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The IUP Journal of Knowledge Management :
A Retrospective Study on the views of Alumni Entrepreneurs towards University Enterprise Education and Training
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While there have been many studies on entrepreneurship programs using a range of methods from self- efficacy to venture creation, including studies on curricular and extra-curricular activities, what is less prevalent is an attempt to understand retrospectively what activities and experiences have shaped the formation of alumni entrepreneurs from the many activities they potentially could have taken part in during their university career. From the alumni database, we found that over 8,000 described themselves as self-employed (2% of the total). The findings included that Medical and Health Sciences produced the most self-employed per head (3.29%), and only 10% of alumni started their business on graduating with 40% waiting for more than 10 years after. It was also found that 50% had a close relative who had started their own business and that most (66%) of those responding who had created businesses had no entrepreneurship training of any kind while at university. Unsurprisingly, more recent business founders had experienced more enterprise education than older businesses—of those that started a business 1-5 years after graduation, 49% had experienced enterprise education. Despite this, those with enterprise education showed marginally better value and turnovers despite being generally relatively newer companies. The knowledge gained from this study can be useful in targeting resources to activities that are most effective in creating alumni entrepreneurs.

 
 
 

Many institutions have an important effect on promoting entrepreneurial activities, from governments introducing policies affecting taxes, red tape and the legal system to general support and infrastructure and availability of finance (Minniti, 2008; Bruton et al., 2010; Welter and Smallbone, 2011; and Jennings et al., 2013). Differences between countries and even regions may also affect this entrepreneurial ecosystem (e.g., Chen and Phillips, 2016). Universities have an important role as they can strongly influence the entrepreneurial character of a country and its economy from the graduates they produce. The ability for a student to link their area of study to the commercial world is clearly a useful skill valued by a range of employers and in general there is considerable interest in creating entrepreneurial universities and graduates (e.g., Matlay, 2011; and Gibb et al., 2013). There is also an interest in entrepreneurial skills for graduates in careers where it is normal to be self-employed, such as Journalism (Baines and Kennedy, 2010).

 
 
 

Knowledge Management Journal