Handbook on the Entrepreneurial University
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Handbook on the Entrepreneurial University

Edited by Alain Fayolle and Dana T. Redford

This insightful Handbook offers a lens through which to view entrepreneurship strategy for higher education institutions, as it becomes increasingly necessary for universities to consider changing their strategies, culture and practices to become more entrepreneurial.
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Chapter 10: Integrated support for university entrepreneurship from entrepreneurial intent towards behaviour: the case of the German 'EXIST' policy programme

Christine Volkmann and Marc Grünhagen


Traditionally, European universities have pursued tasks other than producing entrepreneurial output, however now entrepreneurial activities are increasingly on the agenda (Wissema, 2009; Hofer and Potter, 2010). Due to this long-ranging non-entrepreneurial tradition of the European university, entrepreneurship, education and research policy-makers often try to spark entrepreneurial spirit in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through external support instruments and policy programmes on the path towards the entrepreneurial university. In this chapter we discuss some ideas with regard to the potential influences of such measures on entrepreneurial intentions and behaviour of university members towards starting and pursuing academic venture projects. In our case study we analyse the German EXIST policy programme (www.exist.de) on the basis of secondary data from recent evaluation reports of the programme (see Becker et al., 2011; Kulicke, 2011; Kulicke et al., 2011). EXIST aims to support and promote start-up creation by faculty as well as students and graduates from German universities. The EXIST programme was first established in 1998 for selected German universities to build an initial entrepreneurial infrastructure for high-technology and knowledge-intensive start-ups. The programme presents an interesting case study as it spans more than ten years from initial steps to introduce elements of entrepreneurship up to the current phase EXIST IV, which aims to develop organization-wide cultures in universities to become entrepreneurial institutions.

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