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Entrepreneurship perceptions and career intentions of international students

Todd Davey (Münster University of Applied Sciences, Münster, Germany)
Carolin Plewa (The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Miemie Struwig (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This paper aims to identify the differences between African and European students with regard to their entrepreneurial intentions, attitudes towards entrepreneurship, role models and entrepreneurial experience. It also aims to set the scene for future comparative research between developing and developed countries in the area of graduate entrepreneurship.


A quantitative empirical research design was applied, using self‐administered questionnaires. Questionnaires were distributed to first‐year business students at universities in three African countries that are either developing (Uganda and Kenya) or emerging (South Africa) and four European developed nations (Finland, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal).


The results indicate that students from developing/emerging economies are more likely to envisage future careers as entrepreneurs and are more positive towards entrepreneurship than their industrialised European counterparts, even though motivators for employment/self‐employment are similar across the samples. The type of role models used and the extent of entrepreneurial experience varied between individual countries.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include the use of a convenience sample and its restriction on the use of statistics, a single data collection point and a sample across seven countries on two continents.

Practical implications

The results lead to universal and country‐specific recommendations relating to the improvement of student‐oriented entrepreneurship activities within universities.


The paper extends research on graduate entrepreneurship by providing an international comparison of entrepreneurship intentions, attitudes and experiences between developing/emerging and developed nations, leading to suggestions on how to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and assist new‐venture creations for students.



Davey, T., Plewa, C. and Struwig, M. (2011), "Entrepreneurship perceptions and career intentions of international students", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 5, pp. 335-352.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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