The purpose of this study was to investigate the consequences of the economic shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the entrepreneurial intentions of academic students. In addition, this research examined whether the pandemic reinforces the tendency to operate new businesses or represents a barrier to the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities.
This study was conducted with a sample of university students. Risk perception and contextual variables were measured. Information was collected from 308 university students enrolled at the University of Sfax (Tunisia) who participated by responding to a structured questionnaire distributed in electronic form by email.
The results show that university students perceive higher levels of personal entrepreneurial risk than other types of entrepreneurial risks (financial risk and social risk). Perceived financial risk only has a significant effect on entrepreneurial intention for students who view the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity. Regarding perceived contextual support, only perceived educational support has a significant and positive effect on entrepreneurial intention.
The results have important practical implications for identifying entrepreneurial intentions. They indicate that universities have an essential role in providing educational support for students by implementing awareness and training programs for entrepreneurship. Furthermore, they reveal the differentiated effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the risk perceptions of participants according to their views of the crisis as a threat or as an opportunity.
This is one of few studies that have examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (positive or negative) on the entrepreneurial intention of academic students.
Krichen, K. and Chaabouni, H. (2021), "Entrepreneurial intention of academic students in the time of COVID-19 pandemic", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-03-2021-0110
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