How to motivate higher education students and graduates to engage in entrepreneurial activity: the case of University of Cyprus
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The current Master’s dissertation aims to develop an understanding of entrepreneurial intent. By analyzing data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the factors which motivate university students and graduates to engage in entrepreneurial activity are identified, focusing on the case of Cyprus. Furthermore, via benchmarking analysis, actions pursued by top universities relating to boosting entrepreneurial intentions and activity are evaluated and compared to the current situation prevailing in the University of Cyprus, which serves as the single largest institution where Cypriots study. Available literature reviewed and data analysis carried out within this Master’s dissertation, indicate that there are specific factors, the existence of which, and the level to which they are present, govern one’s propensity to entrepreneurship. Academic institutions, having realized their important role in cultivating entrepreneurial intent, have incorporated a number of actions and policies to enhance the entrepreneurial activities of students and graduates. Gender, education level and exposure to entrepreneurial activity during childhood, are identified as attributes that signal early-on one’s tendency towards entrepreneurship. Such a tendency is further cultivated through university studies; experiences and knowledge obtained as a student, as well as the existence of an entrepreneurial fostering ecosystem within the university, drives students and graduates to becoming entrepreneurs. The prevailing economic conditions also govern a person’s ultimate decision to become an entrepreneur. These conditions determine the availability of financing for setting up startups, and the availability of jobs – lack of which makes it more likely to start an own business. An individual’s drive to make an impact in the world has also been identified as a significant attribute for pursuing innovative and entrepreneurial activity. Findings analyzed within this Master’s dissertation provide valuable knowledge for individuals, the society and universities on how to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, reaping the benefits stemming from such activity.