Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

Students' Attitudes toward Entrepreneurship at the Arab Open University-Lebanon

Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

Students' Attitudes toward Entrepreneurship at the Arab Open University-Lebanon

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Lebanon has a reputation for having a dynamic entrepreneurial landscape and a solid base of SMEs contributing to its open economy (Stel & Naudé, 2012). Indeed, throughout the past two-to-three decades, Lebanon has developed its ecosystem for entrepreneurs and SMEs, starting by strengthening the enabling environment, moving to subsidized loans lead by the Banque du Liban, to the establishment of financial companies with a public concern that assists Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to access commercial bank funding such as Kafalat and IDAL (Saleh, 2014). In addition to the recent emergence of private sector support and Lebanese Central Bank's new initiative, allowing banks to invest in startups, accelerators, and incubators, there has been a variety of initiatives supporting the early stage entrepreneurs (Schellen, 2018; Hendieh, 2016).

The factors that initiate the spirit of entrepreneurship and the degree to which this spirit exists or can be simulated, lie within individual members of societies. The key question in this paper is, what triggers the release of this invaluable enterprising spirit? This paper seeks to make a small contribution towards an explanation by focusing on university students. It is argued that there is a significant relationship between entrepreneurship and cultural specificity (Deakins & Freel, 2009; Schoof, 2006).

LITERATURE REVIEW

University students' beliefs are expected to influence attitudes and behaviors and thus serve as a channel for a certain outcome (Ajzen, 1991). The desirability of a university student to indulge into an entrepreneurial activity can not in itself create a propensity to act unless it is accentuated with the perception of feasibility (Shapero, 1982). Both desirability and feasibility will integrate to drive a potential and an intention towards a new venture creation (Ahmed et al., 2012).

In examining how desirability is established, Shapero (1982) sheds light on the role of the family, peer groups, educational and professional contexts of potential entrepreneurs. He states that the mother or the father can play an influential role in bringing about an entrepreneurial spirit in the family. Collins et al. (1964) have suggested also in their empirical research that the family circumstances have an effect on the development of the venture idea for the entrepreneur. Mathews and Moser (1996) in their turn and through their empirical research were able to associate the family background with the entrepreneurial idea formulation. Kolvereid (1996) have carefully examined the role of the family background and have determined a positive relationship, however, the result was not statistically significant. In their exploratory analysis and investigations of university student's beliefs and attitudes towards the entrepreneurial activity Veciana and Urbano (2005) have also hinted that the presence of entrepreneurs in the family or among relatives could foster the intention to create a new venture. On family background also, Scott and Twomey (1988) have stated that the preference of students to self-employment is higher among those whose parents own a small business.

According to the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) the resources and opportunities that an individual can avail himself of, would affect his behavior and exuberate his intentions and actions towards entrepreneurship. In this context Shapero (1982) emphasized the factor of financial support and other supports also like consulting and training that if available would lift off the entrepreneurial potential and renders it more feasible to embark on a new venture. In addition, and according to Veciana (1999) the excessive regulation and lack of governmental support would hinder also the entrepreneurial process and new venture creation.

The entrepreneurial research has extensively examined also among other factors the relationship between gender and the entrepreneurial actions. …

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