Extracurricular university-based Business Plan Competitions [BPCs] assume a popular status in universities globally (Florin et al, 2007; Pittaway et al, 2011; Russell et al, 2008). Such competitions are assumed an entrepreneurial learning tool for those who participate, allowing the development of necessary entrepreneurial competencies (Hegarty, 2006; Russell et al, 2008). This principally attributable to their experiential nature and the opportunities afforded to the participant to engage in entrepreneurial activity within the competition context (McGowan and Cooper, 2008). However we lack appreciation of how learning motivates BPC participation from a participant perspective, notably the particular learning objectives which participants may have before participating and whether these are achieved through their participation. To explore this, the current qualitative paper draws insight from the participants of a regional university based BPC in the North-East of England. Participants were interviewed at the start and end of participation. Such an approach allowed the researcher to depict not only the learning objectives which may have guided their participation, but also capture whether these objectives were achieved through the competition experience. It was found that participants entered the competition perceiving there to be a competency ‘gap’ between the current statuses of their venture and where they wanted and were expected by others to be. The competition participation experience thus enlisted as a means of lessening this gap and gaining the competencies needed to take themselves and their venture forward. Competitors largely felt they had achieved their learning objectives and also appreciated that the competition had allowed the identification of further gaps in their competency base which would need to be addressed. These findings suggest a need to start dialogues with participants about what their learning objectives are so as to devise a means of supporting attainment of these through the competition.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||9th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE 2014) - Belfast|
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …
|Conference||9th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE 2014)|
|Period||1/01/14 → …|