Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Academic Research in Science, Technology and Engineering
First-Generation College Students in the Israeli Periphery Contending With Challenges in an Entrepreneurship Education Program
Shani Kuna and Ronit Nadiv
In this ethnographic research, we explore the experiences of undergraduate first-generation students in a new academic entrepreneurship education program. Considering the market-oriented turn in academia and given the vast resources spent on entrepreneurship education, a debate has recently emerged regarding the contribution of such programs to students. We conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with a sample of 44 students in a new annual entrepreneurship program in a college in the periphery of Israel. The students perceived a significant gap between their wish to acquire entrepreneurial skills and their self-conception as unwelcome parties in the entrepreneurial domain associated with elite groups. Consequently, these first-generation students reported low entrepreneurial intentions. Our findings indicate that despite their initial enthusiasm about entrepreneurship education, first-generation students experienced challenges that may hamper their chances of success as students as well as young entrepreneurs in the labor market. Although Israel may be known as “the start-up nation,” entrepreneurship education is not readily accepted by all, as it can be perceived as a mechanism that exacerbates rather than alleviates geographical and economic disparities. Our study provides a critical perspective on entrepreneurship education in academic institutions. Practical implications are offered.
Keywords: entrepreneurship education, higher education, first-generation students, challenge.