Engaging Entrepreneurs in Education

For the past two decades, we’ve worked with over 60 countries on entrepreneurship and education.

We’ve seen some organizations successfully engage small and medium-sized business owners. Many of them use Amazon and Google as examples of businesses that started out small and grew to international size.

What we have seen, however, is that those that have successfully engaged small and medium sized businesses don’t use those companies as models. They understand that those examples don’t resonate with start-ups or small and medium sized companies, and can sometimes have a negative effect. Entrepreneurs have told us that without examples of small and medium size businesses like their own, the training is a waste of their time.

While it is interesting to learn about what big organizations do today, what small and medium size business owners want to know is what did those companies do in the beginning to capture the market. What did they do in the beginning to make their company grow?

Some entrepreneurs don’t necessarily want their business to grow. Helping them understand how to optimize their operations, how to become more profitable, could be the better educational training for them.

Those looking to scale up have interest in what they need to do today from a small business perspective. They don’t have a billion dollar budget, but want to know how to grow with what they have and how to access whatever resources might be available to them.

The insights we have gathered throughout the years have helped shape how we engage entrepreneurs globally. The key is knowing and understanding what local small and medium size businesses have been through to get where they are, and utilizing their stories in our training. Hearing other entrepreneurs share their stories is one way to really engage the small and medium size business owners who want real examples from real people doing what they are doing.


We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.

1. What are you doing to engage entrepreneurs in small and medium sized businesses?

2. How do the needs of a start-up entrepreneur differ from those of an entrepreneur with a small or mid-size business?

3. What other tools or insights do you have on this topic?


Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.

Faris Alami