Entrepreneurship education (EE) is considered vital for economic outcomes such as job creation, new venture creation, and social well-being essential for vibrant, growing communities. The growth in demand for EE is evidenced by increased enrolments in higher education entrepreneurship courses; policy support (e.g. EACEA and G20) and nascent entrepreneurs’ interest in learn entrepreneurship by doing events such as Startup Weekends. Non-profit organisations, such as UP Global, dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, report a hundred per cent growth in Startup Weekend events globally from 100 000 attendees in 2012 to 200 000 in 2013; hosted in 126 countries. The immense growth in courses and events globally, demonstrate strong interest in EE. A growing trend towards action-based approaches lies within the context of dynamic rather than fixed models of entrepreneurship. Action-based approaches provide higher levels of realism in learning experiences and outcomes. A number of authors emphasise the importance of an experiential approach to EE (Laukkannen, Rasmussen and Sorheim, 2006; Sarasvathy & Venkataraman, 2011; Blank, 2013) where nascent entrepreneurs learn through practice and immersive engagement in the entrepreneurial experience, rather than through abstract cognitive processing. This growth and investment in EE has been accompanied by growing scholarly interest in the effectiveness of EE (Martin et al., 2013; Vanevenhoven, 2013). A key concern among authors is the lack of systematic evidence to demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of EE (Volery et al., 2013; Rideout and Gray, 2013; Duval-Couetil, 2013). While a number of scholars have studied entrepreneurial intentions (Peterman and Kennedy, 2003; Zhao et al, 2005; Souitaris et al., 2007) and establishment and performance outcomes (profit, growth, job creation) in evaluating EE, both measures are problematic and do not seem to take account of the dynamic nature of the phenomenon, or draw on the nascent entrepreneur’s voice. In this paper we draw on the voices of nascent entrepreneurs as they share the intensity and outcomes of their Start-Up Weekend (SW) experience; as well as the rich tapestry of learning outcomes from this immersive EE experience. Against this backdrop we ask: 1) What do nascent entrepreneurs learn from the SW experience? 2) What are dominant themes they identify as being crucial to start-up? and 3) How is the emotional rollercoaster of start-up related to task outcomes of the new venture? To answer these questions we explore perceptions of learning outcomes from nascent entrepreneur participation in an action-based entrepreneurship education (EE) intervention – Start-Up Weekend, from their own perspective of the central participant.
2015 Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE) Research Exchange Conference, Adelaide, Australia 3-6 February 2015
2015 Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange Conference Program / pp.12-13