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Examining the entrepreneurial attitudes of US business students

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to examine the entrepreneurial attitudes of undergraduate students enrolled in the Small Business Institute® (SBI) program at multiple universities in the USA. Research has encouraged a continuous study and refinement of the entrepreneurial profile, particularly for young adults. Past studies have linked certain personality constructs and entrepreneurship, and shown a connection between entrepreneurial intentions and past business experience. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A total of 216 students completed the entrepreneurial attitudes orientation (EAO) survey. The EAO provides a composite score based on four attitude subscales: achievement in business; innovation in business; perceived personal control of business outcomes; and perceived self-esteem in business. In addition, participants were asked to provide demographic information and past entrepreneurial experience. Findings ‐ Results indicated that the majority of students possessed entrepreneurial attitudes. Furthermore, both student characteristics and entrepreneurial experience were found to be associated with certain entrepreneurial attitudes. Specifically, male students scored higher on both personal control and innovation, and students with family business experience had more developed entrepreneurial attitudes. Practical implications ‐ The SBI and other similar training/education programs provide the opportunity for direct entrepreneurial exposure. Their ability to impact attitudes toward entrepreneurship provides a venue for career opportunities. Further discussion centers on the relationship between entrepreneurial attitudes and degree of past experience. Originality/value ‐ The paper provides an examination of entrepreneurial attitudes that focuses on both demographics and past experiences for a unique educational program that helps promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

Keywords: Attitudes; Education; Entrepreneurs; Gender; United States of America

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-09-30

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