Graduate entrepreneurship: More than child's play

Hegarty, Cecilia & Jones, Colin (2008) Graduate entrepreneurship: More than child's play. Education + Training, 50(7), pp. 626-637.

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With the unbridled demand for entrepreneurship in higher education, the purpose of this paper is to identify how pedagogy can inhibit students in making the transition to graduate entrepreneurship. Along the way, the concept of what and who is a graduate entrepreneur is challenged.


The paper reports upon the pragmatic development of enterprise programmes in Ireland and Australia. Despite different starting points, a convergence of purpose as to what can be realistically expected of enterprise education has emerged.


This study reinforces the shift away from commercialisation strategies associated with entrepreneurial action towards developing essential life skills as core to any university programme and key to developing entrepreneurial capacity among students. Despite similar government intervention, university policy and student demand for practical-based entrepreneurial learning in both cases, graduates tend not to engage in immediate entrepreneurial action due to the lack of fit between their programme of study and individual resource profiles, suggesting that graduate entrepreneurship is more than child's play.

Practical implications

There are practical implications for educationalists forced to consider the effectiveness of their enterprise teachings, and cautionary evidence for those charged with providing support services for graduates.


Given the evolutionary approaches used at the University of Tasmania to develop students as "reasonable adventurers" and at the University of Ulster to develop "the enterprising mindset" the paper presents evidence of the need to allow students the opportunity to apply entrepreneurial learning to their individual life experiences in order to reasonably venture into entrepreneurial activity.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 92977
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Ireland, Australia, Curriculum Development, Entrepreneurialism, Higher education, HERN
DOI: 10.1108/00400910810909072
ISSN: 0040-0912
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Entrepreneurship (150304)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2016 04:12
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2016 23:46

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