Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Contextual Considerations in Entrepreneurial Finance Education: A Systematic Analysis of U.S. Undergraduate Courses

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Contextual Considerations in Entrepreneurial Finance Education: A Systematic Analysis of U.S. Undergraduate Courses

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Experience and admissions data demonstrate that a significant number of people are entering business schools to learn about entrepreneurship and there is a growing acceptance that elements of entrepreneurship can be taught and learned (Gottleib and Ross, 1997; Henry et al., 2005a, 2005b; Klein and Bullock, 2006; Samwel Mwasalwiba, 2010). Although entrepreneurship education is relatively new to higher education, it is among the most rapidly expanding fields of study in colleges and universities in the United States (Kuratko, 2006; Neck and Greene, 2011; Solomon, 2007). The field of university-based entrepreneurship education has expanded and the participating institutions in this growth have substantial accumulated knowledge (Glackin, 2004).

Numerous scholars have looked at entrepreneurship education writ large and explored its value and trajectory (Fayolle, 2008: Haase and Lautenschläger, 2011; Katz, 2003; Lautenschläger and Haase, 2011). Recently, significant efforts to integrate entrepreneurial principles into disciplines and fields of study outside of business schools have emerged across the higher education landscape (Katz, 2003; Kuratko, 2006; Mars, 2007). The growth and evolution of entrepreneurship education has also strengthened the entrepreneurial capacity of the student to launch business ventures - both economic and social - out of colleges and universities and into the marketplace (Mars et al., 2008). In short, the expansion of entrepreneurship education warrants ongoing attention from scholars, administrators, and practitioners.

At the same time, a growing body of research on the value of entrepreneurial education is emerging (Gibb, 2002; Matlay and Mitra, 2002; Adcroft et al., 2004) that cautions against entrepreneurship education being treated solely as another additional teaching area in business schools. Entrepreneurial education is an opportunity to address some of the contemporary needs of business education in ways that the traditional business education system does not (Adcroft et al., 2004; Mitra, 2002). Additionally, the concept of entrepreneurship across the campus has taken root, adding a general education dimension (D'Intino et al., 2009). This adds up to a need for analysis of course content and overall pedagogy.

As the field of entrepreneurship education has evolved, critical content areas have emerged. Chief among these is opportunity identification which has been recognized as an essential capability of entrepreneurs and has become an important element of the scholarly study of entrepreneurship (Ardichvili et al., 2003; Gaglio and Katz, 2001; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Entrepreneurial finance and financing is a crucial topic for nascent entrepreneurs to study, as appropriate financial planning and management are essential for survival and success (Anderson et al., 2005). Venture financing is also a unique capability that should be included in entrepreneurship education content and the question becomes "how" or what are the pedagogical methods that will increase an individual's ability (DeTienne and Chandler, 2004) to understand emerging venture finance. While prior studies have been conducted on the pedagogy for teaching corporate finance (Farooqi and Saunders, 2004; Saunders, 2001, 2002), no comprehensive analysis of entrepreneurial financing courses has been completed.

Much of the empirical work on entrepreneurial finance has focused on relatively large entrepreneurial enterprises or high growth firms. The ways in which large and small firms obtain funds differ significantly (Fluck et al., 1998). Currently, few researchers focus their studies on how and what approaches to education best apply to the full range of ventures.

As the number of academic institutions offering undergraduate majors in Entrepreneurship has grown, the number of Entrepreneurial Finance courses would be expected to grow proportionately. However, the inclusion of courses on the subject does not appear to be as widespread as that of Corporate and Managerial Finance courses in business majors. …

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