Entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century from pedagogy to practice

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 16 May 2008



Solomon, G. (2008), "Entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century from pedagogy to practice", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 15 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2008.27115baa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century from pedagogy to practice

Article Type: Introduction From: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Volume 15, Issue 2.

About the Guest Editor

George Solomon Associate Professor of Management at The George Washington University School of Business and is the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence (CFEE). Dr Solomon received his Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from The George Washington University School of Government and Business Administration, 1982, with a major in Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management and Organizational Behavior and Development. Dr Solomon is the Past President of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) and the International Council for Small Business (ICSB). He also serves as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Associate Administrator for Business and Community Initiatives, US Small Business Administration (SBA). Dr Solomon has published and edited over 130 articles, books of readings, book chapters, reference materials and proceedings articles in both the areas of Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management, and Organizational Behavior and Dynamics. In 1984, he was one of five federal employees worldwide to receive the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Excellence in Government Management. In 1986 and 1993, he received the George Washington Freedom Medal in Economic Education from the Freedom Foundation. In 1997, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship selected Dr Solomon as the Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The title of this special issue “Entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century from pedagogy to practice” captures the essence of our authors’ attempt to cover the landscape of debate and inquiry regarding entrepreneurial education. The impact of entrepreneurial activity on the economy of both industrialized and developing countries has been well established (Aidis, 2005; Minniti et al., 2004). A wide range of institutional antecedents have traditionally been associated with both the choice of individuals to found ventures and various outcomes associated with venture founding (Aidis, 2005; Casper, 2000). An extraordinary proliferation of entrepreneurship education programs and courses has been underway worldwide in the past 15 years. Numerous articles have been published in journals, magazines and book chapters extolling the virtues of teaching entrepreneurship. The articles and book chapters cited below are but a sampling of the scholarly focus on the “revolution” that entrepreneurship education has educed in academic institutions. (Brockhaus, 1993; Brush et al., 1995; Carland and Carland, 1997; Carroll, 1993; Charney and Libecap, 2000; Donckels, 1991; Gartner and Vesper, 1994; Gibb, 1993; Hills, 1988; Hisrich, 1992; Katz, 2003; Kuratko, 2003; Meyer, 2001; Plaschka and Welsch, 1990; Solomon, 2006; Solomon et al., 2002; Solomon et al., 1998; Solomon et al., 1994; Solomon and Fernald, 1993; 1991; Vesper and Gartner, 1997; Vesper, 1993).

The transformation from negligible to massive interest in entrepreneurship education presents significant curricular and pedagogical challenges for administrators, professors, and other instructors in institutions of higher education. There is increasing interest in attempting to teach not only “about entrepreneurship”, nor even “for entrepreneurship”, but also “through entrepreneurship”: “using the new venture creation process to help students acquire a range of both business understanding and transferable skills and competencies” (Kirby, 2006). This special issue explores the relationship of entrepreneurship education to entrepreneurial activity, pedagogical issues, and creation of doctoral programs, and offers the reader but a mere glance at the complexity and importance of entrepreneurship education in the global development of economies.

Dickson, Solomon and Weaver’s article, “Entrepreneurial selection and success: does education matter?” explores the relationship between general education, specific forms of entrepreneurial education and a range of entrepreneurial activities through an analysis of peer-reviewed research published in a wide range of journals and proceedings between 1995 and 2006. They suggest strong evidence supporting the relationship between levels of general education and several entrepreneurial success measures. The findings linking specific programs of entrepreneurship education to entrepreneurship, although ambiguous, suggest a positive link between such education and both the choice to become an entrepreneur and subsequent entrepreneurial success. Given the significant investments by both private organizations and governments aimed at increasing rates of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial success through education it is important to understand that while the evidence supporting the links between education and entrepreneurial outcomes is promising it is not yet definitive.

Anderson and Jack’s article “Role typologies for enterprising education: the professional artisan?” examines the issue that entrepreneurial practices combine a variety of roles, each demanding different skills, knowledge and capabilities. The purpose of the article is to demonstrate that the content, approach and teaching techniques used for entrepreneurship education need to reflect these roles. They analyzed what attributes, qualities, skills and knowledge is required. From their analysis they were able to identify role typologies and argue that teaching entrepreneurship needs to produce a combination of the creative talents of the artist, the skills and ability of the artisan, yet include the applied knowledge of the technician with the know-what of the professional. Finally, they present some examples of pedagogies in entrepreneurship that might be used to develop the skills required for these roles and demonstrate why ultimately the teaching of entrepreneurship requires a combination of theory and practice.

Vincett and Farlow’s article “‘Start-a-Business’: an experiment in education through entrepreneurship” investigated whether two unconventional experiential courses, with the style and content that we would like to have experienced before we became entrepreneurs, can be successfully grafted onto the more conventional offerings of a large university business school. They created learning by allowing a small group of students with serious business ideas to actually be entrepreneurs (rather than pretending to be) as they evaluate, optimize, and start running their businesses within the university course structure. All distractions from these goals, such as formal business plans and academic exercises, are removed, and direct contact with outside stakeholders is strongly emphasized. Fellow-students and the instructor provide constant feedback and ideas to adapt and improve the businesses.

Barringer and Gresock’s article “Formalizing the front-end of the entrepreneurial process using the stage-gate model as a guide: an opportunity to improve entrepreneurship education and practice,” describes how many entrepreneurship curriculums teach students how to write a business plan, either in an introduction to entrepreneurship course or a business planning class. The most effective business plans are part of a comprehensive process that includes:

  • identifying a business idea;

  • screening the idea (or ideas) to determine their preliminary feasibility;

  • conducting a full feasibility analysis to see if proceeding with a business plan is warranted; and

  • writing the plan.

Regrettably, the evidence suggests that many new ventures do not follow this process. In addition, teaching students how to screen business ideas and how to conduct a full feasibility analysis are hit and miss topics in many entrepreneurship programs. One explanation for omitting these steps, in both teaching and practice, is the absence of a conceptual model to guide entrepreneurs and students through the process. In this paper, they use the stage-gage model from new product development as a guide in postulating a conceptual model of the front-end of the entrepreneurial process for entrepreneurs and students.

Hamidi, Wennberg and Berglund’s article “Creativity in entrepreneurship education” uses social cognitive theory to investigate entrepreneurial intent among participants in graduate entrepreneurship programs. Specifically, they test whether students’ creative potential is related to their intention to engage in entrepreneurship. The findings indicate that exercises in creativity can be used to raise entrepreneurial intentions of students in entrepreneurship education. Heterogeneity in creative styles among students also points to the problems of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to entrepreneurship education.

Kickul, Wilson, Marlino, and Barbosa’s article “Are misalignments of perceptions and self-efficacy causing gender gaps in entrepreneurial intentions among our nations’ teens?” explore the reasons behind the significant gender gaps observed in entrepreneurial interest among adolescents. Specifically, they test multiple models that analyze direct and indirect relationships between work and leadership experience, presence of a parental role model, self-efficacy, and interest by teens in becoming entrepreneurs. Participants completed measures of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, entrepreneurial intentions, work and leadership experience, and parental entrepreneurial role model. The authors analyzed the data using structural equation modeling. Findings suggest that feeling like they are able to succeed as entrepreneurs might count more for girls than for boys when considering career options, and demonstrate the value of entrepreneurial role models for young girls, especially those who already have the confidence and perceived skills to launch their own future ventures

Urbano, Aponte and Toledano’s article “Doctoral education in entrepreneurship: a European case study” analysed a European doctoral programme in entrepreneurship. The specific objectives were to:

  • illustrate the process to design and launch the doctoral programme;

  • describe their main characteristics; and

  • explore the conditioning factors to their success.

The analysis supports the notions that the launch of a doctoral program is similar to the process of creating a new business. The results emphasize the importance of the founder’s personality, the network ties between universities and the strategic vision in order to achieve success in an entrepreneurship doctoral program.

Watkins, Russo and Ochs’ article “Can students in technology entrepreneurship courses help foster start-ups by the unemployed?” evaluated the Lehigh University’s demonstration program integrating technology entrepreneurship courses with state and federal employment and economic development agencies. The demonstration program involved three stages over 30-months in the context of Lehigh’s Integrated Product Development Program. IPD engages students and faculty from business, engineering and design arts. Multidisciplinary student teams worked with unemployed clients with entrepreneurial new product ideas. One year after participating, compared to a control group of non-participants, clients with student teams had made statistically significantly more progress in launching businesses and generated more economic activity. Family support and market knowledge were the strongest predictors of entrepreneurial progress.

Fuchs, Werner and Wallau’s article “Entrepreneurship education in Germany and Sweden: what role do different school systems play?” discusses three main arguments which have been advanced regarding why entrepreneurship has to be promoted in the near future: increasing international competition (large and established businesses downsize their workforce and relocate their businesses in other parts of the world), significant demographic changes (individuals that are most frequently involved in entrepreneurial activities (aged 24-34) will be affected by a decreasing population in the near future) and business transfers (retiring entrepreneurs will fail to find appropriate successors because of these demographic effects). Unfortunately, the decisive role of compulsory schooling has long been neglected in this context. Picking up the discussion at this point they analyzed to what extent compulsory school education in Germany and Sweden facilitates a more entrepreneurial way of thinking among pupils. The results presented clearly suggest that entrepreneurship education in German schools do not succeed very well in presenting self-employment as an attractive alternative to dependent work.

Matlay’s article “The impact of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurial outcomes”, explores the impact that entrepreneurship education can have on entrepreneurial outcomes. The author investigates the perceived influence that various entrepreneurship education courses have had on a cohort of 64 graduate entrepreneurs from eight HEIs in the UK. Semi-structured, in-depth telephone interviews were conducted annually over a ten-year period (1997 to 2006) to document, measure and analyze respondent progression from graduation and into entrepreneurship. Results indicate that graduate needs for entrepreneurship education does not match actual outcomes in terms of entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitudes. This mismatch influences an entrepreneur’s perceptions of actual and future educational needs. Most of the graduate entrepreneurs, however, seem to be satisfied with the outcomes of their entrepreneurship education, both in relative and in absolute terms. The findings provide valuable insights for educators, policy makers and graduate entrepreneurs. Stakeholders could use this study to make better choices in relation to the education of future graduate entrepreneurs.

Achtenhagen and Knyphausen-Aufsess’s research note “Doctoral entrepreneurship education in Germany” Both academically and in practice, the entrepreneurship education field focuses mainly on how to best educate pupils as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Very few dedicated doctoral programs in entrepreneurship exist. Yet, doctoral education is a crucial element to develop future academic scholars in the field, especially in countries without a strong tradition in entrepreneurship education. Therefore, this paper presents and discusses a doctoral program in high-tech entrepreneurship in Germany as a good-practice case for establishing such programs.

Raposo, do Paço and Ferreira’s, research note “Entrepreneur’s profile: a taxonomy of attributes and motivations of university students” aims to identify the profile of the potential entrepreneur student in what concerns to the personal attributes and motivations for start-ups’ creation. The present research uses primary data obtained by questionnaire, involving a sample of students, which were currently engaged in a graduation course at the University of Beira Interior. The questionnaire is administrated by interviews conducted in the classrooms of the University’s faculties. The collected data was submitted to a multivariate statistical analysis. Research findings include the existence of a typology of two distinct groups of students, respectively designated by “The Independent Accommodated” and “The Confidents”, according to the most outstanding characteristics related with several attributes and motivations presented by each one.


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Brockhaus, R. (1993), “Entrepreneurship education: a research agenda”, in Hoy, F., Monroy, T.G. and Reichert, J. (Eds), The Art & Science of Entrepreneurship Education, Vol. 1, Monroy Educational Systems, Inc., Berea, CA, pp. 913

Brush, C., Griffin, J. and Smith, C. (1995), “Perceived value of entrepreneurship course content and pedagogy”, paper presented at a meeting of the National Small Business Consulting Conference, Small Business Institute Director’s Association (SBIDA), Nashville, TN

Carland, J.W. and Carland, J.A. (1997), “Entrerpreneurship education: an integrated approach using an experiential learning paradigm”, paper presented at a meeting of the Internationalizing Entrepreneurship Education and Training, IntEnt97, Monterey Bay, CA, June 25-27

Carroll, J.J. (1993), “Course and curriculum design in developing and changing nations: problems following the US model”, paper presented at a meeting of the International Council for Small Business, Las Vegas, NV, June, pp. 254-63

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Charney, A.H. and Libecap, G. (2000), “The impact of entrepreneurship education: an evaluation of the Berger entrepreneurship program at the University of Arizona, 1985-1999”, Kauffman Research Series, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO

Donckels, R. (1991), “Education and entrepreneurship experiences from secondary and university education in Belgium”, Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 3542

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Gibb, A. (1993), “The enterprise culture and education”, International Small Business Journal, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 1134

Hills, G.E. (1988), “Variations in university entrepreneurship education: an empirical study of an evolving field”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 10922

Hisrich, R.D. (1992), “Toward an organization model for entrepreneurship education”, paper presented at a meeting of the Internationalizing Entrepreneurship Education and Training Conference, Dortmund

Katz, J.A. (2003), “The chronology and intellectual trajectory of American entrepreneurship education”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 283300

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Kuratko, D.F. (2003), “Entrepreneurship education: emerging trends and challenges for the 21st century”, paper presented at a meeting of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Hilton Head, SC, January 22-26

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Solomon, G.T., Duffy, S. and Tarabishy, A. (2002), “The state of entrepreneurship education in the United States: a nationwide survey and analysis”, International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 6586

Solomon, G.T., Weaver, K.M. and Fernald, L.W. Jr (1994), “Pedagogical methods of teaching entrepreneurship: an historical perspective”, Gaming and Simulation, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 6779

Solomon, G.T., Winslow, E.K. and Tarabishy, A. (1998), “Entrepreneurial education in the United States: an empirical review of the past twenty years”, paper presented at a meeting of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) Conference, Singapore

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Vesper, K.H. and Gartner, W.B. (1997), “Measuring progress in entrepreneurship education”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 12, pp. 40321

George Solomon

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