As part of the InDigiSE Erasmus+ project we would like to recommend you this hypothesis and theory article exploring the relationship between entrepreneurship education and innovation.

‘How Does the Entrepreneurship Education Influence the Students’ Innovation? Testing on the Multiple Mediation Model’

by Xingjian Wei, Xiaolang Liu and Jian Sha

Entrepreneurship education cultivates innovative talents, which are an important driving force for future development. At present, innovation-driven development strategies place new demands on entrepreneurship education. However, most of the current research and discussion in this field focuses on the construction of teaching staff in the entrepreneurial education ecosystem (Ruskovaara and Pihkala, 2015), curriculum development (Falck et al., 2016), and whether entrepreneurship education can influence the Intention of entrepreneurship (Martin et al., 2013Pittaway and Cope, 2016). Based on the theory of social cognitive, the individual traits and environmental of learners greatly influence the realization of entrepreneurship education. In-depth study of the mechanism of entrepreneurship education, which drives innovation and development, can further improve the research on entrepreneurship education (Baum et al., 2001Morris et al., 2013).

Innovation is seen as an internal driver; innovation relates to an entrepreneurial mindset; thus, development of new products or entrance to new markets is the result of entrepreneurship (Miller, 1983Covin and Slevin, 1989). Entrepreneurship education is an important way for entrepreneurs to acquire resources, enhance innovative ability and innovative personality, and build multi-level learning channels for entrepreneurs by integrating various knowledge and value systems. From knowledge learning to skills improvement, entrepreneurship education includes general ability development and improvement of professional ability. Entrepreneurial competence, which is important for success, mainly refers to the ability to identify opportunities and develop the necessary resources and capital (Arthurs and Busenitz, 2006Kettunen et al., 2013), in addition to technical, financial, and legal knowledge (Kuratko, 2005). Considering that entrepreneurship ability is diversified, Bacigalupo et al. (2016) build an entrepreneurial competency framework that includes opportunity identification, entrepreneurial skills that represent “resources,” action areas, and 15 competency lists. Gianesini et al. (2018) compared models and classifications of entrepreneurial abilities, arguing that entrepreneurial abilities consist of personality traits, entrepreneurial knowledge, and skills. The research on entrepreneurial ability is increasingly concerned with relevant knowledge and experience to improve skills and develop potential resources to enhance the innovation.

Entrepreneurship education is concerned with fostering creative skills that can be applied in practices, education, and environments supporting innovation (Binks et al., 2006Gundry et al., 2014). Student entrepreneurs use multi-party interaction to achieve knowledge iteraction in the learning network; the innovation process is the result of interactions among the environment, organization, and entrepreneurs (Anderson et al., 2014). Entrepreneurial ability involves adaptive behaviors and strategies to influence others’ actions in relational contexts (Ferris et al., 2005Tocher et al., 2012), thereby driving innovation and bringing high returns. The entrepreneurship framework by Bacigalupo et al. (2016) considers opportunity identification, entrepreneurial skills, and action as three key areas of entrepreneurial competence. Studies have shown that political skills can help entrepreneurs feel a sense of confidence and control over their work environment. They are likely to be engaged confidently in the dynamics of the environment, and effectively alter attitudes and behaviors to adapt to uncertain conditions (Ferris et al., 2005), with political skills said to explain how individuals recognize opportunities (McAllister et al., 2016). Student entrepreneurs with highly developed political skills can effectively integrate existing resources, accurately identify and interpret social cues from the environment, and gradually become a major force in technology and product innovation. This study selects political skills and entrepreneurial opportunities as mediators to explore how perceived entrepreneurial education influences innovation.

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This publication has been prepared within INDIGISE project. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.