Future entrepreneurs: does the field of study matter? A comparison of students in a South African urban environment


South Africa is experiencing high rates of unemployment and poverty, particularly among the youth. Entrepreneurship, and the education of it, is often seen as a solution to this socio-economic issue, yet studies show conflicting results on the impact the field of study has on entrepreneurial intent. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to evaluate and compare the entrepreneurial intention among urban students enrolled for an entrepreneurship qualification versus students who were registered for a non-entrepreneurship related qualification. The article presents quantitative, empirical data collected from 603 students by means of a questionnaire to determine if the field of study has an influence on entrepreneurial intent. The study makes use of descriptive statistics, factor analysis, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin and Bartlett test in order to discover similarities and differences in entrepreneurial intent in students pursuing entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial qualifications. The results reveal that students view entrepreneurship as a valuable career path, regardless of field of study. Both groups hold similar strong positive views and beliefs regarding their intention to pursue this career path. Entrepreneurship students, however, display a marginally higher self-observed personal attitude toward becoming entrepreneurs. Results also show that family support is an important influencer in entrepreneurial intent among students

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