Assessing students' entrepreneurial skills development in live projects

Jane Chang (Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK)
Alison Rieple (Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 15 February 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present an exploratory study that examined the development of students' entrepreneurial skills over time within live projects.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, students worked alongside real‐life entrepreneurs and financiers. Students' perceptions of their skills were assessed using both quantitative and qualitative data, which were gathered during weeks 1, 6 and 12 of the programme.

Findings

The results showed significant changes in students' perceptions of their skills over time. At the outset students were confident about their abilities across the 17 categories of entrepreneurial skills developed by Lichtenstein and Lyons and Lyons and Lyons. Later on in the projects, their confidence in certain skills declined significantly; what these were varied according to the time of data collection. The qualitative data provided more detailed accounts of students' perceptions of their skills and why they had changed over time.

Originality/value

This study makes a contribution in providing insights into the nature and practice of an experiential learning approach. The results indicate that the development of entrepreneurial skills can be improved by providing a learning environment in which students interact with real business people in live projects. They also indicate that entrepreneurship education programmes may be improved by scheduling skills training in a more structured and timely manner than typically occurs now. Students' perceptions of their skills declined substantially over the course of the projects, with some variations, suggesting that educators need to provide different and more timely learning interventions to cater for the specific needs of students working in live projects.

Keywords

Citation

Chang, J. and Rieple, A. (2013), "Assessing students' entrepreneurial skills development in live projects", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 225-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626001311298501

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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