Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

The Structure and Scope of Entrepreneurship Programs in Higher Education around the World

Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

The Structure and Scope of Entrepreneurship Programs in Higher Education around the World

Article excerpt


Entrepreneurs hip, new business start-ups and small business growth are viewed by most countries as a means to improved growth in gross national product, reduced unemployment and increased quality of life. Entrepreneurs hip offers individuals a chance to build successful careers without having to join large corporations with little ability to impact decisions. Many institutions of higher education around the world have stepped forward to support entrepreneurs hip by developing programs that provide students with the skills, knowledge, abilities and opportunities to be successful entrepreneurs and small business managers. The types of programs available, however, vary greatly.

This study provides a description of these diverse programs from 321 universities located in over 60 countries representing all continents except Antarctica. The programs are described in terms of a number of factors including: courses available, types of programs, faculty positions and infrastructure, program location in the university and types of external support. This substantial descriptive dataset creates an opportunity to better understand differences, and informs efforts to better define best practices and effectiveness metrics.


Research and practice at the interface of education and entrepreneurship has made significant progress, fueled in large part by the dissatisfaction of students and accrediting agencies with traditional approaches to business education (Solomon & Fernald, 1991). The challenge to universities and individuals tasked with developing and delivering entrepreneurship education is to build sustainable communities of learning that balance the requirements of academic rigor with the realities of entrepreneurship. This challenge was recently considered in discussions of university-based entrepreneurship ecosystems (UBEEs), wherein analysis and conclusions were based on case studies from six universities (Fetters, Greene, Rice & Sibley Butler, 2010). This research paper, however, reports on the entrepreneurial communities of more than 300 universities around the world, highlighting trends of where and how resources are obtained and distributed in an effort to build these sustainable communities.

Many scholars have noted the important contributions of entrepreneurs, new businesses and small businesses to the economic and social sectors of the environment through their impact on job creation, innovation and economic renewal (Chrisman, Chua & Sharma 2003). Kuratko (2005) reported that in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005 roughly 600,000 new businesses were developed each year, and that firms with less than 500 employees employ 53% of the private workforce and make up 51% of gross domestic product. Reynolds, Hay and Camp (1999) reported that sixty-seven percent of all new inventions in the U.S. were developed by smaller firms.

There has been increasing demand to produce and deliver high-quality entrepreneurship education because entrepreneurship and innovation have been recognized as critical drivers of sustainable economic development and competitive advantage (e.g., Katz, 2003; Matlay, 2008; Solomon, Duffy, & Tarabishy, 2002). Further, it has been argued that all individuals should be exposed to entrepreneurship training and development (Gibb, 2002) because entrepreneurship graduates are three times more likely to start their own business, three times more likely to be self-employed, have annual incomes 27% higher, own 62% more assets, and are more satisfied with their jobs (Charney & Libecap, 2004). Universities have increasingly recognized the importance of these societal trends and instituted and expanded entrepreneurship and small business programs (Bechard & Grégoire, 2004; Katz, 2003; Solomon, Duffy, & Tarabishy, 2002).

While a few programs existed earlier, significant growth of entrepreneurship programs began in the early 1970s when the University of Southern California offered a concentration in their MBA program in entrepreneurship and then a year later offered a concentration in entrepreneurship at the undergraduate level as well. …

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