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Entrepreneural Intentions among FdEWB-students (Maastricht University)

Executive Summary Fostering entrepreneurship has become an important topic for current policy makers of the EU. In order to reach the Lisbon employment rate target in 2010, the EU needs to create some 22 million jobs. With a net employment growth of 0.6 million in 2002, this seems like a difficult task. Entrepreneurship education is thought to be the solution for this urgent need for new jobs. Since the number of European students interested in becoming entrepreneurs is significantly lower than their US counterparts, entrepreneurship education should be further stimulated across Europe. However, to increase the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education, more research is needed to identify the antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions among students. It is important to know what drives a students’ decision towards self-employment. In order to contribute to an improvement of entrepreneurship education in the Netherlands, this thesis explores the influence of students’ personality and participation in entrepreneurship education on their entrepreneurial intentions. The data were collected with a questionnaire among 125 students of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Universiteit Maastricht. The regression results give further evidence for the usefulness of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991) in explaining entrepreneurial intentions. The results confirm the importance of a student’s personality, as measured with proactive personality and willingness to take risks, in the entrepreneurial intentions framework. An even stronger relationship has been recognized for participation in entrepreneurship education. Although it cannot be stated that entrepreneurship education influences a student’s personality, it does attract students with a certain personality. Since an ‘entrepreneurial personality’ increases the ultimate entrepreneurial intentions, entrepreneurship education would be more effective for a certain group of ‘promising’ students. Universiteit Maastricht should attract these students to participate in entrepreneurship education. To achieve this, a thorough expansion of entrepreneurship courses and activities is needed. The image of entrepreneurship as an interesting career alternative should improve and the Universiteit Maastricht should emphasize an ‘entrepreneurial atmosphere’. Furthermore, teachers with an extensive knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship should reveal the ‘right’ students and encourage them to participate in entrepreneurship courses, business plan competitions, etc. Still, further research is needed to fully understand to true influence of entrepreneurship education on personality traits. Can education really influence a student’s personality?

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