Evaluating enterprise education: why do it?

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to argue that evaluations of enterprise education need to develop beyond the economist viewpoint of business start-up and business growth and promote the notion that evaluations of enterprise education should encompass prime pedagogical objectives of enterprise education, enabling students to grow and develop and to shape their own identities in the light of their learning experiences. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper reports on one of the key findings (self identity and the entrepreneur) from a PhD study of 18 case studies/life stories of graduate entrepreneurs and their experiences of enterprise education from one university. Findings ‐ It is found that graduates who start their own businesses are reluctant to call themselves "entrepreneurs"; they question the meaning of the word and its relevance to them and findings suggest that "Entrepreneur" is a label given to them by educators and peers. Research limitations/implications ‐ The present study provides a starting point for further research of evaluating enterprise education, through the lens of students and graduates that have taken/are taking part in accredited and non-accredited enterprise education whilst at university. Originality/value ‐ The study has proven to be useful in improving the format, content and delivery of enterprise education on campus and also the development of appropriate evaluation tools.
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