The purpose of this paper is to evaluate to what degree participation in mini-companies impact young women and men with regard to the perceived desirability and perceived feasibility of self-employment. The Company Programme (CP) is the largest mini-company scheme in European secondary school.
The data derived from a survey conducted in Norway with 1,160 students in upper secondary school (17-18 years of age). The quasi-experimental research design enabled a comparison of compulsory CP-participants with non-participation and control for several competing factors.
The investigation demonstrated that CP positively influenced the perceived feasibility of self-employment for both young men and young women, and CP also increased the perceived desirability of self-employment among young women.
It could be that the impact of CP varies according to time spent on the CP or position in the mini-company. The study does not measure whether CP-participants actually create a business.
Central to explaining the stronger impact on young women is a particular concern with female entrepreneurship in CP. The majority of CEOs in mini-companies are young women, and all women that manage mini-companies can participate in the coaching programme “Girls and Leadership”.
CP-participation could boost the chance of individuals attempting to start a business at a later point in their lives. In the longer run, CP could contribute to reducing the gender gap in self-employment.
Investigating some of the impacts of CP in a gender perspective, this paper adds a fresh viewpoint to the state of knowledge about entrepreneurship education in secondary schools.
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