Entrepreneurship Education: How to Measure the Impact on Nascent Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship Education: How to Measure the Impact on Nascent Entrepreneurs

Ana Dias Daniel (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Vânia Reis de Castro (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2936-1.ch004
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Although the number of education programs in the context of entrepreneurship is growing, its impact continues to generate controversy in the scientific world. Poorly defined methods and misguided strategies do not allow entrepreneurial education to exploit its potential regarding the impact it may have on the entrepreneurial intention of students and, consequently, on their possible future entrepreneurial behaviour. The purpose and contribution of this chapter is to offer a clearer picture regarding the different research approaches used to assess the impact of entrepreneurship education in entrepreneurial intentions. In terms of methodology, the relevant literature was reviewed and conclusions were draw from the different approaches researchers used considering the Theory of Planned Behaviour. In this case, entrepreneurship education programs may have an impact on the antecedents of the TPB, or as a mediation variable between the different antecedents and entrepreneurial intention, as well as between the different antecedents, or affecting directly on entrepreneurial intention.
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According to Kuratko (2003), the generation of the twenty-first century should be considered as an entrepreneurial generation. By the year of 2003, around 5.6 million Americans, with less than 34 years old, were actively trying to start their own businesses, around 30 percent of new entrepreneurs were younger than age 30, more than 60 percent of young people between 18 and 29 years old wanted to own their own businesses.

The reality is that entrepreneurship is the new trend. Everyone, from politicians to experts and to entrepreneurs themselves, talk about this subject. According to them, entrepreneurship will be the salvation of industrial societies. To be able to follow this tendency, academic and community organizations committed to prepare entrepreneurs capable of revitalizing economy by creating jobs. Organizations yearning to develop entrepreneurship through education assume that the lack of training for entrepreneurs is the central cause for the failure of small and medium-sized enterprises (Bechard & Toulouse, 1998).

Entrepreneurship as a factor of importance to a nation is a longstanding perspective. For example, the European Union finds the encouragement of entrepreneurship to be a vital aspect in order to face the economic challenges presented worldwide (Amway, 2012). However, the reality shows that public policy aiming to make considerable enhancement in a nation's economic well-being through innovation can find that entrepreneurship education has not been able to achieve its economic goals, since education programmes and initiatives are developed in a wrong place by people with misaligned ideas or a confused opinion about what entrepreneurship is and does (O’Connor, 2013). This confirms the importance of well-defined and well orientated programmes at higher education institutions, since it is where competences and knowledge are developed to later be applied to the market, creating value, wealth and competiveness (Batalha & Pimpão, 2011).

Within this matter, several questions have emerged and limited the value and applicability of the growing knowledge on this subject (Matlay, 2006). For example, Garavan and O'Cinneide (1994a) have identified considerable variations in terms of centres of knowledge, target audience, duration, structure and content of entrepreneurship programmes. Also, analysing its impact, there have been doubts about the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education, in terms of economic results, as well as in the development of certain individual characteristics (O’Connor, 2013).

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