Students’ perceptions and attitudes towards entrepreneurship, a cross- program and cross- cultural comparison
Background: It is definitely crucial to develop a spirit for entrepreneurship amongst young people since new business development supports prosperity of any country on the planet, especially developing ones. Yet, there seems to be a generally prevailing trend for students to pursue corporate careers despite declaring a strong willingness to open a business.
Aim: The purpose of this study is to examine which factors, perceptions and attitudes have the most significant impact on the students’ intention to start up their own company and how it changes according to educational level and study programs across countries.
Methods: The empirical research was conducted on 193 students between 18-40 years old, across 16 nations, who provided answers for the survey on their perceptions of entrepreneurship- related issues. The 24 question survey covered the following areas: demographic data, students actual entrepreneurial experience, motivations, impact of studies and family, attitudes towards entrepreneurship, perceived success factors, best sources of financing and barriers.
Findings: First, it is surprising that an extremely small group of students (9.84%) have their own business, 26.9% works for a corporation, and nearly one in four students already tried to open a firm and failed. The intent to establish a company in the future is declared by 161 students although a greater number of students consider themselves entrepreneurial. Second, my study shows that bachelor students are highly influenced by family when showing entrepreneurial intentions and consider family as the best source of financing future business; master students on the contrary declare not to be influenced by family and indicate EU funds as well as own savings as the best business financing options. Importantly, nearly 80% of students from Western European countries consider entrepreneurial personality as something that can be developed, on the contrary students from the Middle East in almost 70% treat it as an inborn trait. Third, this paper highlights that the most desirable characteristic in an entrepreneur are differently perceived by law students, management students and finance students- being creativity, leadership skills and diversity management skills respectively. Lastly, when starting a company lawyers regard the team as the decisive factor, management students see the window of opportunity as the prerequisite and finance students- the resources.
Value: This paper indicates students’ entrepreneurial intention patterns and suggests the most common perceptions of entrepreneurship by the young generation.
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