Author:Saji, Beena Salim


The concept of entrepreneurship and innovation is getting far more academic recognition in the recent years and many universities globally have started embracing academic programs and courses in this area. Is entrepreneurship education creating an impact on student attitudes and intentions to pursue self-employment? This is a question that is interesting to both the academia and researchers as well as government and policy makers in different parts of the world engaged in entrepreneurship and innovation arena. Stevenson & Jarillo (1990) defines entrepreneurship as a process by which individuals-either on their own side or inside organizations pursues opportunities without regard to resources that they currently control.

Strategic decision makers at the government level and leadership of United Arab Emirates have made it succinctly clear about the importance of creating more entrepreneurship oriented future generation for the development and sustenance of the country and its economic growth. Globally countries try to establish an enterprise and entrepreneurial culture to keep up with the challenges that globalization brings (OECD, 2006). Drucker (1985) wrote about entrepreneurship like this

"It's not magic, it's not mysterious and it has nothing to do with genes. It's a discipline. And like any other discipline it can be learned".

United Arab Emirates is promoting entrepreneurship in their country to improve self-employment among youth. In many of the universities recently there is specific subject of entrepreneurship and innovation which is mandatory course for all streams of education. In this scenario it is important to measure the effect of entrepreneurship learning and student intentions towards entrepreneurship. New insights into pedagogical improvements can be received through this study which will be useful for curriculum developers, universities and other policy making organizations in UAE. It is interesting to note the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) data on United Arab Emirates in 2016. It states that the following scores on different aspects of entrepreneurship in UAE: perceived opportunity-25.83; perceived capabilities 55.23; fear of failure rate 54.38; entrepreneurial intentions 48.26; female to male TEA (Total early stage entrepreneurship activity)-56.06; motivational index-1.40; female to male opportunity driven-95.4; innovation-26.50 and entrepreneurship as a good career choice-75.10. The current values seem to be higher in entrepreneurship as career choice compared with countries like United States of America, Sweden and India.

Engagement of learners in innovation and entrepreneurship course is hence critical to the country and its leadership. It has been recorded and highlighted in the European conference on entrepreneurship education (2006) that entrepreneurship education must be seen as different from general business and economics education. The importance and relevance of developing personal attributes and skills and its emphasis was acknowledged in that forum. The personal attributes, creativity, sense of intuitiveness, risk taking, autonomy, self-confidence, leadership and teams spirit. At the same time knowledge related to starting a business and business skills in areas related to finance, marketing, HR etc. were also acknowledged.


Most of the studies in entrepreneurship and innovation education in the earlier years in 1970s focused on attributes related to financial and business planning skills. But in the recent years researchers have moved into other areas of entrepreneurship skill and competency requirements related to innovation and entrepreneurship education. A few other studies have focused on the antecedents that create entrepreneurial intention among students to understand the effect of such factors and existence and nonexistence on the program participants of innovation and entrepreneurship program (Fayolle & Gailly, 2015)

Entrepreneurship education should focus on creating precursors of entrepreneurial actions which is entrepreneurial intention among the students (Bird, 1988; Kolvereid, 1996; Krueger & Brazeal, 1994; Krueger, Reilly & Carsrud, 2000). Researchers then started focusing on factors that create entrepreneurship intentions (Souitaris, Zerbinati & Al-Laham, 2007; Wilson, Kickul & Marlino, 2007; Fayolle, Gailly & Lassas-Clerc, 2006; Rotefoss & Kolvereid, 2005). Study done by Lewrick et al., (2011) on entrepreneurship education stated that challenge of transforming a company from start up into real business needs capabilities that go beyond the development of an idea and business plan which is usually the curriculum at university level entrepreneurship programs. In their study of 200 technology driven companies which have been created under a formal business plan competition of 1996 they found that knowledge sharing, understanding complexity of innovations, ability to search and network with venture capitalists and other business and social networks, learning from mistakes, overcoming fear of failure, Creativity, sense of initiativeness, self-confidence, leadership and team spirit are important in entrepreneurship education curriculum which is similar to findings of European conference of entrepreneurship experts (2008). Johannisson (1991) developed five levels of learning in entrepreneurship educations: They are why entrepreneurial act (values and motivation), what needs to be done (knowledge), how to do it (abilities and skills), who should we know (social skills and networks) and finally when to act (experience and intuition).

Some other researchers started focusing on one of these many factors which is entrepreneurial self-efficacy as an antecedent to entrepreneurial intentions among nascent entrepreneurs (Barbosa, Gerhardt & Kickul, 2007; Boyd & Vozikis, 1994; Zhao, Seibert & Hills, 2005).

Di-Masi (2006) states that the role of entrepreneur changes as a business develops and grows and hence it's not just acquiring knowledge and business skills which is important to students. The students should be able to manage the change as the business grows and hence personal attributes are very important in entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurs should have the capabilities to obtain resources for starting a venture (Zeithaml & Rice, 1987).

In these above researches three themes related to entrepreneurship and innovation education emerges. One is related to factors...

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