The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Marian V. Jones and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 15: How Entrepreneurial are University Alumni? A Scottish and International Comparison
Jonathan Levie, Wendy Brown and Laura Galloway INTRODUCTION International entrepreneurship is a young ﬁeld with several sub-ﬁelds, including entrepreneurial cross-border activities and ‘research comparing domestic entrepreneurial behavior in multiple countries’ (McDougall and Oviatt, 2000, p. 903). This chapter aims to contribute to the latter sub-ﬁeld of comparative entrepreneurship, with a new study comparing new business activity among university alumni with new business activity of national adult populations. Surveys of university students and of young people in the UK have consistently shown that self-employment or starting and running one’s own business is a desirable career choice for almost half of those sampled (Harrison and Hart, 1992; Curran and Blackburn, 1989; Worcester, 2000; MORI, 1998). To what extent are such intentions translated into action? This question is important for the economic development of a country, given the alleged link between entrepreneurship and national prosperity (Reynolds et al., 2000). It is also important for universities, since it has been posited, at least in the UK, that ‘too few people with innovative ideas and know-how come out of universities … to start growth businesses’ (Department of Trade and Industry, 1998, p. 2.6). It is equally important for entrepreneurship educators, as it could help determine the extent to which entrepreneurship should be taught in universities across faculties, not just in business schools. In this chapter, we regard entrepreneurial activity as the creation of a new business, following the convention of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor research consortium (Reynolds et al., 2000). In this view, becoming...
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