Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Graduate entrepreneurship in china
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Volume 3, Issue 3
Entrepreneurship is of great importance at the time when the world is undergoing a period of extraordinary change, as manifested by the global shift towards sustainable development, the changing world economic and political order due to the strong performance of emerging economies, and high uncertainty in economic recovery of the developed countries. It is in this intriguing time that graduate entrepreneurship offers extraordinary opportunities that, if leveraged properly, can increase a society’s supply of entrepreneurs in addressing many of the challenges we face today. The development of graduate entrepreneurship can also help develop the human capital required for improving graduate employability.
Over the past few years, graduate entrepreneurship has become one of the top priorities in the policy agenda in many countries and world organizations. There is now a consensus that we must create new opportunities for students to develop entrepreneurial mindsets, behaviors and skills that will help them not only to create their own futures, but also to contribute to the economies and societies. A wide range of policies and initiatives across countries have apparently created momentum for, and plenty of good practices in, the development of graduate entrepreneurship. For example, in China, a new national initiative was launched in 2009 by the Chinese Communist Youth League with specific focus on facilitating graduate entrepreneurship. Therefore, it is time to offer a forum for all stakeholders of graduate entrepreneurship to exchange latest research findings, good practices, and new development of policy-making. It is for all these reasons that this special issue is considered timely and significant.
This special issue includes six papers originally presented at the International Conference on Graduate Entrepreneurship, jointly organized by the University of Essex, Shantou University, and Emerald Group Publishing (UK) and held in Shantou University, China during September 6-7, 2010. The Conference, as the first of its kind in China, received 25 submissions and attracted wide audience. Authors of eight papers were invited to revise and re-submit their papers for consideration of publication in this special issue. Six papers were finally accepted for publication after the review process and they represent the concerted efforts by scholars from China and abroad to examine critical dimensions of graduate entrepreneurship and to reflect some early experiences of entrepreneurship education in China.
In the first paper of this special issue, Alistair R. Anderson makes a provocative argument about how universities should deliver entrepreneurship education. After reviewing the rich stream of existing literature about enterprise education purpose, pedagogy, and conceptual developments to explore how and why universities should teach entrepreneurship, Anderson argues that universities should not only teach the basic management skills of setting up a new business. The focus of the university role should rather be about enhancing entrepreneurship and not about a production line for the creation of low value generating small and medium enterprises. He argues that the strengths of universities lie in developing higher level skills and nurturing analytic ability, in short, the production of reflective practitioners. Reflective practitioners are individuals who, through their knowledge and critical ability are capable not only of starting new businesses, but also of ensuring the continuing viability of businesses by enhancing their capacity to innovate successfully. Moreover, the university can both enthuse and inform students from a convincingly informed position.
In the second paper entitled “Comparative study of China and USA’s colleges entrepreneurship education from an international perspective”, Zhang Lili reviewed the literature on undergraduate entrepreneurship education in China and the USA, identified issues specific to the Chinese universities, and proposed some suggestions for entrepreneurship education in China. According to Zhang Lili, practical activities, good entrepreneurship environment, teacher training, team building, and relevant research are critical factors for successful entrepreneurship education in China. To some extent, this paper sets forth a broad context for graduate entrepreneurship studies in China.
In the third paper, Zheng Li and Yang Liu present research findings of an empirical study on the relationship between entrepreneurship education and employment performance. The paper addresses an important, yet under-researched, question as to whether entrepreneurship education enhances graduate employability and job satisfaction. Using student sample from Jilin University, one of the largest universities in China, the author find evidence of positive relationship between entrepreneurship education and employment performance. The empirical research provides much needed evidence to support the rationality and necessity of entrepreneurship education in China.
In the fourth written by Fan-qi Zeng, Xiang-zhi Bu and Li Su introduced an entrepreneurial process model from the perspective of entrepreneurship education-as-practice. Taking the students in free enterprise (SIFE) team of Shantou University, which is one of the best among the SIFE teams in China, as an example, the authors discussed theoretical implications of the entrepreneurial process for entrepreneurship education in China. According to the authors, main characteristics of the entrepreneurial students include the nature of the enterprises, the entrepreneurship networks, and the spirit of social entrepreneurship. In addition, the authors also provide guidance for student entrepreneurial practice by analyzing key factors such as business opportunities, resources and entrepreneurial team, and their dynamically balanced process.
The last two papers, written by Xiuzhai Zhao and Hong Qunlian, respectively, examined major problems of and possible solutions for, graduate entrepreneurship in China. In her paper “The causes and countermeasures of Chinese graduate entrepreneurship dilemma”, Xiuzhai Zhao conducted 20 case studies and found the following internal and external causes of Chinese graduate entrepreneurship dilemma: the internal one is that most graduates do not have the qualifications for entrepreneurship; the external one is that the present entrepreneurial climate in China is poor, resulting in the difficulty for Chinese graduates to start new ventures. Xiuzhai Zhao suggested that, in order to overcome this dilemma, undergraduates should actively participate in social practice activities, universities should develop and improve entrepreneurship education systems, and government should refine policies and help to create an entrepreneurial culture. Hong took a conceptual approach to study a topic similar to that of Xiuzhai Zhao, and proposed the following solutions for the difficulties of graduate entrepreneurship: strengthening graduate entrepreneurship capacity by enhancing entrepreneurship education, increasing entrepreneurship opportunities by improving the entrepreneurship environment, and raising the entrepreneurship desire by perfecting financing system.
Overall, papers included in this special issue summarize current status, introduce new perspectives, provide empirical insights, and examine future directions of graduate entrepreneurship in the context of higher education in China. Hopefully, this collection of papers will be of help for narrowing the gap between the increasing importance of graduate entrepreneurship and the relatively fewer research efforts devoted to it. Further, we believe this special issue will inspire many more scholars to generate research attention and participate in the kind of dialogue necessary to furthering our understanding in this topic of major theoretical and practice significance.
In organizing the International Conference on Graduate Entrepreneurship and preparing this special issue, many people and organizations have lent their great support to us. We like to use this opportunity to expression of our appreciation to the City Government of Shantou, Professor Michael Shearer, Director of Essex Business School, University of Essex, Mr Luo Nianchao, Deputy Party Secretary of Shantou University, Professor Chen Zhongwei, Vice President of Anhui Finance and Economics University, and the administrative team of Shantou University Business School. In particular, we wish to express our special thanks to Dr Hu Shaodong of Shantou University Business School who played a pivotal role in coordinating the conference and the review process of the special issue. Finally, we thank our reviewers who gave their valuable time to support our preparation of this issue.
Zongling Xu, Danming Lin, Jun LiGuest Editors