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Is “entrepreneurship” the problem in entrepreneurship education?

Simon Bridge (Ulster Business School, Ulster University, Belfast, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




In entrepreneurship education there are different interpretations of entrepreneurship which leads to considerable confusion. The purpose of this paper is to consider whether it is the word entrepreneurship itself which is the source of this problem.


This paper seeks, not to examine the different meanings of entrepreneurship in an education context, but instead to explore the confusion those different meanings can cause.


The word entrepreneurship is used as a label for what sometimes are essentially different things. But, even when a difference is acknowledged, the application of the same label implies a misleading commonality. A result is that false parallels can be drawn and differences among the requirements of funders, providers and consumers of entrepreneurship education can go unrecognised and not addressed. Attempts to restrict the label “entrepreneurship” to some uses and to use the label “enterprise” for others fail because it is only partially done and the two words are still often used interchangeably. Therefore, because the label “entrepreneurship” is the source of this problem, it is suggested that its use should be dropped.

Practical implications

Dropping the word entrepreneurship would force the various stakeholders in entrepreneurship education to specify more clearly what they want and/or expect to get from it. That could lead to clearer debate and better resolution of misunderstandings.


Possibly because we are accustomed to using the word entrepreneurship in different ways we fail to see and address the confusion that causes. This paper suggests a change.



Bridge, S. (2017), "Is “entrepreneurship” the problem in entrepreneurship education?", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 7/8, pp. 740-750.



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