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Entrepreneurship education: alumni perceptions of the role of higher education institutions

Collinson, E. and Carter, Sara (1999) Entrepreneurship education: alumni perceptions of the role of higher education institutions. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 6 (3). pp. 229-239. ISSN 1462-6004

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This paper is concerned with the retrospective per- ceptions of alumni towards the general provision of entrepreneurship education in higher education institutions (HEIs). Whilst many HEIs provide some form of enterprise training for their student population, relatively few have considered extend- ing this provision to their alumni community. In addition to exploring retrospective perceptions, the research sought to ascertain the current level of entrepreneurial behaviour and the future entrepre- neurial ambitions of alumni, and attempted to determine the demand for post-quali®cation entre- preneurship training among HEI alumni. The results are encouraging, in that they demonstrate a keen interest amongst alumni in entrepreneurial activities. The main constraints to setting up in business were perceived to be the generation of a viable idea and the lack of both ®nance and experi- ence. Respondents believed that HEIs should pro- vide a more practical grounding for graduates, speci®cally citing ®nancial management and busi- ness communications skills as key elements missing from the undergraduate curriculum. There was a consensus that HEIs have an important role to play in providing alumni with both formal post- quali®cation training and social support networks to encourage entrepreneurial activity.