|dc.description.abstract||There has been an enormous growth in the number of entrepreneurship education (EE)
programmes offered in universities, colleges and business schools globally over the last five
decades, and the trend is accelerating still. This has led researchers to explore how
entrepreneurship can be taught most effectively to students, and a general consensus has been
reached – experiential learning is the superior method for learning entrepreneurship.
Paradoxically, despite this consensus, many entrepreneurship courses in universities do not
utilise any experiential learning methods at all.
This has led me to question whether EE ought to be conducted exclusively within academic
institutions, or if good results can be achieved by programmes run independently of academia.
Many such independent programmes exist, but they are largely overlooked in the academic
literature, leaving potential insights and understanding about such programmes untapped.
To contribute to further understanding of this aspect of the field, this thesis shows the results
of research on Early Stage, an 8-week, independent experiential EE programme offered to
students in Bergen, Norway. By employing the same metric as most academic literature, i.e.
students’ entrepreneurial intent before and after participation in a programme, I show the
quantitative effects of the Early Stage programme on its alumni.
Out of the 41 Early Stage alumni surveyed (out of 45 alumni in total), the mean difference in
students’ entrepreneurial intent after, as compared to before programme attendance, was
+27,6%. These findings indicate that EE programmes can be effective also outside of academic
institutions, which is an understanding that has largely been lacking in the literature until now.
The thesis results hence contribute to filling the research gap concerning independent EE
programmes in the academic literature on entrepreneurship education.
The practical implications of this study and its findings, are a set of recommendations for
entrepreneurship educators, policymakers and other stakeholders with an interest in EE, on
how to set up, design and run effective EE programmes outside and inside university settings.
As such, I aim to indirectly contribute to making high-quality entrepreneurship education even
more ubiquitous and available to more entrepreneurially oriented students going forwards.||nb_NO