Toronto, July 22, 2014 – From for-credit courses to business incubators, entrepreneurial activity is on the rise in Ontario’s 44 colleges and universities, according to a new study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).
Entrepreneurship majors, minors, concentrations, options and specializations at the graduate, undergraduate and non-degree level are proliferating, say Creso Sá, Andrew Kretz and Kristjan Sigurdson of the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, authors of The State of Entrepreneurship Education in Ontario’s Colleges and Universities. The study was based on information collected from university and college websites and a web-based survey of entrepreneurship education program leaders.
Extracurricular entrepreneurship activities have also increased substantially in recent years — including business incubators and accelerators; student residences, workspaces and mentoring programs emphasizing entrepreneurial behaviour; as well as start-up internships, co-op placements and competitions.
The study found 174 entrepreneurship education courses in Ontario’s colleges and another 114 in its universities. And of the 75 extracurricular entrepreneurship activities currently underway – more than three-quarters are offered by universities.
The three most popular topics for university undergraduate entrepreneurship courses are introduction/principles of entrepreneurship, new venture creation/development and entrepreneurship strategy. For colleges, the three most-offered course topic areas are introduction to/principles of entrepreneurship, business plan development and small business. Most individual courses subsist on annual budgets of less than $1,000, while 10 programs have budgets exceeding $100,000 per year.
For both curricular and extracurricular programs, “imparting entrepreneurship skills and knowledge” and “engendering entrepreneurial attitudes and culture” are very important goals, while “generating revenue for the program or institution” is least important.
The authors note that the vast majority of programs surveyed do not formally define the concept of entrepreneurship, complicating comparability, evaluation and collaboration. However, they anticipate growing demand for new streams of entrepreneurship education funding or for distinction as an entrepreneurial institution.
About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is an agency of the Government of Ontario, established in 2005 to contribute to the improvement of Ontario’s postsecondary education system. HEQCO is mandated to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system and provide policy recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on improving system quality, access and accountability.
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