Aspiring entrepreneurs on the rise in U.S. universities
Nov 18, 2009
A new Kauffman Foundation study revealed that interest in entrepreneurship among first-year college students is on the rise. Trends in Business Interest Among U.S. College Students bases its findings on data available through the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, which for 40 years has conducted the CIRP Freshman Survey, the most ubiquitous survey of college freshmen in the United States.
The study revealed that, through the 1970s and early to mid-1980s, the numbers of students that listed “business owner or proprietor” as their career of choice trended upward, peaking in 1987 at 3.7 percent. The category then dropped to a low of 2.2 percent in 1993, before beginning an upward climb to 3.6 percent in 2005. In 2008, 3.3 percent of students chose “business owner or proprietor” as their preferred career.
“Colleges have expanded their entrepreneurship course offerings over the last decade, which likely drives some of the increased interest in business ownership,” said E.J. Reedy, manager of Research & Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, who conducted the research with CIRP Director John H. Pryor. “In the current economy, given the trends toward outsourcing and unemployment among youth, we anticipate that young people’s interest in entrepreneurship will continue to advance.”
The study also includes data sorted by race and gender, such as:
•Men have been more likely than women over the last 38 years to consider success in their own businesses as essential or very important. The gap has been narrowing since the mid-1980s, however.
•Over the last 37 years, black students have been more likely than other racial groups to report that entrepreneurial success was essential or very important. Asian and Hispanic students show comparable values, and white students have consistently placed lower importance on this item.
•Students are far more likely to come from a family with a father as a business owner than a mother.
Click here to access the report.
Eric Smith is a member of the Global Planning team for Global Entrepreneurship Week and is based in Washington D.C.