Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether, and in what areas, graduate entrepreneurs are significantly different from non‐graduate entrepreneurs, both generally and in terms of external resources (advice, finance and public procurement contracts). Design/methodology/approach – The available literature was evaluated to identify issues affecting enterprise generally, and external resource access and use and educational attainment specifically. The data used were generated from the 2008 UK Federation of Small Businesses Survey, providing over 8,000 usable responses for this analysis. Quantitative analysis identified significant general characteristics of graduate entrepreneurs compared with non‐graduate entrepreneurs. Factor analysis was then used to identify the sets of advice, finance and public procurement customers of greatest interest, with independent samples t ‐tests used to compare graduate and non‐graduate use thereof. Findings – Graduate entrepreneur‐owned firms were statistically significantly more likely (than non‐graduate‐owned firms) to have younger owners, be younger and more export‐oriented businesses, in high knowledge services, to have intellectual property, make more use of web sites and be of high growth potential. In terms of external resources, graduate‐owned businesses were more likely to have received beneficial business advice from informal networks/trade associations, government business services, friends and family, customers and suppliers, and to have public procurement customers at the national/international level. Originality/value – The study provides important empirical baseline data for future quantitative and qualitative studies focused on the impact of enterprise education specifically.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 8, 2011
Keywords: Graduates; Entrepreneurs; Knowledge management