Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science
Dr. Johnny McGregor
Dr. George Cavender
Dr. Andrew Hurley
According to a survey by ACNielsen International Research, over half of Americans want to start their own business to build wealth and achieve independence (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2011). In the research community, most entrepreneurship education research happens in business schools (Matlay, 2006). As a result of continually researching one form of entrepreneurship, less attention has been paid to other forms contributing to the “definitional obscurity with important consequences for the direction of the field” of entrepreneurship (Baker & Welter, 2017). This has created a need for research on entrepreneurship at the college level in fields outside of business.
Clemson University and the University of Georgia (UGA) are two universities located in the southern United States. Both universities offer entrepreneurship programs and opportunities to students–Clemson with the Spiro Institute and UGA with the Terry College of Business. The decision to compare the universities was made due to UGA’s entrepreneurship program being focused primarily at the university level, whereas Clemson has a focus on entrepreneurship from colleges other than business. The impact of entrepreneurship programs and other factors on student interest in entrepreneurship were investigated. Clemson University had a greater variety of majors involved in entrepreneurship programs and competitions. Most students answered that participating in competitions increased their interest in entrepreneurship but considered a fear of public speaking, coming up with innovative ideas, and a lack of time to devote as challenges to participation. A flyer on campus, an email from the college and/or university, social media, and a representative of the competition coming to speak to a class were the most impactful forms of communication about entrepreneurship competitions. For both universities, faculty mentor support, business mentor support, and coming up with innovative ideas were the most statistically significant influences for those that had not done entrepreneurship competitions
The author participated in a semester-long course that required participation in an entrepreneurship competition. The course and development of the sustainable, nutrient-dense meal bar provided valuable insights into what is required to create a business from instructor-led ideation to pitching a final product. The author found that the work required to develop a business and pitch to judges is not a deterrent and participation in one competition can increase interest in entrepreneurship and future pitch competitions; however, there is value in initially informing students of the time commitment. Educators can use this information to consider tying entrepreneurship competitions into their course curriculum, increasing participation and potentially exposing a greater variety of students to entrepreneurship.
This study was limited by sample size (Clemson n= 200, University of Georgia n= 170), classes visited, and period, therefore additional research with a larger sample, a greater variety of classes, and a longer time frame may yield more conclusive results to help guide future research and applications.
Sharp, Toni, "An Investigation of the Impact of Entrepreneurship Programs on Student Interest in Entrepreneurship Competitions" (2023). All Theses. 4127.
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