Mexican Entrepreneurship Culture and Entrepreneurship Education
When the word “entrepreneurship” first appeared in Mexico in 1978, it simply meant people creating something new. It was only later that the term was given the connotation that is popular today, namely the creation of new businesses. But there is a huge difference in philosophy and approach between starting a business and operating and managing a business. In Mexico, at the Universidad Tecnológica de Monterrey, for example, the strategic core of entrepreneurship is education. The culture of entrepreneurship in Mexico has been an integral part of the country's mainstream culture since the second half of the last century. Currently, Mexico joins the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), which has been conducting annual research on the current state of entrepreneurial culture and development in the country. Prior research has indicated that the older generation may still cling to the idea of finding a comfortable job with some income security after college, but the younger generation, the Generation Z Mexicans, are thriving in their desire and practice of entrepreneurship. While this enthusiasm is matched by the entrepreneurship education programs that have flourished in Mexico’s universities in recent years, especially since the beginning of the 21st century. The Universidad Tecnológica de Monterrey, the largest private institution in Mexico, has initiated and developed a long-tested and prestigious “Bachelor of Entrepreneurship” program. It is widely known that entrepreneurship education at most North American colleges and universities is focused at the MBA or master’s level, and the audience is primarily drawn from people with several years of work experience. The main difference between Universidad Tecnológica de Monterrey’s Bachelor of Entrepreneurship program and its peers is that it is not focused on teaching how to start a business, but more on training students to identify opportunities, which includes helping students broaden their horizons, explore potential opportunities, develop a mindset in the face of difficulties, and guide their ability to gather, integrate and allocate resources. Therefore, the understanding of entrepreneurship is more of a mindset to the director of entrepreneurship at Universidad Tecnológica de Monterrey rather than just training students to be entrepreneurs. In fact, many of the students who graduate from the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship program do not become entrepreneurs, but have turned into innovative talents shining in various fields.
Mexican Government Policies to Support Entrepreneurship
Different Mexican governments have different approaches to entrepreneurship development. Some federal governments prefer direct grants to fund startups, while others prefer to set up related foundations. Today’s federal government in Mexico is committed to further addressing social inequality through support for different types of entrepreneurial projects. With the involvement of the federal government and local governments at all levels, incubators and other entrepreneurial programs throughout the various stages of entrepreneurship, governments and universities often join forces and work to create a centralized platform of resources and information for those who wish to start a business. Of course, all of this is not uniform pace within Mexico. In the Mexican political system, local governments have much more influence than the federal government on entrepreneurial activities in their respective jurisdictions.
Most of the policies and laws supporting entrepreneurship in Mexico are based on those introduced by the states: for example, the state of Aguascalientes revised its law on the promotion of young entrepreneurs’ development in 2018, and the states of Colima, Durango, and Guerrero introduced successive laws on youth entrepreneurship promotion and incentives in 2013. Similar legislation exists in other states to protect youth entrepreneurship. Similar statutes exist in essentially every other state to protect youth entrepreneurship. As with youth, there are few laws that support minority entrepreneurship, such as women's entrepreneurship. For example, the state of Queretaro launched Con Ellas Hacemos La Diferencia (Change with them) to provide diverse resources for local women entrepreneurs and women-led start-ups. The State of Campechano has launched the Bancampeche Financing Support Project, with the aim of providing financial inclusion to finance micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, especially women in the state with specialized financing support. Other similar laws and regulations to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are well established in the states of Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, and Zacatecas. In contrast, the policies of the central government are not as diverse and abundant as the local policies to support entrepreneurship.
Mexican Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development
With the introduction of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in recent years, major educational institutions and entrepreneurship teaching programs in Mexico have been incorporating sustainability-related courses into their students’ training systems. Most startups have incorporated sustainability into their company’s macro-level development goals and frameworks.