Louisiana State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 351-362
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
The question of whether entrepreneurs are made or born is one that has been the subject of many studies in the field of entrepreneurship. Education initiatives in entrepreneurship show a belief in the possibility of developing entrepreneurial skills through appropriate programs. Now, do various programs have different impact on participants propensity to start a business?
The research presented here examine the perception of female participants in the “Women in Business” workshops held in Louisiana State University towards this entrepreneurship training and its ability to provide quality business instruction that will be feasible, desirable, and tailored to meet the needs of female entrepreneurs. We submitted to our attendees a survey in order to evaluate their perception of the direct and indirect impact of the programs. This survey also aims at testing how the characteristics of a gender based program influence its impact and how the impact differs across several cohorts of attendees according the their self-perception. Those comparisons will serve to improve the design of gender specific entrepreneurship training programs.

Of great concern to those offering entrepreneurial training is the connection between intention and behaviour. As psychological literature illustrates, intentions prove to be the best predictor of planned behaviour (Krueger, et al, 2000), and intentions in general depend on perceptions of feasibility (Shapiro, 1982). Entrepreneurial training has been shown to have a positive influence on the perception of a nascent business owner on their ability to be successful (Krueger, et al, 2000), and among female entrepreneurs, performance accomplishments motivate women to start their own businesses (Macoby & Kolvereid, 1996).

Entrepreneurship Education Programs have developed across the nation, and take a broad, system based aim at removing barriers and changing policies which prevent people from accessing proper training, technical assistance, and access to capital (MEDAL, 2007). Public sector venture assistance organizations can also have a negative effect on new venture creations through direct action, e.g., screening out entrepreneurs for management or financial assistance, or indirectly through counseling and training that influence a potential founder’s expectancies (Gatewood, 1993). Empirical findings strongly suggest that successful training requires promoting “perceptions of both feasibility and desirability” (Krueger, et al, 2000). Understanding women’s needs as nascent entrepreneurs seems to be a key element in successful training programs.

This exploratory empirical study compared outcome data obtained from participants in any of the “Women in Business” workshops events held in Louisiana State University between 2006 and 2009 attendance ranged from 38 to 64 for each of these one day long events. We argue that women who perceive themselves as having the necessary skills and knowledge to start their own businesses have a higher likelihood of starting a business than those who do not perceive themselves as being skilled, thus the need is critical not only for the proper training programs for women wanting to start a business but to also understand how the perception of good training is determined.
entrepreneurship, education, research project.