TAILORING ENTREPRENEURSHlP EDUCATION: EXPLORING COMPONENTS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION FOR UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Black-owned businesses represent 7.1% of U.S. businesses. White-owned businesses represent 83.4% of U.S. businesses. Similar gaps occur for Hispanics and women. The authors present two clusters of entrepreneurship education components. Three social facets, posited to be positively related to entrepreneurship self-efficacy, are expected to increase the likelihood of underrepresented groups to start a business. Three technical facets, proposed to be positively related to entrepreneurial and business acumen, are expected to be related to increased lifespan and performance of businesses owned by underrepresented groups. Implications and research recommendations are provided.

INTRODUCTION

The number of women-owned and minority-owned businesses in the United States (U.S.) is disproportionately less than the proportion of women and minorities in the U.S. Although women slightly outnumber men in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007), women-owned businesses represent only 28.7% of U.S. firms while male-owned businesses represent almost twice that many (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007) at 5 1 .3%. Similarly, although Blacks make up approximately 12.8% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007), only 7.1% of U.S. businesses are Black-owned (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). Hispanics represent about 15.1% of US population but Hispanics only account for 8.3% of owned businesses (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). These statistics, and others, are presented in Table 1.

This disparity has long been documented (e.g., Bates, 1995). Although these gaps are decreasing, they remain despite government incentive programs designed to increase entrepreneurship of underrepresented groups.

Although the disproportionately low percentage of women-owned and minority-owned businesses in the U.S. might lead one to conclude that these underrepresented groups do not aspire to business ownership, this is far from the case. When asked the question "Do you think you want to start a business of your own?" 75% of U.S. Black youth answered "Yes" (Walstad & Kourilsky, 1998: 9). More recent research has shown that Black undergraduate college students exhibit stronger entrepreneurial attitudes than do their White and Asian counterparts (Louw, van Eden, Bosch, & Venter, 2003). In fact, Blacks and Hispanice are much more likely to report wanting to start their own business than their White counterparts (Gärtner, 2004). Similar research has shown a strong trend of entrepreneurial aspiration in women as well, in that 42% of U.S. teen girls surveyed indicated an interest in entrepreneurship (Wilson, Kickul, & Martino, 2007). More recently, Shinnar and her colleagues (Shinnar, Pruett, & Toney, 2009) found no statistically significant differences between male and female entrepreneurial aspirations among university students. Together, these studies provide strong evidence that business ownership of these underrepresented groups in the U.S. is far less than many individuals in these populations would desire.

Why is there this disjuncture between entrepreneurial intent and actual entrepreneurship among women and minorities? Certainly a large literature embracing multiple theories has been established to account for the gap in Black entrepreneurship (Fairchild, 2008; Bogan & Darity, 2008), which has been persistent for over 100 years (Fairlie & Meyer, 2000). Similarly, many theories have been promulgated to explain why women continue to lag significantly in entrepreneurship despite overall gains in employment (AhI, 2006; Scherer, Brodzinski, & Wiebe, 1990). The resulting range of factors to explain this gap varies widely across macro-structural and economic, collective cultural, and individual cognitive factors. Yet, in the face of these manifold factors, there has been considerably less research into formulating a comprehensive entrepreneurship education model which addresses how underrepresented individuals can overcome these obstacles. …