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Graduate entrepreneurs: intentions, barriers and solutions

Kelly Smith (Research and Enterprise, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Martin Beasley (Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 22 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the factors that influenced seven graduates in the creative and digital industries to start their own businesses in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK – an area with lack of employing establishments and locally registered businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

Questionnaires and semi‐structured interviews identified the constraining and enabling factors graduates may encounter when attempting to start a business, and explored the impact of support provided.

Findings

Perceived constraining factors were: lack of general business knowledge, contradictory advisory support from external agencies, lack of sector‐specific mentors, lack of finance, and experience of familial entrepreneurship. Perceived enabling factors were: co‐mentoring from business partners, course content, financial gain, creativity and innovative ideas, control and risk taking, and the overarching package of support. Linkages between internal and external support could be improved.

Research limitations/implications

The study provided insights into constraints and enablers to self‐employment for a small cohort of recent graduates looking to start‐up in the creative and digital industries. Further studies are required to explore the suggested effect of the “creative identity”, and of sector‐specific family entrepreneurial background.

Practical implications

The support provided by universities can facilitate the transition from early stage ideas to actual graduate business start‐up. Issues such as provision of specialist advice and links with external parallel and follow‐on support need to be considered.

Originality/value

University start‐up units provide an important contribution to the development of graduate entrepreneurs and their role in the growth of national and global economy. Suggestions for improvements in performance, such as closer links with external business development agencies and support providers, are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, K. and Beasley, M. (2011), "Graduate entrepreneurs: intentions, barriers and solutions", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 8/9, pp. 722-740. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911111185044

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited