‘Traditional’ and ‘Innovative’ Potential Entrepreneurs among Portuguese Graduates: A Case Study
AbstractIf youth entrepreneurship is far from being the solution regarding unemployment, it is likely to be part of a response, fostering the access to the labour market, the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills and the social tolerance for risk. Based on the research project "The Entrepreneurial Potentials at the University of Minho", and main results gathered both in quantitative and qualitative approaches (online survey administered to 283 graduates and in-depth interviews with 8 graduates from different scientific areas who finished the course between 2002 and 2008) we intend: 1) to present some reflections regarding the role of higher education to develop the entrepreneurial potential and also understand how activities in an academic context and a political environment (NSRF 2007-2013) may be useful to foster a more favorable atmosphere for innovation and entrepreneurship in the European context; 2) to discuss how academia can (or can not) change the lives of graduates, considering the fact that social capital is crucial to innovative sectors in order to provide intensive knowledge for starting-up a business, and women's options continue to remain anchored in the traditional sexual division of labour, in regard to the two main portraits of entrepreneurial potential identified in our research; 3) and discuss to what extent social capital, gender and the entrepreneurial potential of graduates can be an obstacle to innovation and how higher education contributes towards changing the economic patterns of specialization in Portugal.
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