The entrepreneurial middle ground: Higher education entry decisions of aspiring entrepreneurs

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Local Economy, 2015, 30 (5), pp. 503 - 519
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© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. The growing demand for more entrepreneurs has engendered a proliferation of entrepreneurship education programmes, which, in different ways, aim to assist aspiring entrepreneurs ‘learn’ entrepreneurship. Yet, understanding the higher education entry decisions of aspiring entrepreneurs is a veritable research lacuna, which creates fertile ground for investigation. This paper reports on an exploratory study investigating the entry decisions of first-year participants enrolled on a recently launched degree programme employing a team-based, experiential approach to learning. The analysis uses an interpretive frame to explore why aspiring entrepreneurs opt for formal education in place of, or alongside, other learning and career journeys. Findings indicate that some participants opted for a university education as part of a positive compromised decision, reflecting the reticence of these aspiring entrepreneurs to ‘go it alone’ in the world of business. In this sense, such experiential forms of entrepreneurial education may provide a suitable ‘middle ground’ for some aspiring entrepreneurs.
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