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Title: Promoting entrepreneurs and economic growth through entrepreneurship programmes : a new role of Saudi universities
Author: Almahdi, Hassan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 1294
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2015
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a wealthy country but faces multiple economic and social challenges. Economically, the country depends almost entirely on a single natural resource i.e. oil, which will be eventually exhausted. About sixty seven percent of Saudi’s native population is under 30 years of age and about 30 percent of 15-29 years old Saudis are unemployed. The country thus needs to diversify its economy and create job opportunities for its young unemployed population. A way forward in this regard could be supporting and promoting young people to engage in economic and entrepreneur activities, which could be facilitated by entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship has long been considered as a driver of innovation, a generator of employment opportunities and a potential wealth creator for both individuals and organisations. Academic literature supports the belief that with appropriate entrepreneurship education the number of would-be entrepreneurs can be increased. This study investigated the impact of entrepreneurship education programmes (EEPs) on entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions amongst university students in the KSA. The conceptual model tested in this research was based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Based on a quantitative approach, a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to two groups: participants studying entrepreneurship courses as part of their degrees (to be known as EEPs Group) and participants not undertaking any entrepreneurship studies as part of their courses (Control Group). The data collection took place at the beginning of the semester (Pre-test/t1) in April 2010 and at the end of the semester (Post-test/t2) in July 2010. After screening, a final matched sample of 491 completed questionnaires for the EEPs Group and 184 for the Control Group was used for data analysis. The results of this empirical study revealed that the intention to become self-employed was positively and significantly correlated to attitudes regarding self-employment, to subjective norms and to perceived behavioural control. However, for entrepreneurial education, the intention to become self-employed was neither positively nor significantly correlated with new business start-up activities. For policy-makers in KSA, the study provides useful insights into the situation of entrepreneurship education, will aid planners in universities and the KSA government to address unemployment of young by creating greater entrepreneurial awareness, and thus, hopefully, jobs through entrepreneurship activities. This study has confirmed that EEPs has a significant contribution in developing entrepreneurial attitudes among university students. Thus, entrepreneurial skills could be inculcated in the younger Saudi generation early on in their lives by institutionalising enterprising and entrepreneurship knowledge, skills and culture through education and learning starting from the high school level to the university level. In addition, there is a need for changing behaviour and intentions towards, and creating awareness about, entrepreneurship and self-employment among Saudis using different channels of communications such as the electronic media including the social media.
Supervisor: Dickson, K. ; Woods, A. ; Moscone, F. Sponsor: University of Jazan
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Promoting entrepreneurs and economy growth through EEPs ; Entrepreneurial inclinations of undergraduates ; Self-employment intentions of graduates ; Entrepreneurial behaviour of graduates ; Survey of undergraduates in 5 universities