Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Finance

The Determinants of Business Start-Ups in Tertiary Education: Evidence for Greece through a Panel Data Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Finance

The Determinants of Business Start-Ups in Tertiary Education: Evidence for Greece through a Panel Data Approach

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1 Introduction

Over the past few years, the field of entrepreneurship has profoundly affected academia and policy makers due to strong beliefs that entrepreneurship can drive economic and employment growth, despite typical countries' and tertiary education institutions' differences (European Commission 2008a). Further, the entrepreneurial insights, probably because of the decreasing number of jobs offered in the traditional public sector almost in every advanced country, have considerably impacted the career decision of a huge number of young educated individuals who are actively trying to establish their own business venture (GEM 2009; NCGE 2010).

According to a recent study released by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) in 2008, 595 new spin-offs were formed as a result of academic institutions innovative research activity (AUTM 2009). In the same vein, a Kauffman Foundation study entitled "Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT" reports that "The 25,800 currently active companies founded by MIT alumni employ about 3.3 million people and generate annual world sales of $2 trillion, producing the equivalent of the eleventh-largest economy in the world" (Roberts and Eesley 2009:2). Even further, the study reports that "MIT alumni-founded companies are disproportionately important to their local economies because so many of them are manufacturing, biotech, software, or consulting firms that sell to national and world markets" (Roberts and Eesley 2009:4). Such evidence of the entrepreneurial and economic impact of business ventures created by students of distinguished American universities provide further impetus to entrepreneurship courses delivered worldwide by the tertiary education institutions in an attempt to cope with modern markets' changing demands (Wilson 2008).

There are indeed several studies which indicate that entrepreneurship education programs have a positive effect on students' inclination to be entrepreneurs (Storey and Greene 2010). However, a related strand of research points out that it is risky to generalize data on entrepreneurship education as such data are typically collected at the local or regional level and based on measures of programs which cannot be compared internationally (OECD 2009; NCGE 2010).

Further evidence suggests that just teaching entrepreneurship courses is not enough for influencing the propensity of young students to develop their own commercial activity or even better to constantly search for value creation and sustainable change (European Commission 2008a). More inputs are required to reach such goals and for this reason entrepreneurship education needs to address a great number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are likely to predict students' entrepreneurial intentions (Volkmann et al. 2009).

Despite the extensive research to date in the field, there is still incomplete evidence of the relationship between entrepreneurship educational programs and students' propensity to entrepreneurship. A few decades earlier, Baumol (1983: 30), commenting on factors encouraging students to consider entrepreneurship as an option, quotes: "How can one analyse and teach acts whose nature is not yet known and whose effectiveness relies to a considerable degree on the difficulties others have in foreseeing them?" Several empirical studies particularly suggest that if the primary objective is to foster students' entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education should address factors that have an impact on students' entrepreneurship plans, such as those in the areas of motivation, opportunity and skills (Baron 2009). There is evidence to suggest that a students' inclination toward entrepreneurship relates to their personality profile and attitude (Shaver and Scott 1991). Further, other researchers indicate that trends in entrepreneurship are related to an individual's environment (Henderson and Robertson 2000), prior entrepreneurial activity (Delmar and Davidsson 2000), and profit expectations (Krueger 1993). …

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