Longitudinal Case Study of the changing Characteristics of Student Entrepreneurs Participating in SPEED Plus at Coventry University

Simon Hill, D. Wick, Elizabeth Miles, Joan Lockyer

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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    Objectives Student Entrepreneurship is a growing field with a high number of institutions globally, aiming to enhance their student’s skills and opportunities. This research has been designed to measure the change in entrepreneurial characteristics within students engaged in Coventry University’s Start Up programme (SPEED-Plus). Focusing on trait theory (Gudeon, 2008), a further enhanced research methodology to measure traits is to be developed. Prior Work Added value to student experience throughout their university careers has been considered essential by “The Wilson Review” (2012), with a focus upon placements, internships and work-based programmes. The SPEED-Plus programme was established in 2006 in order to provide an innovative, action-learning based route for students to develop their own businesses (Rae 2012). The value of SPEED-Plus has been noted in other studies including Woodier (2006, 2007) highlighting the positive impact gained by students on the programme, as well to “identify, nurture and convert potential and existing entrepreneurial spirit into business reality” (Birch and Clements, 2006). The importance of entrepreneurship was also stated in the BIS (2013) review of Enterprise Impact in HE and FE where “engaging young people in activities which help increase awareness of entrepreneurship are vital to increasing those actively starting a business” (BIS, 2013:13). Approach Utilising a 33 forced Likert scale question survey, which has its foundations in the work of Gasse (2000); 11 separate key characteristics discussed within the Trait Theory were measured at the beginning and end of the placement. These characteristics include, Locus of Control (Rotter, 1966), Self Efficacy (Gurol and Atsan 2006), Tolerance to Ambiguity (Jonassen & Grabowski, 1993) and Need for Achievement (McCelland, 1961); amongst others. Building upon the initial pilot of this study, 17 students undertook both the entrance and exit surveys to provide comparison. Results Following the initial pilot of this work in 2013, students were seen to have an increased level of all characteristics over the programme period. From preliminary evaluation of the results, there is a further indication that students engaged in the SPEED-Plus programme have continued this trend. Implications Projects like SPEED-Plus across HEI’s around the world, can be assisted by this work through developing improved methodologies of recognizing their effectiveness, not only from a jobs/business created, but also from a longer term personality perspective. Value The value within this research lies in highlighting the importance of students taking that next step beyond the classroom to actually take their knowledge and apply it within their own business ventures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference - Manchester, United Kingdom
    Duration: 5 Nov 20146 Nov 2014


    ConferenceInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference
    Abbreviated titleISBE Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • Enterprise Education
    • Entrepreneurial Characteristics
    • Higher Education Business Support
    • Business Start Up


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