“No entrepreneur, no growth.”
Entrepreneurs are at the center of a market economy. They serve as spark plug in the economic engine, activating and stimulating all economic activity.
No doubt, how the country will fare in the years ahead depends not so much on our economic leaders but on how entrepreneurs will make use of the money, materials, men, technology and other resources at their command.
Policy makers and program managers can only match the entrepreneurs in thrust and initiative. Their work is to encourage entrepreneurship through enabling laws, policies, infrastructure, and support programs and to reward entrepreneurs with incentives.
Which brings me to the role of academe – the school administrators and teachers.
Needless to say, next to the home and family, it is the school that contributes the most in the molding of the adults that youth will later become.
Teachers and trainers, most especially, create the environment that will either push or hinder learning.
They are among the most important determinants of quality education. The quality of the teaching manpower and teaching methods used determine the quality of learning to be achieved.
Enterprising values, attitudes and skills are best taught by enterprising teachers using enterprising learning methods. Students learn best when mentored by teachers who know what they are talking about and who personify the entrepreneurship values and skills they seek to inculcate.
Do teachers need to be entrepreneurs themselves?
No, not necessarily. After all, not all practicing entrepreneurs have the requisite skills for teaching. They may not have the time to teach, with the demands their enterprise exert on their lives.
The good news is that it is possible for trainers and educators to teach entrepreneurship as long as they know how to teach a model that works.
We hope that in the past two days, the Training for Entrepreneurship Educators or TREE has been able to provide you with teaching models that work. And that it has succeeded in highlighting the various sets of teaching skills and attributes you need for the multiple roles expected of entrepreneurship teachers, like mentoring, coaching, teaching and facilitating.
If entrepreneurs are the spark plug of the economy, entrepreneurship teachers are the catalysts, the stimulants of the enterprising spirit.
You therefore serve a critical function in the planting and blossoming of the enterprising society the country needs to be self-reliant, vibrant, prosperous and capable of inclusive growth.
Congratulations for having completed the TREE program and good luck as you continue with renewed vigor and sharpened tools your task as catalysts of entrepreneurship.
(The preceding is an adaptation of the speech of Dr. Paterno V. Viloria, SERDEF president, at the closing ceremonies of the Training for Entrepreneurship Educators or TREE held on July 15, 2016.)