Institute News

‘Start small, think big’: IFT scholar Dr. Fernando Lourenço

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFT has been implementing several strategies to generate among its undergraduates enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Several courses run by the Institute are designed to stimulate them to think afresh and develop innovative projects with business potential.

The Institute’s focus on entrepreneurship aims to contribute toward Macao’s goal of achieving economic diversification. It complements the Macao SAR Government’s efforts regarding active promotion of youth entrepreneurship.

Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Fernando Lourenço is one of the driving forces of such education at IFT. He designed a course on entrepreneurship launched in academic year 2015/16, and that is open to all bachelor degree programme students. The curriculum was based on his experience of teaching entrepreneurship in universities in the United Kingdom and features lectures delivered by some of Macao’s leading business people in the small- and medium-sized enterprises sector.

“Entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour are critical in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of consumers and sustain the competitiveness of a firm,” says Dr. Lourenço. He notes entrepreneurs can play “a key role” in areas relevant to Macao such as tourism development, namely by helping to develop new products.

Dr. Lourenço says that entrepreneurship is a skill that can be taught, by combining theory and practice. “The most important aspect of entrepreneurship education is developing motivation,” he adds. “The best way to do this is to integrate lots and lots of hands-on activities, for students to try things out and to apply whatever they know about entrepreneurship.”

Work hard, work smart

Young entrepreneurs in Macao have the possibility of accessing several government support schemes in order to develop their businesses. For instance, the Young Entrepreneurs Aid Scheme, implemented in August 2013, offers interest-free loans of up to MOP300,000 per enterprise, to help young people start a business. Entrepreneurs aged between 21 and 44 are eligible for a loan for 8 years, with repayments starting after 18 months.

Dr. Lourenço warns would-be entrepreneurs that there are no shortcuts to opening a business. It is all about planning well and working hard and in a smart way. “Start small but think big,” says Dr. Lourenço. “Even though you want to achieve something big, you must have a strategy to get there.”

He says launching a business is much like planting a tree. “It will take time and you cannot expect the seed to turn into a gigantic tree in a year.”

Failure, adds Dr. Lourenço, is a significant part of the learning process to become a successful entrepreneur. “Failures are important lessons that makes us better. Learn to get back up and walk again,” he tells young entrepreneurs.

President’s Corner

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