Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

Effect of Memorial University's Environment & Support System in Shaping Entrepreneurial Intention of Students

Academic journal article Journal of Entrepreneurship Education

Effect of Memorial University's Environment & Support System in Shaping Entrepreneurial Intention of Students

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The traditional way in which a university may influence the Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) of students is through the offering of an entrepreneurship education program. Researchers have been studying the impact of entrepreneurship education programs on the antecedents (precursors) of the EI of students for several years (Fayolle et al., 2006; Rae & Woodier-Harris, 2013; Rauch & Hulsink, 2015; Sánchez, 2011; Souitaris et al., 2007). There is also evidence in the literature that the university's Environment and Support System (ESS) can motivate students to consider an entrepreneurial career (Ajzen, 1987; Boyd & Vozikis, 1994; Krueger & Carsrud, 1993; Lee & Wong, 2004; Tubbs & Ekeberg, 1991). In this context, the ESS represents the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in the university. For example, entrepreneurial universities have been playing an active role in the development of regional entrepreneurial activities via the commercialization of university knowledge through spin-off companies founded by student entrepreneurs (Bray & Lee, 2000; Etzkowitz, 2003; Poole & Robertson, 2003; Steffensen et al., 2000; Wright et al., 2006). The entrepreneurial university is a global phenomenon spurred by numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors including the need for diversifying the university's funding sources and the incorporation of the university in local, regional and national economic and social development strategies (Bradley et al., 2013; Etzkowitz, 1998; Etzkowitz et al., 2000; Feller, 1990; Stehr, 2003, 2007). Many authors argue that the phenomenon is part of a "second academic revolution" in which the university takes on a third mission of economic development (knowledge capitalization) in addition to research (knowledge extension) and teaching (knowledge preservation) (Etzkowitz, 1998; Gür et al., 2017; Kirby, 2006a: 2006b; O'Shea et al., 2007; Zaharia & Gibert, 2005).

Over the years, Memorial University (MUN) has implemented a number of initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among undergraduate and graduate students (Bazan, 2016; Memorial University, 2013: 2015: 2016b: 2016a; Mills & Brown, 2016). Consequently, there is a need for systematic approaches to evaluate the impact of these initiatives at the student level. The authors are interested in understanding the various motivational factors related to MUN's entrepreneurial ecosystem that may shape the EI of students. That is, they want to understand the situational and contextual elements that may influence entrepreneurial activity among students at MUN (Tolentino et al., 2014). The authors argue that MUN plays a key role in the EI of students by providing support mechanisms to help them in translating their ideas into viable business models that may further expand into successful ventures (Trivedi, 2016). The authors are also interested in developing a methodology to study the evolution of these motivational factors over time. The outcomes of the study will help MUN to assess the efficacy of its innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives in promoting entrepreneurial activities on campus (Varamäki et al., 2013). By understanding its entrepreneurial efficacy, MUN will be better equipped to raise the perceptions of venture feasibility and desirability, thus increasing students' perceptions of opportunity (Krueger et al., 2000).

Based on works by Liñan and Chen (2009) and Trivedi (2016: 2017) the authors designed a study to understand the influence of MUN's ESS on the precursors of the EI of students (Liñán & Chen, 2009; Trivedi, 2016: 2017). It has been argued in the literature that entrepreneurial behavior, e.g., starting a new business, is intentional and thus best predicted by the intention towards the behavior, not by attitudes, beliefs, personality or demographics (Ajzen, 1991: 2001; Delmar & Davidsson, 2000; Fayolle et al., 2006; Kolvereid, 1996b; Krueger & Carsrud, 1993; Krueger et al. …

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