Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that entrepreneurship education can have on entrepreneurial outcomes. The author aims to investigate the perceived influence that various entrepreneurship education courses have had on a cohort of 64 graduate entrepreneurs from eight HEIs in the UK. Design/methodology/approach – Semi‐structured, in‐depth telephone interviews were conducted annually over a ten year period (1997 to 2006) to document, measure and analyse respondent progression from graduation and into entrepreneurship. Findings – Results indicate that graduate needs for entrepreneurship education do 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. Practical implications – 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. Originality/value – This study provides an empirically rigorous insight into a relatively neglected area of entrepreneurship education research. It provides valuable longitudinal data for stakeholders involved in both the supply and the demand side of the entrepreneurship education process.
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 16, 2008
Keywords: Entrepreneurialism; Education; Graduates; Entrepreneurs; Knowledge management; United Kingdom