Building Entrepreneurship and Innovation through the Continuing Education of Micro and Small Tourism Enterprises

Mary T. Holden, Anthony Foley, Patrick Lynch, Jennifer Hussey

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Irish tourism industry is fragmented, composed mainly of micro/small businesses, and its owner/managers are lacking in innovativeness and competencies in such areas as marketing, knowledge management, information technology, quality assurance, pricing policy, innovation and management. As identified by Fáilte Ireland2 (2005; 2007), there is a need for increased professionalism and innovation in the industry – the agency sees education as key to their enhancement. While the larger tourism businesses benefit from a graduate management intake and continuing executive development, the owner of the small tourism operation is limited in their professional development. Indeed, literature highlights that continuing business education for owner/managers of micro/small businesses is problematic due to resource poverty, lack of appropriate and available tertiary tourism education, and that the foregoing is not confined to Ireland (cf. Jameson 2000; Billett 2001; Fáilte Ireland, 2005, 2007; Inui et al. 2006; Kelliher and Henderson 2006; Walker et al. 2007). In order to promote the professionalism and innovativeness of owner/managers of micro/small tourism enterprises, a degree program which satisfies the personal and professional development needs as well as the necessary knowledge requirements of the aforementioned cohort was developed by the authors‟ tertiary institute in collaboration with Fáilte Ireland; it is currently in its final stage of development. The programme‟s target launch date is September 2010 and involves delivering the program nation-wide. This paper details the development of a contemporary framework which is based on an andragogical philosophy and problem-based learning approach. The mode of delivery is blended learning and learners are credited for recognised prior learning (RPL). Although the framework has been crafted for one particular programme, targeted at a particular sector, it is perceived that it should provide guidelines to other educators who are responsible for the development of higher education for learners who are owner/managers of micro/small business enterprises. The authors drew on and integrated varying streams of learning literature as well as integrating results from a longitudinal study involving major stakeholders in order to develop the framework. The framework underscores the criticality of the collaboration between educators and major stakeholders to ensure that higher education meets not only the knowledge needs of its targeted learners but also their generic skill needs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventTourism Entrepreneurship Conference - Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada., Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.
Duration: 01 Jan 2010 → …


ConferenceTourism Entrepreneurship Conference
CityWilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.
Period01/01/2010 → …


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