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Entrepreneurial selection and success: does education matter?

Pat H. Dickson (Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, Wake Forest University, Winston‐Salem, North Carolina, USA)
George T. Solomon (Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence (CFEE), The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
K. Mark Weaver (Entrepreneurship Institute, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 16 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between general education, specific forms of entrepreneurial education and a range of entrepreneurial activities.


The relationships were investigated through an analysis of peer‐reviewed research published in a wide range of journals and proceedings between 1995 and 2006.


Findings suggest strong evidence supporting the relationship between levels of general education and several entrepreneurial success measures. The findings are less clear in regards to the link between general education and the choice to become an entrepreneur. The findings linking specific programs of entrepreneurship education to entrepreneurship, although ambiguous, suggest a positive link between such education and both the choice to become an entrepreneur and subsequent entrepreneurial success.

Research limitations/implications

The review of research suggests four implications for existing research: a need for increased research outside the USA; an understanding that inconsistencies in findings may be to a great extent temporal artifacts; a need for increased research focused on innovation; and an acknowledgement that “venture exit” as an outcome measure has received limited attention.

Practical implications

Given the significant investments by both private organizations and governments aimed at increasing rates of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial success through education, it is important to understand that while the evidence supporting the links between education and entrepreneurial outcomes is promising it is not yet definitive.


In addition to providing a review of existing research this paper suggests an integrative framework for future research.



Dickson, P.H., Solomon, G.T. and Weaver, K.M. (2008), "Entrepreneurial selection and success: does education matter?", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 239-258.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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