Entrepreneurship, Business Motivation and Strategies for Educational Development of Entrepreneurial Behavior: Profile of Portuguese Students of High Education

Monday, 22 July 2013: 1:50 PM

Pedro Miguel Parreira, PhD
Management department, Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Coimbra Nursing School of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Francisco José Costa Pereira, PhD
Management department, Universidade Lusófona, Lisboa, Portugal
Nuno Brito, PhD
Instituto Politécnico de Viana do castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Learning Objective 1: To know the competencies of Portuguese students of high education

Learning Objective 2: To know the four profiles of Portuguese students of high education

Purpose: Within the scope of the largest Portuguese business ideas competition - “Poliempreende”-, this research study aimed to identify the entrepreneurial profile of the Polytechnic Higher Education student.

Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted. An instrument was designed by a panel of experts within the scope of the national program POLIEMPREENDE, which promotes entrepreneurship. It was based on a questionnaire about the motives, the social and environmental influences and the support for the creation of businesses developed by the Society for Associated Researchers on International Entrepreneurship (SARIE) with contributions from theoreticians such as Aldrich, Rozen and Woodward (1987), Baumol (1985), Shapero & Sokol (1982), the business reasons by McClelland (1961), and the studies by Pereira (2001). The nonprobability stratified sample was composed of 6532 undergraduate students of seventeen Portuguese Polytechnic Higher Education institutions from the four years of the degree who were divided into four scientific areas (Health, Technologies, Management, and Social Sciences).  

Results: Results show that 32.4% of students want to be self-employed, 60.9% are highly motivated to engage in an entrepreneurial activity on their own, and 60.0% have concrete ideas to start a business. As for business influences, students reject the influence of Social and Economic Instability, showing that they are poorly prepared to deal with a competitive society and an open market. Most students look for safety in “Availability of Resources, “Having Stable Clients” and “Incentives”. In terms of business motivations, four major groups were found: Idealist Students (37%), Skeptic Students (13%), Students Established in Life (18%) and Disappointed Students (32%).

Conclusion: Students are highly motivated to start their own business, and this motivation grows during the undergraduate degree. However, they are poorly prepared by their undergraduate degrees.Thus, it is urgent to invest in entrepreneurship training through the creation of curricular units and the development of programmes and structures to promote entrepreneurship.