A Method for Identifying Entrepreneurial Abilities Developed at SUSU

Economists and psychologists from South Ural State University have developed a complex test that allows students determine the level of competencies necessary for a future entrepreneur.

“The main goal is to help students understand themselves, evaluate whether they are predisposed to entrepreneurial activity or not. They say that you are either born an entrepreneur, or not. You can’t become one. We understand that there is an obligatory element of training, but there are also qualities that can be tested and measured in a person,” says SUSU Rector Alexander Wagner. “Such a test has not been available before. Psychologists provide narrowly focused methods for assessing personality traits, and entrepreneurial abilities represent a complex characteristic. The test is organised in an online format. As a result, students obtain not only a profile of their competencies, but also recommendations on how to fill their educational gaps in the field of entrepreneurship. Considering the positions for each competence, we offer our students to take educational courses that will help them develop the missing qualities.”

The test consists of several blocks with 20 to 60 questions in each of them. The first block assesses personal qualities of a future entrepreneur. The second block determines the level of motivation for business achievements. The third block allows to check the testee’s locus of control: willingness to take responsibility for a project. The fourth block is devoted to emotional intelligence, or, as they say now, soft skills. Then the student’s openness to uncertainty, willingness to take risks when making decisions and, finally, the student’s leadership qualities are assessed.

When giving answer to each question, the testee chooses an answer from a list or a certain point on a scale from completely disagree to agree. Based on the received scores, a profile of the student’s entrepreneurial competencies is built.

The test is based on well-known methods, such as the five-factor questionnaire, the Mehrabian questionnaire, and J. Rotter’s locus of control test. The project is unique thanks to the fact that all these methods are brought together and used to build a common entrepreneurial profile.

“The project represents an original combination of various methods aimed at diagnosing personality traits that are crucial for an entrepreneur in general, and a technology entrepreneur in particular, for example, such as tolerance for uncertainty, appetite for risk, and readiness for taking responsibility for decisions. Each section of the diagnostic test allows to draw a conclusion about the level of development of a particular quality and interpret it in the applied aspect of entrepreneurship,” says Doctor of Sciences (Economics), Head of the SUSU Department of Economics and Finances Irina Soloveva.

The team of scientists obtained a patent protecting their intellectual rights for this test. It is included as an obligatory element for students who take the SUSU open online course on Introduction to Technological Entrepreneurship.

By the spring of 2023, about 100 participants of the SUSU minor in technological entrepreneurship and 200 first-year students have also passed this test. Currently, 500 participants of the SUSU Accelerator, developing their own business projects, are taking it.

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