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Member News: C.C. Eship / NACCE Journal Fall/Winter 2008

Entrepreneurship Education: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Thursday, January 14, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
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By Belinda Kolb, Ph.D., ABD
Manager, Entrepreneurship Program
Business, Agriculture and Technology Division

Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, WY

Are you interested in entrepreneurship research? I would like to share with you a resource that I use regularly: The Handbook of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: The Process of Business Creation, (2004). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, edited by William B. Gartner, Kelly G. Shaver, Nancy M. Carter and Paul D. Reynolds.

This handbook is a robust volume that may benefit those seeking some direction and background for getting a grasp on entrepreneurship research or something more fundamental, such as support for design of a new course or a learning module. The history behind this handbook is quite interesting. Basically the handbook is a collection of research from members of the Entrepreneurship Research Consortium (ERC) who participated in the development of the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED). In 2001 these consortium scholars were invited to submit chapters that represented the primary theoretical viewpoints underlying the strategy for researching the process of business creation.

Condensed history leading to the creation of the ERC and PSED

In 1993, an effort began to create reliable empirical descriptions of the business creation process. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority provided the financing to survey Wisconsin adults screening samples for those who were involved in business creation. Later in 1996, based on this initial success of this methodology largely designed by Charles Palit, Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory, the study was replicated using a representative sample of U.S. households by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. The Entrepreneurial Research Consortium (ERC) grew from this research design to include 120 scholars from 34 entrepreneurial research centers that provided financial support to implement the first Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics (PSED I) in 1998. Additional financial support came from two National Science foundation grants and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with data collection responsibilities eventually being transferred to the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research after the closure of the University of Wisconsin’s Survey Laboratory midway through the project.

In 2004, PSED II was created following improvements in data collection procedures and identification of a new cohort in a different type of economic activity. PSED II was possible through the financial support of again the Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

PSED I and PSED II both created unique data sets that help inform the business creation process and eliminate gaps in understanding of the life course of a business. Both PSED I and PSED II provide longitudinal data that begins with firm conception and tracks start-up efforts until a new firm has been established. This data is fully documented, in the public domain and represents cohorts of nascent entrepreneurs or individuals who are just starting to develop a new business. PSED I and PSED II have made a positive contribution to the creation of measures that can used in future research. The data sets are available at:

Essential contents of the handbook

• Part I: Demographic Characteristics of the Entrepreneur; 10 chapters

• Part II: Cognitive Characteristics of the Entrepreneur; 11 chapters

• Part III: The Start-Up Process; 12 chapters

• Part IV: The Entrepreneurial Environment; 5 chapters

How I use the handbook

1. Expand my current knowledge base about new business creation

2. Increase relevancy of courses and campus resources for student entrepreneurs

3. Improve instructional design of entrepreneurship courses

4. Apply entrepreneurship research to impact student success

5. Identify new uses for existing measures and PSED data sets.


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