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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

University-Based Entrepreneurship Centers: How They Address the Learning Needs of Entrepreneurs
by Velentzas, Pantelis G., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 164; 10604118
Abstract (Summary)

Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a significant global activity that helps to transform our economies and inspires public policy. Over the past decades, entrepreneurship education has witnessed phenomenal growth, as many Universities around the world offer a diversified portfolio of entrepreneurship programs, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, executive education certificates, workshops or seminars. More recently, and in response to the increasing global popularity of entrepreneurship, a large number of universities established entrepreneurship centers which coordinate a wide variety of activities, programs and resources under one roof. Nevertheless, the literature consistently expresses doubts about the success of entrepreneurship educational programs and identifies learning gaps between entrepreneurs’ needs and universities’ offerings. The rise of entrepreneurship centers gives us reason to believe that they play an important role in better addressing entrepreneurs’ learning needs, but relevant research is limited. By collecting data from directors of fourteen entrepreneurship centers in the USA and Europe through qualitative interviews, this study aimed at understanding how the centers address the learning needs of entrepreneurs, primarily with regards to educational goals, development of skills, curriculum and instruction. In addition, I have conducted interviews with fourteen entrepreneurs who were either alumni from the centers or alumni from other business schools, and I have learned first-hand details on their learning needs and educational experience. This study has found that the centers address entrepreneurs’ needs through a series of activities which include (a) setting goals and understanding audiences, (b) designing and implementing curriculum and instruction, (c) measuring success. In short, this study has found that entrepreneurial centers accommodate a plethora of activities with the aim to address entrepreneurs learning needs, but they have only superficially assessed entrepreneurs’ learning needs, their decisions about curriculum and instruction approaches are not driven by research or entrepreneurs’ feedback, and their measures of success are not targeted to knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by entrepreneurs; in short, entrepreneurship centers and universities may be meeting entrepreneurs’ learning needs, but it is more a matter of luck than design.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kaminstein, Dana
Commitee: McKee, Annie, Reimers, Candice
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Work-Based Learning Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Entrepreneurship, Business education, Business and Secretarial Schools
Keywords: Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship centers, Entrepreneurship educatrion
Publication Number: 10604118
ISBN: 978-0-355-22268-5
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