Entrepreneurial Characteristics in STEM: A Higher Education Institution Perspective
The benefit of entrepreneurship and innovation within the STEM subjects is not in question, with national bodies and academic research, expanding within the topic (RAEng 2015). The existence of entrepreneurship education and support within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is also increasing, although not necessarily within all subject areas (Young 2015). With often limited resources to integrate entrepreneurship education and support into STEM, is there an entrepreneurial characteristic profile that can be targeted? Are these student profiles attracted to certain topics within the STEM arena? By answering these questions, the enterprise resources of HEIs can be better allocated (but not limited to) to those individuals with increased entrepreneurial potential. This paper presents empirical data conducted at Coventry University into the entrepreneurial profiles possessed by students within the Faculty of Engineering and Computing. The data was collected based upon the Gasse et al. (2006) Characteristic Inventory model. The data collected measures eleven characteristics such as internal locus of control, creativity, self-efficacy and risk taking propensity; all of which have significant levels of research surrounding the impact upon entrepreneurial action and intent. The results are compared across a range of samples groups that reflect disciplines within the STEM arena. This data is discussed in the context of specific STEM topics and the potential focusing of enterprise support resources being directed towards these individuals. By targeting these engineering students further, there is a potential economic impact to business and job creation. Comparison is also drawn between the use of the Engineering Councils UK-SPEC Chartered Engineer competencies, as many of the characteristics are mirrored within the entrepreneurial characteristics measured within this research. Improved focus upon the characteristic development in areas such as leadership and tolerance to ambiguity, can be implemented further within engineering curriculum.
Citation : Hill, S (2016) Entrepreneurial Characteristics in STEM: A Higher Education Institution Perspective. European Conference for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE). Held 15-16 September 2016 in Jvaskyla, Finland.
Peer Reviewed : Yes