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Chapter 8: Stakeholder Participation in, and Impact Upon, Entrepreneurship Education in the UK
Harry Matlay Introduction Much has been written, in recent years, on entrepreneurship education and related issues. Its topicality as an emerging field of research can be attributed largely to the growing importance that governments, policy-makers and business commentators in both developed and developing countries attach to entrepreneurship as an economic activity. There is a shared perception, amongst a varied and influential group of stakeholders, that entrepreneurship education represents an efficient and cost-effective means of increasing the number and the quality of entrepreneurs entering the economy (Matlay, 2006a). In this context, Dickson and Solomon (2008, p. 240) argue that the unprecedented growth in entrepreneurship education is ‘based on the fundamental assumption that there is a positive relationship between education and the individual’s choice to become an entrepreneur as well as the potential positive outcomes of such activity’. Importantly, however, concerted efforts to empirically prove a positive link between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial outcomes have resulted in inconclusive and sometimes contradictory results (Charney and Libecap, 2003). As Matlay (2008, p. 382) suggests ‘the growing body of empirically rigorous research in this area has so far provided only limited evidence to support the assumption that entrepreneurship education can generate better outcomes at various stages of entrepreneurial activity, from start-up through to exit strategies’. Despite persistent conceptual and contextual problems, entrepreneurship education is now a well-established component of the UK higher education (HE) landscape. Hannon (2006, p. 297) argues that ‘its insertion, but not necessarily its integration, into HE has taken place over a...
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