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Gender Factor and Entrepreneurial Intention Among Final Year Students of Polytechnic


This study was on gender factor and entrepreneurial intention among final year students of polytechnic. Three objectives were raised which included:  To determine the effect of personal attitudes on entrepreneurial intentions of final year students of Polytechnic, to examine the impact of  supportive norms for innovation on attitude of students to starting a business and to evaluate  how Polytechnic’s innovative culture affects personal values of the students in starting a business. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from selected polytechnic, Akwa Ibom state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).





The attraction for entrepreneurship and the establishment of new ventures has been bolstered by the ongoing rise in global economic uncertainty, staff reductions by government and organizations, and a decline in the number of corporate recruiting experts knowledgeable about budgetary frameworks. Furthermore, the growing discontent and dejection from corporate jobs fueled the attraction of self-employment, particularly for young people. New venture creation and entrepreneurship have been highlighted as creative tools for economies, leading to fruitful growth and progress. They are also recognized as the solution to the problem of widespread unemployment in every country’s economy. (Teixeira and Davey, 2008).

Scholars and decision-makers have focused increasingly on the scientific study of entrepreneurship and how it directly relates to economic development and progress in recent years. It is impossible to overstate the profound effects of entrepreneurship in any economy. (Glinskiene and Petuskiene, 2011).  It is said to be a vital instrument for economic transformation and the stimulation of the global development and also a wealth generator for both individual and the economy at large. The relevance of the students and young people in any economy cannot be underestimated since they are said to be the future and the determinant of economic viability of a nation. Once the young people understand the importance of entrepreneurship and ready to venture into business, the unemployment rate can be reduced and the economy will experience an increase in growth. It is therefore evident that young individuals (students and graduates) who are entrepreneurs or starting a new venture for the first time after graduation constitute an exceptionally vital class for the development of entrepreneurial activities on the national economy level. Thus a positive students’ penchant towards entrepreneurial activities is therefore paramount in anticipating the entrepreneurship feasibility of a country and an interest push for colleges and universities in building a self-employed mentality of the students (Glinskiene and Petuskiene, 2011).

Entrepreneurship scholars generally argue that entrepreneurial behavior is intentional and so best predicted by the measure of intentions of an individual (Bird, 1988). Intentions have been proved to be the best predictors of individual behaviors  particularly when  the behavior  is  rare,  hard  to observe  or involves  unpredictable  time lags  (Krueger and Brazeal, 2014).According to (Ajzen, 1991) an individual’s entrepreneurial intention claims to be a moderate predictor of future entrepreneurial behavior. He defines intentions as “indications of how hard individuals are willing to try, of how much of an effort they are planning to exert, to perform the behavior. Entrepreneurship intention is usually considered to  be  formed  by  a  person’s  attitude  toward  entrepreneurship  and  the  predominant  social  norms  attached  to entrepreneurship in the future (Delmar & Davidsson, 2010). Research on entrepreneurial intentions suggests that having the intentions to engage in entrepreneurial behavior is a strong predictor of actually engaging in entrepreneurial behavior (Kautonen,2015).

Entrepreneurial  intentions  have  gained  significant  attention  as  a  core  construt  in entrepreneurship and are influenced by a variety of factors both internal and external to the entrepreneur. For example, Kolvereid (2015) states that three important elements must be present before any substantial entrepreneurial activity can be expected at the national level: individuals who recognize business opportunities; individuals who have entrepreneurial capacity; and individuals with sufficient motivation to actually pursue an entrepreneurial career option.

Franke and Luthje (2014) revealed that students’ intention to entrepreneurship is also directly influenced by perception towards entrepreneurship enablers and obstacles. Specifically, the more positive students’ perceive the support for entrepreneurship, and then his/her intention would be higher. Research has also argued that entrepreneurial intentions are influenced by entrepreneurial self-efficacy (Zhao et al., 2005), need for achievement, self-confidence and risk taking propensity (Dinis et al., 2013). Ekore (2012) examined the role of psychological factors, especially fear of failure as an entrepreneur, among university graduates, in this case in Nigeria.  Findings confirmed core self-evaluation as influencing fear of entrepreneurship.

Also, Preentrepreneurial  intention,  attitude,  and  capacity  significantly  predicted  fear  of entrepreneurship. The fact that these psychological variables affect the intention to become an entrepreneur, suggests that they need to be considered in the selection, placement, and training of university graduates for entrepreneurship, it is also because these variables play an important role in innovation, creativity, and adjustment to changes which are as inevitable  in  management  as they are in entrepreneurship.  Zain   (2010)  stated  that  intentions  to  become entrepreneurs and their decisions are attributed by the influence from their family members, academics and attending courses on entrepreneurship. Their results also show that out of the two factors: personality traits and environmental, personality traits play an important role in influencing the students’ decision to become entrepreneurs. In addition to personality  traits,  several  additional  individual  difference  variables  have  been  found  to  predict  entrepreneurship.  Demographic factors such as age, sex, education, work experience and role  models have also  been found  to predict entrepreneurial behaviors.

One of the most popular factors that have been the subject of research on entrepreneurial intention is gender. For centuries entrepreneurship has been symbolically attributed to men. It is connected with such traits as initiative taking, relative risk and accomplishment which are traditionally thought to be a domain of men, unlike women, who are attributed such traits as passivity, adaptation and flexibility. As a result female entrepreneurship has to be justified, as femininity and entrepreneurship belong to different imageries (Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio 2014). Despite this women have been trying to act entrepreneurially for about forty years. We can distinguish their actions in three stages. The first one took place before the 1970s, when women moved from a gender neutral position to the male specific position. The second stage took place between the 1970s and early 1990s and was characterized by stereotypical view and as to indication how women are perceived in relation to men. The last stage took place after 1990 and it presented the otherness of female entrepreneurship (Kyrö 2009). Nowadays more than one third of all people involved in entrepreneurial activity are women (Minniti, Allen and Langowitz 2015). Their ventures are no longer connected with housework; more and more frequently they are owners and managers of great ventures. Woman entrepreneurs are increasingly becoming significant contributors to the entrepreneurial growth around the world, opening up economies and creating employment (Ugwu and Ugwu 2012). The main reasons that women start running a business are combined with “push” factors. The most frequently cited are: frustration and boredom in their previous job. Another important factor is the “glass ceiling”, which is an impenetrable barrier that prevents female workers from being promoted in a company’s structure (Buttner and Moore 2007). Unfortunately women in many cases aren’t treated as serious business partners and have to stress their similarities to male entrepreneurs. This shows that issue of gender can be crucial in the entrepreneurial world (Lewis 2013).

 Statement of the Problem                                         

Despite the practice of entrepreneurship education in some Nigerian tertiary institution, many graduates still find it challenging to be self-employed or employed for a long time after graduation. This makes tertiary institution support through entrepreneurship education seems not to be a workable solution to unemployment and job creators. Context observation shows that when there is a lack of adequate support imbibed in the curriculum, graduates seems not to have the requisite knowledge of starting their own business thus they depend on getting jobs from public and private companies of which there are not available in both sectors. This leads to unemployment. Unemployment is a by-product of poor entrepreneurship education which can lead to robbery and theft (Osinbanjo, 2006). Adeguwan, (2015) opined that Nigerian educational system is defective to the extent that the system produces a large army of graduates who are confronted with uncertainty in the labour market. Oyedeji and Salau, (2010) stated that despite increasing emphasis on vocational education for acquisition of occupational skills and competencies, the unemployment rate has continued to soar in Nigeria especially among the graduates. Thus, could it be as results of lack of tertiary institution support on entrepreneurship.

People who lack the knowledge of entrepreneurship education or requisite support from the institutions in which they graduated from tend to be more attracted to white collar jobs in companies rather than having the idea of their own business. A larger percentile of graduates from Nigerian tertiary institution search for job than think of starting a business or creating jobs (Ogundele, 2012). The lack of the nation’s workforce being able to develop business outfits affects the employment rate as it is evident that the government or even multinational companies cannot create jobs for the most populous nation of Nigeria (Ogundele, 2012).

Another basic challenge is the low practical training and innovativeness of Nigeria tertiary institution towards entrepreneurship education. The nature of the study of entrepreneurship in Nigerian Polytechnics are theoretical, the practical aspect is lacking to a great extent due to inadequate equipment availability. The practical side of Polytechnics support suffers a great deal and this affects the technical support that is available for innovation. Students are just taught semantics and slang involved in entrepreneurship and then are left to wander after school. This forms part of the reason why they prefer to depend on white collar jobs after school rather than developing the tendency of starting their own businesses (Ogundele, 2012). Personal characteristics of entrepreneurs are vital to increase SME’s high existence to correct economic dwindling (Karahan & Senol, 2011).

Entrepreneurship is aimed at the overall training of an individual and Polytechnics undergraduates for useful living. To benefit from entrepreneurship, students are trained to acquire skills. However, a clear observation by the researchers in tertiary institutions is that some students have different perceptions of what constitute entrepreneurship challenges. Knowledge of entrepreneurship challenges   especially   as    perceived    by   the Polytechnics undergraduate is necessary for a successful entrepreneurship program.  Some  of  the challenges  may  include  poor  knowledge  based  economy,  lack  of  relevant  materials,  and inadequate  capital  as  well  as  lack  of  proper  understanding  of  the  appropriate  characteristics needed for effective entrepreneurship (Mustapha, Yunusa & Pelemo, 2013). This study therefore intends to evaluate the various ways through which support for entrepreneurship has been created by Polytechnics analyse the relationship between Polytechnics support and student’s entrepreneurial tendency thereby improving students’ tendencies towards starting a business.

Purpose and Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate gender factor and entrepreneurial intention among final year students of Polytechnic. Other specifics objectives of the study are:

  1. To determine the effect of personal attitudes on entrepreneurial intentions of final year students of Polytechnic.
  2. To examine the impact of  supportive norms for innovation on attitude of students to starting a business.
  3. To evaluate  how Polytechnic’s innovative culture affects personal values of the students in starting a business

Research Questions

To achieve the above stated objectives, answers would be provided to the following questions.

To what extent does personal attitude influence entrepreneurial intentions of final year students of Polytechnics?

What is the impact of supportive norms for innovation on attitude of students to starting a business?

How does Polytechnic’s innovative culture affect personal values of the students in starting a business?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses would be tested.

H1: Personal attitude does not influence entrepreneurial intentions of final year students of Polytechnics.

H2: There is no significant impact of supportive norm for innovation on attitude of students to start a business.

H3: Polytechnic’s innovative culture does not affect personal values of the students in starting a business

Significance of the Study

The study of gender factor and entrepreneurial intention among students is hoped to be of benefits to students, entrepreneurs and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. The study also hopes to highlight the problem associated with entrepreneurial intention among final year students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic and to make use of the analysis to improve the skill-set and entrepreneurial attitude required to enable students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to develop careers in enterprise.

The findings in this study will have both theoretical and practical contributions by adding to the existing knowledge on research that has already been done in relation to gender factor and entrepreneurial intention among students.

Scope of the Study

The research work will cover exclusively gender factor and entrepreneurial intention among students.  The research work will be limited to final year students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic.

Operational Definition of Key Terms

Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business, typically a startup company offering an innovative product, process or service. The entrepreneur perceives an opportunity and often exhibits biases in taking the decision to exploit the opportunity.

Supportive Norms for Innovation: Innovation is the key to economic development of any country or company and it should be supported as a means to an advantageous end. Supportive norms for innovation would enable the students to think ahead and be more creative.

Personal Values: These are the set of attitudes of an entrepreneur about the nature of the management process and business in general. The nature of an enterprise, institution and the individuality of an entrepreneur diverge significantly from that of a manager.

Attitude: Attitude is the key of an entrepreneur to beating competition and achieving success. It emphases the acquisition of positive perception, behaviour and attributes to enable students act entrepreneurially.

Gender Factors: This consists of both the male and female entrepreneurs. The sex of an entrepreneur reflects on his or her attitude towards entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial tendencies: Entrepreneurial tendencies are alluded to as qualities that make one individual an entrepreneur and another not an entrepreneur. These are identity qualities and natural powers that shape people’s conduct and decide if they will or won’t take part in entrepreneurial exercises.


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