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Chapter 7: Small Business Education in a Grande Nation: Antinomy, Opportunity or Both? A French Grande École’ Case Study
7 Small business education in a grande nation: antinomy, opportunity or both? A French grande école case study Jacqueline Fendt and Sylvain Bureau Introduction Entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as a powerful stimulus for value creation at individual, company and societal levels. Within companies, entrepreneurial action results in product, service, process and administrative innovations (Covin and Miles, 1999; Schumpeter, 1934). From such actions then emerges strategic renewal (Hitt et al., 1999) and different types of value for various stakeholders (Hitt et al., 2001). To society, entrepreneurship contributes such through employment creation (Birley, 1986), technological progress, economic revitalization (Birley, 1986; Zahra, 2005) and cultural change (Gudeman, 1992; Inglehart and Baker, 2000). It is not surprising, therefore, that business schools worldwide are increasingly interested to facilitate their students’ access to this alternative to the classical corporate executive career. Still, entrepreneurship, and more so entrepreneurship education, are relatively young fields of study, dating from the 1950s (Schumpeter, 1953), but reaching serious dimensions from the early 1980s on and until the present day. Over 1600 entrepreneurship programs had been developed worldwide by the year 2000 (Katz, 2003) and the number is increasing. The large majority of the body of research on the subject is Anglo-Saxon, with a crushing US dominance. And what about France? How are we doing in entrepreneurship? Is it (still) true that the French rather pursue managerial and administrative careers, that the French educational system stifles entrepreneurial dynamics, and that the French generally lack entrepreneurial mentality? This study describes a recent experimental...
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