries a high status in Thai society. Fourth, a significant number of respondents to the survey said they intended to start their own business within the next three years.
In addition, a large number of Thai women see opportunities to become entrepreneurs.
Overall, the Thai population is largely optimistic and confident of being entrepreneurs, while there is also cultural support for experimentation and innovation.
As Thai society also does not punish failures, it is easier for those who fail to start anew.
Babson has alumni in Thailand plus 27 current students.
Healey said the Thai cultural support and high social status for businesspeople had led to admiration for entrepreneurs, and this made it a good career choice for younger people.
As a world leader in entrepreneurship education, she said Babson believed the skill sets and other requirements for successful business people are teachable, since students are well prepared while in college to take calculated risks so that they can learn the lessons from failures and can start anew.
Professor Heidi Neck of Babson College said it was also necessary for students to learn about design thinking for entrepreneurs as a tool set for finding how to find the right opportunities to meet customer needs.
Once the needs are identified, entrepreneurs then evaluate whether solutions to the customers’ problems are feasible and financially viable.
At Babson, all first-year students are required to team up to start a small business with initial seed money of US$3,000 (Bt103,300) – a form of entrepreneurship in action while in college.
Neck said such an education helped reduce risks in the real world in which successful businesspeople need the right mindset, the right skill set and the right tool set, such as “design thinking” – jargon for finding creative solutions.
She said there was no scientific evidence that successful entrepreneurs are born with the right attributes, so the right mindset is teachable.