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Title: Investigating entrepreneurship education in an emerging economy : evidence of technology entrepreneurship in Iran
Author: Farzin, Farnaz
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 1262
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2017
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This research contributes to the understanding of entrepreneurship education and its impact on technology-entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education is important to an emerging economy. In the case of Iran, the country only began offering entrepreneurship education courses in 2008. To gain more insight into the impact of entrepreneurship education, this research has looked at postgraduate level courses at two Iranian universities, (University of Tehran and Payamnoor Birjand). In addition, entrepreneurship classes (delivered as part of continuing professional development) offered at Science and Technology Parks in Tehran and Birjand were also investigated to understand and assess their impact. This is based on their current pedagogical approaches and delivery mechanisms. This research is timely because of the recent lifting of economic sanctions on international trade in April 2015, which is changing the way Iranian entrepreneurs operate. Taking a qualitative research approach, interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholder groups entrepreneurship students, entrepreneurship lecturers, techno­entrepreneurs and government policy-makers to gain in-depth understanding based on their differing perspectives of entrepreneurship education in Iran. Contradicting viewpoints emerged in the data across the range of stakeholders interviewed. This study offers new insight framed around four emergent themes: (1) the practical aspects of entrepreneurship education content and delivery, (2) the support offered by universities and government, (3) the critical (more negative) impacts of sanctions, and (4) the optimistic (more positive) impacts of sanctions on the techno-entrepreneurs in Iran. It was found that entrepreneurship education is currently delivered in a piecemeal way with different experiences being recorded in different institutional settings. In order to inform policies on entrepreneurship education, insight into current provision in Iran has been investigated. One finding was that the literature and case studies in entrepreneurship education courses come from Western sources. From a delivery standpoint there is a lack of interactivity inside the classroom and courses need to move beyond a solely theoretical focused approach to an industry-focused approach that will allow students to better understand the market. In addition, it was found that the lecturers may lack knowledge and practical insight into entrepreneurship. This research reveals that entrepreneurship education could influence students to start new ventures, but this depends on their motivation and desires to attend the course. It is suggested that entrepreneurship classes also need to be linked to specific disciplines such as for students studying science and engineering, putting business knowledge into perspective to encourage intent to start up a business and to teach students how to grow a business. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship classes offered at Science and Technology Parks are assisting some techno-entrepreneurs to commercialise their businesses and gain new business skills whilst others see no impact. From a policy standpoint, the imposed sanctions on international trade have influenced the progress of entrepreneurship, both positively and negatively. It was identified that there is a need to improve policies to support techno­entrepreneurs. The Iranian government realise the importance of entrepreneurship and enterprise towards contributing to the growth of their economy. It is anticipated that entrepreneurship education may help support this goal. It is useful for policy-makers to understand current demands and needs of entrepreneurs in Iran and the limitations of current entrepreneurship education provision. This research proposes a number of recommendations concerning policies to support entrepreneurship education including the need for a more Iran-centric approach to delivering entrepreneurship education. However, it is also proposed that other emerging economies may benefit from this research.
Supervisor: Thomson, Julie C. ; Whittam, Geoff Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available