A National Survey: An Examination of Entrepreneurship Centres in Pakistan
Rajput, Ansir Ali, Murad, Ali, International Journal of Entrepreneurship
This study is conducted to perform an in-depth analysis of Entrepreneurship Centres (ECs) in Pakistan and to investigate the issues pertaining to the growth and effectiveness of ECs in Pakistan. Furthermore, to establish what needs to be done in order to improve the performance of existing centres. This two-part study looks at the characteristics of the ECs and then examines the differences between formal ECs and informal ECs. The findings indicate that both the formal and informal ECs are in growth phase. The findings of this study will assist students, faculty, staff, administrators, heads, and other stakeholders to understand strengths and weaknesses of Entrepreneurship Centres (ECs) in Pakistan.
KEYWORDS: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Entrepreneurs, Business Plan, Formal Entrepreneurship Centres, Informal Entrepreneurship Centres
According to Minniti, Bygrave and Autio in 2005 entrepreneurship develops in those countries, which have high educational endowments. Therefore, increased investment in entrepreneurial educational infrastructure creates economic values in the society.
Katz highlighted history of Entrepreneurship education in the world in 2003. In his study he also included economic and agricultural literature of 1876. In its true form Entrepreneurship education was started in 1970s. University of Southern California launched the first graduate and undergraduate concentration in entrepreneurship in early 70s.
Katz in 2003 and 2004 said that the increasing prominence of entrepreneurship and related fields (small and family business, corporate entrepreneurship, and so on) can also be seen in the significant rise in the number of endowed positions (chairs or professorships) in entrepreneurship and related fields at colleges and universities, from the first one in 1963, the second in 1975, to 25 in 1987. Non-U.S. positions grew from four in 1991, to 34 in 1999, and to 158 in 2003, for a worldwide total of 563 positions.
Research of Solomon, Weaver, and Fernald in 1994 shows that by the early 1980s, over 300 universities were reporting courses in entrepreneurship and small business and by the 1990s that number grew to 1,050 schools.
Many development institutions are experimenting to promote entrepreneurship as a way to help individuals. The World Bank and the United States Agency for Development (USAID) have created their own Small and Medium Enterprise divisions to provide funding and entrepreneurial training in developing nations (USAID, 2005; World Bank, 2003). America has promoted entrepreneurship and innovation in the country which has made it economically great.
In Cali, Colombia, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development-ICESI (CDEE-ICESI) with the support of university community works to promote entrepreneurial culture by providing new enterprise development, and entrepreneurial education. In Ahmedabad, India, Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) offers incubation support to businesses.
In Pakistan, one of the entrepreneurial initiatives in academia is Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi, where Centre for Entrepreneurship is established in 2006 for training to set up new businesses. LUMS Entrepreneurship & SME Centre in Lahore has been developed to build an entrepreneurial culture in the country and to support entrepreneurs and SME's for future growth and prosperity of Pakistan.
In the corporate sector the initiatives in Entrepreneurship are also emerging and some of them are as follows: In Karachi, Shell Tameer program has helped about 27000 young entrepreneurs through workshops, seminars and meetings. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is a global non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship.
Despite the enormous growth of entrepreneurship education throughout the world, no research exists on the current state of entrepreneurship centres in Pakistan. The purpose of this descriptive study is to perform a more in-depth examination entrepreneurship centres throughout Pakistan. This study on entrepreneurship centres in Pakistan will provide an in-depth analysis of entrepreneurship centres and their impact in Pakistan.
The results obtained from this study will be used as recommendations to those formal and informal enterprises and institutions that want to excel in the field of entrepreneurship.
Kuratko in 2005 conducted a study in which he found that the number of colleges and universities that offer courses related to entrepreneurship has increased greatly from a very few courses in 1970s to over 1,600 in the year 2005.
Finkle, Kuratko and Goldsby (2006) conducted a research in which they performed an in-depth analysis of 146 entrepreneurship centres across United States. They found that top-ranked centres were richer in terms of endowed chairs as compared to non-ranked centres. Top-ranked centres also had an academic advantage over non-ranked centres that they were offering more comprehensive graduate programs in Entrepreneurship. In short, top-ranked centres were provided with more resources and professionals in the field of entrepreneurship.
Upton in 1997 performed a research on Entrepreneurship Centres. The study was named as "Successful Experiences of Entrepreneurship Centre Directors". She performed a detailed analysis of nine entrepreneurship centres. As a result of this study she developed a list of best practices for starting, directing, funding, managing, and marketing each entrepreneurship centre.
Sandberg and Gatewood (1991) examined research concentration, budgeting, financial resources, and constituents for entrepreneurship centres. Pfeffer (1972) and Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) found that larger organizations have larger pools of resources that can be used to gain control over the entities of their environment, which mediate critical resources.
Other than the studies just mentioned, there is little knowledge to be generated from the literature regarding entrepreneurship centres. Given the lack of research in this area and the importance of entrepreneurship centres in today's world, we surveyed the entire population of entrepreneurship centres (72) in Pakistan. To date, this is the largest sample of centres ever examined in Pakistan.
We took the entire population of Entrepreneurship Centres (ECs) known to us for the survey. The entire population consisted of 72 ECs located in Pakistan. The list of centres was obtained from Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, website on Entrepreneurship Centres, personal references and an in-depth search of websites.
The Survey forms for formal and informal ECs were designed separately. The survey form for formal ECs consisted of 22 items whereas the survey form for informal ECs consisted of 21 items and took respondents, on average, about 15 minutes to complete. The survey form was developed through the authors and was pre-tested with Heads of 7 ECs (2 formal, 5 informal). Appropriate changes were made based on the comments of the pretest group. Among 72 ECs 65 survey forms were sent to Informal ECs and 7 survey forms were sent to Formal ECs. We received responses from 25 program heads--20 from informal ECs and 5 from formal ECs--for a response rate of 34.7% %.
For this study we define formal EC as degree/diploma awarding institutions having a centre for entrepreneurship or academic curriculum in entrepreneurship or faculty that performs research in field of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, has external out reach activities. For the purpose of this study, an entrepreneurship centre is considered formal EC if it is listed on Higher Education Commission, Islamabad. The informal ECs are the centres that provide financial and technical guidance and assistance for business start-ups and business growth to promote entrepreneurial culture in the country .The study did not include small business development centres. In the study the word participant is used for students who are taking course(s) in Entrepreneurship and the word client is used for an Entrepreneur who seeks guidance and assistance from informal ECs.
In this descriptive study, we broke down our sample into two categories: (1) Mean for formal ECs; and (2) Mean for informal ECs to examine the differences between the formal ECs and the informal ECs.
A. PROFILE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTRES
Average age of formal ECs is 6 years with a minimum age 1-4 years and maximum age 9-12 years. On the other hand, average age of informal ECs is 4 years with a minimum age 1-4 years and maximum age 9-12 years. There is a significant difference of 2 years in average age of formal and informal ECs respectively.
Experience of Heads of ECs
The average tenure of association of heads with their formal ECs is 3 years. The average tenure of association of heads with their informal ECs is found to be 5 years with the minimum tenure 1-4 years and a maximum tenure 9-12 years. There is a significant difference of 2 years in average tenure of association of heads of formal and informal ECs respectively.
OBJECTIVES AND SERVICES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTRES
In formal ECs, 71% have objective to enhance /impart education, and 29% to establish business incubators. Therefore the prime objective of formal ECs is to enhance /impart education. In informal ECs, 36% have the prime objective to provide trainings, 33% to provide business support, 11% to raise funds, 11% to commercialize the research, 6% to develop business incubators and 3% of the informal ECs have the objective to promote youth enterprises.
Internal and External Activities of Formal ECs
Case studies are the most common internal activities among 25% of the formal ECs.18.75% of the formal ECs are involved in the internal activities of Journals/Publications, 18.75% in Business Plan Competition, 18.75% in Student Clubs and 18.75% of the formal ECs are also involved in the internship programs. The most common external activities of the formal ECs are Seminars/ Workshops (31.25%) and Guest Speakers (31.25%). The least common external activities of formal centres are Executive education (18.75%) and incubation services (18.75%).
Services Offered by Formal and Informal ECs
The most common undergraduate course is Introduction to Entrepreneurship (66.67%). The least common undergraduate courses are Entrepreneurial growth (16.66%) and Business Plan Development (16.67%).
The most common entrepreneurial services offered by informal ECs are Trainings/Workshops (20%) and Business Support Services (20%) followed by Business Plan Development (17.14%) and Feasibility development (17.14%). The least common entrepreneurial services offered by informal ECs are of Micro Financing (11.42%) and Exhibitions and Fairs (11.42 %). Some of the informal ECs are also providing Technology up gradation services (1.42) and office space facility (1.42%) to the entrepreneurs.
The informal ECs in Pakistan provide entrepreneurial assistance to different levels of business operations. Informal ECs are mainly providing informal entrepreneurial services to SMEs (38.46%). The informal centres are also significantly providing services to micro finance (30.76%) and Cottage industries (30.76%) level of business operations.
Subscription of Entrepreneurship Journals
Most of the formal ECs have a subscription of 4-6 Entrepreneurship journals but some of them also have a subscription of 7-9 journals. The percentage of subscription of 4-6 Entrepreneurship journals (60%) is higher as compared to 7-9 subscriptions (40%).
MoUs/Agreements of Informal Ecs
Most of the informal ECs have signed 4-6 MoUs/agreements with other organizations but some of them also have signed 1-3 MoUs/agreements. There are only two informal centres in Pakistan, which have signed maximum number of MoUs/agreements i.e.7-9(10%). The percentage of 4-6 MoUs/agreements (60%) is higher as compared to 1-3 MoUs/agreements (30%). The least percentage of MoUs/agreements is 7-9(10%).
Faculty of Formal ECs
The average number of permanent faulty members in the formal ECs is 3. The average number of visiting faculty members at formal ECs is also 3.
Employees of Informal Employees
The average number of employees at informal ECs is 15 employees with the minimum number of 1-5 employees and maximum number of 11-15 employees. Some of the informal ECs have significantly 36-40 employees, which is an exceptional case. The percentage breakdown shows that 30% informal centres have 1-5 employees, 30% have 6-10 employees and other 30% have 3640 employees. The remaining 10% centres have 11-15 employees.
Qualification of Faculty in Formal ECs
Among the formal ECs, average number of faculty members with PHD/MS in Entrepreneurship area is 1. Most of the formal ECs (60%) do not have any faculty member with PHD/MS in Entrepreneurship area but only 40% of the centres have 1-5 faculty members with specialization in Entrepreneurship.
Among the formal ECs, the average number of faculty members with MBA in Entrepreneurship area is 1. Most of the formal ECs (60%) do not have any faculty member with MBA in Entrepreneurship area but only 40% of the centres have 1-5 faculty members with specialization in Entrepreneurship.
Qualification of Employees in Informal ECs
The average number of employees in informal ECs with PHD/MS in Entrepreneurship area is 1. The 50% of the informal ECs do not have any faculty member with PHD/MS in Entrepreneurship area and 50% % of the centres have 1-5 faculty members with specialization in Entrepreneurship. The average number of employees in informal sector with MBA in Entrepreneurship area is 2. Most of the informal ECs (80%) do not have any faculty member with MBA in Entrepreneurship area but only 20% of the centres have 1-5 faculty members with specialization in Entrepreneurship.
Participants/Clients of ECs
The formal ECs had enrolled average number of 126 participants in their Entrepreneurship Programs last year. The average number of clients enrolled in informal ECs is 110 clients. The percentage breakdown shows that 40% of the informal ECs enrolled 1-50 clients, 30% enrolled 201-250 clients, 20% informal ECs enrolled 51-100 clients and only 10% informal ECs enrolled 151-200 clients. It demonstrates that most of the informal ECs enrolled 1-50 clients in their Entrepreneurship programs last year.
Sources of Funds
The main sources of funds for the financial operations of formal ECs are trainings, workshops and grants. The percentage breakdown shows that 33.33% of the formal ECs generate funds through trainings, 33.33% through workshops and 33.33% through grants.
Among the informal ECs, 29.6% generate funds through grants, 22.2% through donations, 14.8% through trainings, 14.8% through workshops, and 14.8% through business support programs. The least common sources of funds for informal ECs are the deposits of the government and local bodies (3.7% informal ECs).
LEGAL STATUS AND ENTREPRENEURIAL INITIATIVES
Ownership of ECs
All the formal ECs are private institutions. The 50% of the informal ECs are public institutions, 45% are private and only 5% centres have public private ownership.
Status of ECs in Their Respective Organizations/Institutions
All the formal ECs exist in the Department of Management in terms of their presence in institutions. On the other hand, 70% of the informal ECs exist as an independent department, 25 % in social welfare department and only 5% are working in the capacity of Training Wing in terms of their presence in the organization.
Regarding the legal status of formal ECs all the formal ECs are listed with Higher Education Commission, Islamabad because the primary purpose of formal ECs is Academics. On the other hand, most of the informal ECs are non-profit organizations (60%) and govt. funded programs (20 %) but others are trusts (10%), and for profit (10%) organizations.
Awareness about Entrepreneurial Initiatives in the Country
All the formal ECs are aware of the initiatives of HEC, Islamabad regarding Entrepreneurship centres (ECs). On the other hand only 70% of informal ECs are aware of the initiatives of the government regarding Entrepreneurship Centres while 30% of informal ECs are not aware of the initiatives of the government regarding ECs.
Conferences on Entrepreneurship
All the formal ECs have attended 5 conferences on the average, which were held in the domain of Entrepreneurship. The informal ECs have attended 3 conferences on the average regarding Entrepreneurship. The percentage breakdown shows that 40% of the informal ECs have attended 1-3 conferences, 30% informal ECs have not attended any conference, 20% have attended 4-6 conferences, and only 10% of the informal ECs have attended conferences in the domain of Entrepreneurship.
Workshops on Entrepreneurship
All the formal ECs have attended 5 workshops on the average, which were held in the domain of Entrepreneurship. On the other hand, informal ECs have attended 3 workshops on the average regarding Entrepreneurship. The percentage breakdown shows that 40% of the informal ECs have attended 1-3 workshops, 30% ECs have not attended any workshop, 20% have attended 4-6 workshops, and only 10% of the informal ECs have attended (10-12) workshops in the domain of Entrepreneurship.
ADMINISTRATION OF AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTRE PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES
Main Responsibilities of Heads of ECs
The main responsibilities of the heads of formal ECs are management of professional development services (33.33%), conducting trainings and workshops (33.33%) and undertaking research projects (33.33%). All these responsibilities of the heads are equally common among all the formal ECs.
The main responsibilities of the heads of informal ECs are program evaluation, fundraising and exploring new resources for their informal Entrepreneurship Centres. Program evaluation is most common responsibility (38.46%) followed by exploring new resources for centres (32.69%). The least common responsibility of heads of informal centres is fundraising (28.84%).
Major Issues Faced by ECs
All the formal ECs are equally facing the problems of funding (33.33%), creating awareness about Entrepreneurship among masses (33.33%), and finding qualified faculty to strengthen and expand their entrepreneurial academics(33.33%). On the other hand, the biggest issue faced by informal ECs is to create awareness about entrepreneurship among the masses (32.78%) followed by getting recognition in the society in the domain of Entrepreneurship to attain national entrepreneurial status (24.59%).Some of the informal ECs are also facing the funding problems(22.95%) and recovery of funds and managing follow ups(19.67%).
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS
This study fills a gap in Entrepreneurship research by surveying the largest number of Entrepreneurship Centres (ECs) in Pakistan ever attempted and obtaining in-depth information about the characteristics of these centres. This descriptive study breaks down the sample into two categories: formal ECs and Informal ECs.
Formal ECs on average are 2 years older. The heads of Informal ECs on average are 2 years more experienced as compared to the heads of formal ECs. There is a significant difference between the objectives of formal and informal ECs. The academic component drives the formal ECs whereas the trainings, fundraising and business support component drives the informal ECs.
Among the internal activities of the formal ECs, they concentrate more on case studies as compared to other internal activities. On the other hand, the external activities of formal ECs include organizing seminars/workshops to create awareness about entrepreneurship and arranging resource persons and guest speakers to promote Entrepreneurship education.
Introduction to Entrepreneurship, which is the basic course, has the highest percentage among the undergraduate courses being offered in all the formal ECs of the country. On the other hand, the informal ECs are providing the primary services of Trainings/workshops, business support services, and business plan development. Moreover, informal ECs are primarily focusing on SMEs to promote entrepreneurial culture in the country. The Entrepreneurship academics component drives the formal ECs and Business Support Services (other than academics) component drives the informal ECs.
The average number of subscriptions of Entrepreneurship Journals for the formal ECs is 6. The average number of Memorandums of Understanding/agreements signed by informal ECs with other organizations to support their initiatives is 4.
There is no significant difference regarding the number of permanent and visiting faculty members in the formal ECs. But if we make a comparison between the number of faculty members and staff in formal and informal ECs we find that there is a significant difference of 10 more employees on the average in informal ECs. Both the formal and informal sectors have a very low number of employees who are specialized in the field of Entrepreneurship. The formal ECs on average have 15 more participants as compared to the informal ECs.
There is no significant difference in the main sources of funds for both the formal and informal ECs of Pakistan. Most of the formal as well as informal ECs generate funds mainly through trainings, workshops and grants for their financial operations.
It is found that all the formal ECs are private institutions irrespective of informal ECs 45 % of which are only private organizations.
There is significant difference between formal and informal ECs in terms of their presence in the organization. All the formal ECs exist in Department of Management and most of the informal ECs exist as Independent Departments.
There is a significant difference in the legal status of formal and informal centres. All the formal ECs are listed with HEC, Islamabad with the primary purpose of academics. Most of the informal ECs in Pakistan are non profit organizations and govt. funded programs but with the purpose of providing entrepreneurial services other than academics (Tables 9e and 9f). Most of the informal ECs exist as Social Entrepreneurial Ventures (SEVs) in the country. SEVs are of three types. They are non-profit organizations entering into business to finance their social service operations (Boschee, 1995; Leadbeater, 1997; Mort et al., 2003). They can also be for-profit ventures that define their mission as having a double bottom line (Dees, 1998b; Pomerantz, 2003). Finally, they can be cross-sector SEVs, collaborative initiatives engaging non-profit, for-profit and/or public organizations to solve particularly challenging social problems (Bornstein, 1998; Kanter, 1999; Waddock and Post 1991).
All the formal ECs are aware of the initiatives of HEC, Islamabad regarding Entrepreneurship centres (ECs). On the other hand only 70% of informal ECs are aware of the initiatives of the government regarding Entrepreneurship Centres
The formal ECs have on the average attended 3 more conferences and workshops on the average as compared to informal centres which may give them an advantage in getting more awareness regarding Entrepreneurial initiatives and issues in Pakistan.
There is a significant difference in the responsibilities of the heads of the formal and informal Entrepreneurship Centres because of the basic difference in their primary objectives and services. The heads of formal ECs have to monitor and evaluate academics whereas the heads of informal centres have to monitor and evaluate the activities of their Entrepreneurship Programs and to manage resources along with exploring new resources for their centres.
The main issues faced by both the formal and informal ECs are almost the same. Both the sectors are facing the challenges of creating awareness about Entrepreneurship in Pakistan and lack of funds for entrepreneurial initiatives. But the informal ECs are additionally facing the challenges of getting recognition for attaining national entrepreneurial status and recovery of funds.
In a nutshell, we can say that for formal ECs the heads' perceptions of measures of success for a centre is courses offered, number of students in the program student evaluations, and funding generated. They put Entrepreneurship education first. For informal ECs the heads' perception of measures of success for a centre are recognition, funding generated and clients enrolled in Entrepreneurial Programs. The findings of the study exhibit that the number of both formal and informal ECs has grown tremendously in the last five years from none to about 72 ECs all across Pakistan. All the ECs whether formal of informal are in their initial phases of establishment and so many challenges are hampering their growth in the country. The study highlights that the biggest factor to hamper the growth of ECs in Pakistan is lack of vision. At the same time they are seriously facing the biggest challenge of lack of resources.
All the ECs, whether formal or informal lack vision to set the direction for achieving their entrepreneurial goals. The entrepreneurship professionals should be produced in order to manage, direct and grow these formal and informal ECs of Pakistan. The entrepreneurship experts will be able to develop the vision for ECs in Pakistan to find the right direction for Entrepreneurship Field. The heads of Informal ECs can also help the formal centres in building up their academic programs of Entrepreneurship.
The specialization courses of Entrepreneurship are not offered in formal ECs. There is a strong need to offer specialization and diploma courses in the field of Entrepreneurship in all the formal ECs.
Lack of funds is also a serious issue faced by both the formal and informal ECs, which contribute towards slowing their pace of development. Both foreign agencies and local government should not only ensure channels to support and assist ECs but they should also specify the evaluation and monitoring of Entrepreneurial initiatives to measure and enhance their growth. The more comprehensive management courses should be offered in formal ECs and more elaborated Entrepreneurial management skills should be focused by informal ECs to create effective Entrepreneurial management in these ECs.
For formal ECs, the issue of funding to carry out the financial operations can be solved by opting for venture capital and Angel funds to create a pool of financial resources for strengthening and expanding their academic activities. The formal ECs can overcome the problem of finding the qualified faculty by hiring foreign qualified faculty members with specialization in Entrepreneurship. Formal ECs can also create networking with informal ECs to acquire the resource persons for academics. The heads of the centres should assign more responsibilities to their faculty members in order to promote Entrepreneurial culture in the country. The third issue faced by formal ECs is about creating awareness of the Entrepreneurship among masses. This issue can be resolved by involving electronic and print media. The government can also play its role by organizing conferences, workshops/trainings at the national level in the domain of Entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, the informal ECs can resolve the issue of funding by opting for more extensive Entrepreneurial services like trainings and workshops. They can also generate funds by providing resource persons to formal ECs. Moreover, there is a strong need in the country to establish venture capital, Angel funds and Micro Finance institutions. The microfinance cooperatives should be developed and promoted in the country. They act as a financial institution by offering loans and savings as well as collecting repayments with interest high enough to be profitable; and they also create cooperative groups among borrowers in order to ensure payment and increase solidarity and social ties (Woodworth, 1997). The government can also facilitate informal ECs by providing more funds and donations.
The informal ECs are also facing the problem of creating awareness among masses. Involving electronic and print media can create the awareness. The government can also play its role by organizing conferences, workshops/trainings at the national level in the domain of Entrepreneurship. They can explore and manage new resources, build criteria, legitimacy, and brand name recognition that are needed to attain national entrepreneurial status. The Entrepreneurship centres develop resources to achieve its goals of efficiency and improve performance (Provan 1980; Pfeffer 1973, 1972, Zald 1967; Price 1963). The survival of the EC depends on its efficiency to explore and manage resources (Finkle 1998).
The informal ECs are also facing the challenge of getting recognition to attain national entrepreneurial status. Revising the credit policies and managing follow-ups efficiently can solve the issue of recovery of funds.
Future research in this area should focus on development of a model for the development of successful formal and informal ECs in Pakistan. Specific variables should be considered to understand these relationships for the development of the formal and informal ECs in Pakistan.
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Ansir Ali Rajput, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University
Ali Murad, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University…