According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, more than 2,000 US colleges & universities are teaching entrepreneurship. And yet the question “Does entrepreneurship education make a difference?” has not been resolved.
As surprising as it may sound, we don’t really know the effect that entrepreneurship training has on start-up company success. Relatively little research has looked directly at the benefits provided by entrepreneurship education; and the results to date are far from conclusive.
Studies by researchers at the University of Arizona, New York University, and other institutions have found that people who have received entrepreneurship education perform better at running their own businesses. However, these studies don’t necessarily show that entrepreneurship education causes better start-up company performance. The same people who are good at running their own businesses might also be the most interested in studying entrepreneurship, so any relation may be a correlation not causation.
Additionally, a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on entrepreneurship training showed mixed results from several countries and recommended further study.
Here’s what I think. From my observations, the effectiveness of entrepreneurship training depends most on the student and what that student wants to get out of the training. Another good indicator is if the person has paid for the training out of his/her own pocket.
I’m basing these observations on teaching the following
- Entrepreneurship training to high school students with exceptional math & science skills at IMSA (Illinois Math & Science Academy)
- Sales training to sales people & business owners
- Leadership coaching to sales managers & business owners
- Member of the board of advisors for the Illinois SBDC (Small Business Development Center)
What do you think? Does entrepreneurship education make better entrepreneurs? What do you base your opinion on?