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The challenges of entrepreneurship education at university: Evidence from a longitudinal surveyChaoyang University of Technology Professor D.J. Visser, Ph.D. Professor of Management School of Business and Finance University of the Western Cape Bellville South Africa
Introduction • Entrepreneurship education at university • Lack of employment opportunities • Introduction of course at 2nd year level Purpose of this paper • Design of an innovative module • Practical implementation • Assessing efficacy by means of longitudinal survey
Literature review on entrepreneurship education • Laukannen (2000) • Education about entrepreneurship • Education for entrepreneurship • Mason (2000) • Developing cores skills & attributes • Literature supports: • Entrepreneurship can be taught (Timmons & Spinelli, 2004) • Education can enhance entrepreneurial skills, competencies, attitudes (Davies, 2001)
Hytti’s Model of Entrepreneurship Education • Learn to understand entrepreneurship • Learn to become more entrepreneurial • Learn to become an entrepreneur • What do entrepreneurs do? • What is entrepreneurship? • Why are entrepreneurs needed? • How many entrepreneurs do we have? • I need to take responsibility of my learning, career and life • How do I take responsibility? • Can I become an entrepreneur? • How to become an entrepreneur? • How to manage the business?
Measuring entrepreneurship at tertiary level • Entrepreneurial Attitude Orientation scale (validated by Robinson, Stimpson, Huefner & Hunt, 1991) • Specifically designed to measure “attitude” • Successfully discriminates between entrepreneurs & non-entrepreneurs • EAO subscales: • Achievement in Business (ACH) • Innovation in Business (INN) • Personal Control (PC) • Self-esteem (SE) • All 4 subscales validated for South Africa (Van Wyk, Boshoff and Owen, 1999)
Hypotheses • H1: Achievement orientation improves after having attended the training module • H2: Personal control improves after having attended the training module • H3: Innovation improves after having attended the training module • H4: Self-esteem improves after having attended the training module
Academic programme for entrepreneurship at second year level • Term 1: Starting a business (Theory) • Entrepreneurship as a career choice, theory on starting and running an enterprise • Term 2: Starting a business (Practice) • Group involvement, forming micro-enterprise teams • Term 3: Operating the small business (Practice) • Running enterprises, experiencing success factors • Term 4: Harvesting the enterprise (Practice) • Group dynamics, conflict resolution
Assessment methods • Weekly journals • Student peer evaluation • Interview/interaction with entrepreneurs • Group business plan • Action training • Group enterprise progress reports • Case studies • Term tests • Final group report • Examination
Research method: Longitudinal survey • Design of study • T1: Pre-test • T2: Post-test • Experimental group and Control group subjected to same tests
Confirming the hypotheses (1) • H1: Achievement orientation improves after having attended the training module. • The training had a significant positive effect on Achievement. The trained students showed a significantly higher score in the post training measure than the control group • H2: Personal control improves after having attended the training module. • Hypothesis 2 could not be confirmed. Students with a high score of external control believe that the situation is mainly determined by external forces.
Confirming the hypotheses (2) • H3: Innovation improves after having attended the training module • The results show that students increased their innovation score significantly between T1 and T2 as well as in comparison to a control group • H4: Self-esteem improves after having attended the training module. • At the end of the academic year the self-esteem of the training group was significantly higher than that of the control group.
Conclusions • Changing the mindsets of students by offering self-employment (i.e. entrepreneurship) as a viable alternative to becoming a job-seeker; • Presenting students with the necessary business skills to start and run an enterprise; • Facilitating and further enhancing experiential learning by running and managing their own enterprises on campus; • Subjecting students to real-life examples of the typical problems, needs and constraints entrepreneurs face; and, • Developing role models based on the successful examples of similar student enterprises from previous years.
Recommendations • Future training: “hands-on” • Length of training courses • Longer training time period impacts positively on the outcome • Replication at other tertiary institutions