Entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurship competencies and entrepreneurial activities of alumni: A comparison between the engineering and other graduates of Estonian University of Life Sciences
¹Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Economics and Social Sciences,
Kreutzwaldi street1a, EE51006 Tartu, Estonia
²Pennsylvania State University, The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, 207C Armsby building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
³Tartu University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Economics and Business
Administration, J. Liivi street 4, EE50409 Tartu, Estonia
Entrepreneurial mind-set, knowledge and skills to recognise opportunities and implement ideas are vital competences for achieving success in the midst of rapid global changes. The main purpose of the entrepreneurship education is to foster those competencies. The present paper focuses on the role of the university education in developing various entrepreneurship competences, and the share of entrepreneurs among the alumni. The aim is more specifically to examine the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurship competence development in university and the later entrepreneurial activities of the engineering alumni. The analysis is based on a questionnaire survey of alumni entrepreneurship conducted in 2016 as a part of a programme ‘Edu ja Tegu- Development of entrepreneurial education throughout all educational levels’. Chi-square tests, t-tests are used to compare the engineering alumni of Estonian University of Life Sciences with graduates from other fields. The overall share of entrepreneurs among the engineering alumni was 35.6%. The entrepreneurial activities were impacted by the time of graduation. It had also impact of whether the graduates had received entrepreneurship courses during their studies. In comparison with other alumni, the engineering graduates assessed that their university education helped them develop significantly better problem-solving skills, critical thinking, self- evaluation skills, ability to develop new ideas and solutions and leadership skills and obtained significantly less entrepreneurial and financial knowledge during their studies. However, in case of engineering alumni, entrepreneurship education did not have significant impact on their entrepreneurial activities and assessments of competences, thus indicating that other factors are in play.