Entrepreneurship is an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action (European Commission, 2020). The transformative power of entrepreneurship has been widely documented, but only 37% of Europeans aspire to be self-employed compared to 51% of people in the US and China respectively. The European Commission’s initiative promoting entrepreneurship, as summarized in the January 2013 Entrepreneurship Action Plan aims to reignite Europe’s entrepreneurial spirit by educating young people about entrepreneurship, highlighting opportunities for women and other groups, easing administrative requirements and making easier to attract investors. The European Commission (2020) professes that ‘young people still struggle to find jobs but remain more in education and training’. The youth unemployment rate in Spain increased to 30.90% in February from 30.80% in January of 2020. Accordingly, a key action plan in the Spanish Strategy on Social Economy (2017–2020) revolves around the ‘support for employment and entrepreneurship’ (European Commission, 2020).
Over the years, researchers have established a link between entrepreneurship and economic growth and transformation (Audretsch, Horst, & Thurik, 2009; Stoica, Roman, & Rusu, 2020). Due to the positive outcomes associated with entrepreneurial activity, researchers and policymakers alike are motivated in the quest to acquire an in-depth knowledge of entrepreneurial intention. Thus, the relationship between university culture and student’s entrepreneurial intentions needs to be examined (Liñán, Urbano, & Guerrero, 2011).
Entrepreneurship Education (EE) may interact with other factors to generate a more appropriate environment for entrepreneurship or it may have a moderation effect on the influence of other factors (e.g., gender) on the generation of entrepreneurial behavior (Entrialgo & Iglesias, 2016). According to Davidsson (1995), personal factors like age, gender, education, vicarious experience, and experiences of change to a variety of attributes influence conviction and entrepreneurial intentions.
Previous studies have examined student entrepreneurship and the impact of entrepreneurship courses. Universities are required to play an important role in the environment that propels entrepreneurship and boosts students to pursue career alternative. Some researchers have analysed the role played by entrepreneurship education in shaping entrepreneurial intentions of students, (Peterman & Kennedy, 2003; Souitaris, Zerbinati, & Al-Laham, 2007). But the role of universities as provider and enabler of an environment conducive to nurture entrepreneurial intention, leading to new venture creation, has not been studied (Trivedi, 2016). Moreover, despite the proliferation of entrepreneurship courses, literature exploring the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial behavior remains limited (Kraaijenbrink, Groen, and Bos (2010); Lüthje & Franke, 2003). Furthermore, empirical studies exploring university support factors and entrepreneurship promotion among university students are limited (Walter, Auer, & Ritter, 2006). Turker and Selcuk (2009) posited that entrepreneurship education in general and university education in particular play a major role in shaping entrepreneurial intention among students. Kraaijenbrink et al. (2010) proposed that as universities support students in diverse means, it is necessary to understand the effect of such measures and the extent to which they could impact students’ entrepreneurial careers.
Previous studies have provided much needed empirical evidence about entrepreneurial intention among students from various perspectives (Zhang, Duysters, & Cloodt, 2014;Trivedi, 2016). Some researchers argue that entrepreneurial motivation can be nurtured with specific entrepreneurship education (Souitaris et al., 2007) whereas others disagree, questioning whether teaching can propel entrepreneurial motivation (Colette, Hill, & Leitch, 2005).
This paper uses the theory of planned behavior (TPB) proposed by Ajzen (1991) as the basic framework to understand the entrepreneurial intention of students and then modified the same by integrating Attitude Towards Entrepreneurship Education (ATEE) and Role Models or Parental Self-Employment as antecedents of TPB to understand their influence on intention. Previous studies have used and supported the effectiveness of TPB in predicting entrepreneurial intention (Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000; Moriano, Gorgievski, Laguna, Stephan, & Zarafshani, 2012).
From the foregoing, we advance some questions: What are the entrepreneurial intentions among university students? What is the relationship between PSE and ATE and PBC? What is the relationship between ATEE and ATE and PBC? To what extent do the relationships between Males and Females differ? Following Entrialgo and Iglesias (2017), we examine the indirect effect of PSE and ATEE on entrepreneurial intentions with the TPB and also analyse the role of gender in these relationships. Thus, the main objective of this study is to examine the role played by the attitude towards entrepreneurial education (ATEE) and Parental Self-Employment (PSE) in fostering entrepreneurial intention among students.
To test the validity of the model, samples were drawn from students from a university in Catalonia, Spain. According to Liñán, Urbano, and Guerrero (2011) Catalonia has a reputation for having a hard-working population, entrepreneurial spirit, and a dynamic economy.
To our best knowledge, this is a novel approach and may encourage future research in this area. A contribution of this paper is the provision of a better understanding of the role of Entrepreneurship Education and PSE and their impact on entrepreneurial intention. Moreover, the outcomes of this study could be beneficial to policymakers to understand not only the pattern of relationships among intention antecedents but also its implications for interventions and developing entrepreneurial intention. Our paper extends the studies of Trivedi (2016) by introducing Role Model or Parental Self-employment as an additional antecedent of the TPB and gender as a moderating variable.
The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. In the second part, the literature on entrepreneurial intention in line with TPB along with the university environment and support (which we operationalize as Attitude towards Entrepreneurship Education-ATEE) is outlined. The next section provides the methodology. Finally, the results of the study and their practical implications have been provided along with direction for future research and conclusion.