Putting the Element of Passion Back into Entrepreneurship


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Entrepreneurship often associated with job creation, a contributor to economic growth, and essential for the development of a nation. The prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was quoted saying that the implementation of the National Entrepreneurship Policy should be able to turn Malaysia into a truly entrepreneurial nation by 2030.

While this vision looks promising, the current data on hand suggests otherwise. The unemployment situation among graduates in Malaysia has been a rising concern. Out of 21 public universities and 38 private universities in Malaysia, nearly 60% of the graduates remain unemployed after a year of graduation, according to a tracer study conducted by the Ministry of Education. On the other hand, it is well understood that entrepreneurship course has been made compulsory in almost all university and that several institutions even offering a bachelor degree in the area of entrepreneurship. The matter of concern here is, what went wrong? Why has not our university churning out entrepreneurs that are expected to create more job opportunities and reduce the unemployment rate among graduates in Malaysia?


Perhaps, one of the closes answer to the above question is that the present generation of graduates is more font towards getting a job that promises stable income rather than venturing into the risk-taking entrepreneurial career. In a similar vein, students from bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship offered by respective universities are as well struggling to produce a good number of businesses start-up upon their graduation. 

So, what can be done to resolve this undying dilemma? In the eyes of the authors, this issue can be addressed by having to select the right candidate for the right program. The entrepreneurship degree program or any program associated with entrepreneurship has only one ultimate aim, that is to produce graduates that venture into a business start-up. Hence, in this case, universities, upon the enrolment into the entrepreneurship program, should ensure that only candidates who are passionate about entrepreneurship are being selected into the entrepreneurship-related program. The next question to be answered is, how do we do that?

Recent research in academia has revisited the importance of entrepreneurial passion as determinants of entrepreneurial career choice and intention. While the term remains novel in the academic discussions, its practical application is undoubtedly valid. The seminal work on entrepreneurial passion suggested six sources of entrepreneurial passion that influence one's entrepreneurial career choice, namely: a passion for growth, a passion of people, passion for product and services, passion for inventing, passion for competition, and passion for a social mission. The findings suggest that these six elements of passion are an important element to be adapted as an index to assess entrepreneurship-related outcomes.

In the context of enrolment into entrepreneurship degree, the authors would suggest that the assessment of entrepreneurial passion among the candidate to be conducted in the first place as part of the admission criteria into the entrepreneurship degree program in the hope that it can be translated into a higher entrepreneurial career choice and career intention. This could result in a better outcome in the entrepreneurial degree program, such as quality start-ups and higher involvement in entrepreneurship as a career choice. u