Entrepreneurship Education: Status Quo and Prospective Developments

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ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the current state of entrepreneurs hip education particularly at the level of higher education institutions. Based on the premise that the main goals of entrepreneurs hip education are a) increasing the level of entrepreneurial competence and b) generating a positive attitude towards entrepreneurial behavior, I take stock of methods and tools that can be utilized to achieve those goals. Furthermore, based on this analysis of the status quo two trends are identified and discussed that may shape the future of entrepreneurs hip education. These trends are a) the tendency to narrow the scope of entrepreneurs hip education and to deliver entrepreneurial knowledge to specialized business audiences and b) the opposing tendency to widen the scope of traditional entrepreneurs hip education by introducing entrepreneurial concepts to audiences that could be considered unusual from a purely business perspective.

INTRODUCTION

Entrepreneurship education has been one of the most prominent success stories in higher education over the last few decades. While the idea to develop entrepreneurs was largely unknown in the 1970s, many universities have included some entrepreneurial component especially in their business curricula in the 1980s. This trend - originally emanating from the Unites States - has continued throughout the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Today, countless numbers of students worldwide are no longer educated solely for a career in established businesses and large corporations, but are being introduced to the idea of self-employment as well. For instance, in the United States more than 1600 colleges and universities offer entrepreneurship related courses (Kuratko, 2005). This development was strongly supported by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), that has helped ensure that in the United States nearly all nationally ranked schools now teach entrepreneurship (Katz, 2003) after indicating more than a decade ago that entrepreneurship would play a key role in future accreditation processes (Fiet, 2000b).

In other countries, such as Germany, entrepreneurship at higher education institutions has followed a similar growth curve, although one somewhat behind that of the United States, (Klandt, 2004; Kailer, 2009). There are at least two reasons for this development. From a policymaking perspective, the argument that small and medium sized enterprises are disproportionately responsible for creating jobs within an economy (Kautonen et al, 2010) is compelling (Kuratko, 2005).

Moreover, if we consider the additional fact that new market entrants in particular are one of the main drivers of innovation and thus stimulate the overall competitiveness of the economy, the interest in creating more and better entrepreneurs becomes evident. Second, the idea to work largely autonomously without being held responsible for one's actions by superiors now seems to be quite attractive to large parts of the student body (Hynes, 1996). The success of entrepreneurship education is thus down to a combination of push and pull factors - policy makers foster the development of entrepreneurship programs due to the expected positive impact on employment rates and innovation, whereas prospective students increasingly demand that higher education institutions cater to their needs and interests. Interestingly, if conducted in the right way, entrepreneurship education seems to be able to deliver desirable results beyond those mentioned.

Charney and Libecap (2000) compared the career paths of graduates that had completed the entrepreneurship program at the University of Arizona to business school graduates of the same institution who were never exposed to entrepreneurial concepts because they chose different specializations. Their results suggest that entrepreneurship education not only produces graduates more likely to start-up new ventures or become self-employed, but graduates who are more successful-even if they decide on a more traditional career path-compared to their nonentrepreneurial counterparts. …