How action-oriented entrepreneurship training transforms university students into entrepreneurs: Insights from a qualitative study

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This paper provides insights into how action-oriented entrepreneurship training transforms university students into entrepreneurs. Understanding the process through which students become re-orientated to change their mindsets from expecting to get formal employment to embracing self-hire and actually starting their own businesses is important for motivating researchers and policy-makers to support action-oriented training. We qualitatively explored the effect of STEP (Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion), an action-oriented training program delivered to university students. We conducted seventeen semi-structured interviews with STEP recipients. We applied an inductive approach to the analysis of qualitative data. Findings revealed that transformation occurred through a step-by-step process with participants first experiencing empowerment due to the human and psychological capitals developed during the training. This empowerment coupled with appreciation of entrepreneurship and confirmation of its do-ability motivated recipients to adopt of a new career perspective and ignited in them a commitment to stay the course. We conclude that action-oriented training can transform recipients into real entrepreneurs through empowerment, appreciation, and confirmation of do-ability. The implication is that action-oriented training should be emphasized as an integral aspect of a strategy to address the problem of youth unemployment and general expansion of economic activity. Suggestions for future research are given.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)787-814
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2023

Bibliographical note

We thank the three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. We particularly thank the associate editor, Étienne St-Jean for thoughtful advice. We are also grateful to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for funding this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Journal of the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship/Conseil Canadien de la PME et de l’entrepreneuriat.