The world of business is ever-changing and more so now when the tide is shifting from the conventional setting of knowledge-based start-ups and entrepreneurship to a more skill-based and talent-oriented atmosphere. In the traditional context, starting a business or any enterprise was characterized with acquired knowledge from a higher institution of learning and a significant degree or certificate of further studies proving that a person is equipped to run any form of corporate entity (Hammad 2015). However, with the wave of new technology and the new generation, the academically powered business is no longer the norm. The term millennial refers to individuals aged between eighteen years of age and thirty-five years of age. Generationally speaking, millennials came after generation X (Bhanja, Modi & Glavan 2018). The unique feature about the new generation is that the youth do not succumb to the general stereotypical mindset of attending higher institutions of learning to acquire knowledge about how to start and operate a business.
The new age has gravitated towards acquiring skills, exploring talents and exploiting the necessary resources as a basis for setting up a business. Before understanding the role that millennials play in the modern economies, it is worth noting that the generation has, for the longest time, been stuck in limbo trying to understand the meaning of various perspectives and ways of thinking. The new phenomenon has been theorized as a new world order that will revolutionize how businesses are built and where they originate (Al Saiqal 2015). For example, in the traditional era, companies were defined as the utilization of raw materials to produce finished products, which were then sold to earn profits.
On the other hand, with the new surge of modernization and innovation, the definition has transcended into a new meaning. The scope of definition now lies in the terms ‘enterprise’, ‘entrepreneur,’ and ‘start-ups.’ Unlike the former ways of starting a business, millennials are geared towards generating ideas from any spectrum or field of knowledge and converting the concepts into profitable enterprises through the use of change agents. It is also important to note that millennials innovate ideas without first considering whether the thoughts could generate profits but use the change agents to monetize the concepts. Despite the enthusiasm from the youth to become enterprising and start corporate entities, there is a grey area on how the skills needed can be acquired especially considering the fact that the companies are founded on new age concepts that have not been fully understood.
Education is one of the most significant loopholes on how millennials can utilize the systems to acquire the skills and abilities needed to invent start-ups. In the previous era, traditional University courses, units, and learning perspectives were geared towards generating graduates whose ideological thinking was to get a degree or diploma in a particular field (Goby & Erogul 2011). Most of the previous generational graduates have successfully started businesses that have thrived to become multi-billion dollar businesses or small and medium-sized to sustain their livelihoods. The critical aspect about millennials is that their change in thinking has allowed the generation to articulate that without skills to parallel knowledge, then businesses crumble (Ronald, Makua, Snyman & Machika 2018). To prove this point, eight out of the ten enterprise-based beginners who start-up businesses or enterprises fail within the first year or the second year of operation. Madichie and Gallant (2012) have suggested that underlying factors of entrepreneurial or individual skill in understanding how to run a business is lacking and thus, the enthusiasm of starting a business is quickly countered with the reality that businesses require more than knowledge to keep them afloat. The school of thought is that Universities and other higher learning institutions should reorganize and restructure courses and course materials to suit the current market demand for both knowledge-based and skill-oriented graduates who are equipped to begin start-ups.
A large pool of research has focused on theorizing the best courses that suit millennials and other graduates while pursuing business-based courses in higher learning institutions. Despite the significant contribution to academics in the classes, there remains an unattended objective in comprehending the authenticity and credibility of the attributes that students get while pursuing business-based courses in higher learning institutions (Ryan, Tipu & Zeffane 2011). There is a need to assess whether the characteristics that students gather throughout their tenure in Universities while continuing their courses are relevant and of high-quality in association with start-ups. To better understand the impact, the paper seeks to evaluate various aspects under the topic in question.
The recent arguments raised on whether millennials possess the right skills and knowledge to aid in acclimatizing to the new culture in business has been questioned. The elements about the eagerness of higher learning institutions to alter their structural and reorganization of courses to better equip the graduates with the right skills. In particular, the questions have been significant in the United Arab Emirates where, millennials question the attributes gained from higher learning institutions if they are pertinent to equipping graduates with the right skills (Iqbal, Melhem, and Kokash, 2012). It is estimated that in the United Arab Emirates eight out of ten start-ups fail within the first year of operation and in the second year of service. Some of the factors identified as reasons for failure is the lack of competent skills among millennials to operate start-ups. Currently, the UAE’s main agenda in education is to ensure that education rights are equal and can be reached at all educational levels. The statistics of the number of candidates enrolling to Universities and other higher learning institutions in the UAE has increased 30-fold in recent decades. To ensure that students gain the most in learning in higher institution, the Ministry of Education structured learning into different categories including education and information systems and business sciences (Tong, McCrohan and Erogul, 2012). Despite the increase in the number of students, there are arguments on whether graduates are leaving with the necessary skills to aid them in generating ideas for start-ups and maintaining them for a long duration of time. There is need to assess student attributes aligned with higher institution courses, understand the relevance of the courses in knowledge acquisition on necessary information regarding start-ups as well as understand whether millennials understand the importance of education in business as a platform to start-ups in the country.
2.1. Literature Review
The term ‘start-up’ has been coined using different approaches over the years since its importance gained attention over three decades ago (Wright, Siegel and Mustar, 2017). From a theoretical perspective, a ‘start-up’ can be defined as a company that is invented to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious. Thus, success is not a guarantee (Hammad, 2015). It is clear that the definition of a ‘start-up’ is perceptibly different from a business. In the traditional concept, a business is a venture that is started to exchange goods and services for gaining a profit. The urge to start businesses in the past as well as in the present has been to increase value within a person as well as a community. But, with the increasing problems around the world, it has become evident that there is need to address the issues from a different approach even if it means earning a profit or not (Teberga, Olivia and Kotabe, 2018). Therefore, the term ‘start-up’ came about since it is a trial-and-error concept in entrepreneurship or proprietorship. The older generation has not quickly embraced the idea of start-ups due to the characteristics and ideologies in start-ups. As such, millennials have cozied up against the idea of start-ups and are quick to abandon corporate employment.
Start-ups are typical of a launch pad where they challenge the day to day occurrences of the business world. According to a study on millennials and concept on corporate mindset, it is clear that 9 out of 10 employees wish to leave their positions in the multinational companies and start up their businesses (Bergmann, Hundt & Sternberg, 2016). The philosophy behind this is that start-ups do not require professionals to begin the company and more so, they have flexible working hours. Moreover, start-ups do not need an elaborate team with good experiences to aid in the establishment of process and systems. Therefore, the canvas in beginning a start-up is pure and can transcend to any aspect affecting modern society.
Additionally, the financial backing from high-end investors is profound, and this serves as a great motivator to millennials. Investors are quick to adopt investment strategies for start-ups because it is a business that changes one’s way of thinking and solving problems taking a whole new dimensional thinking-process. Based on research conducted by Battistella, Toni, and Pessot (2017), employers are willing to hire and invest in start-ups since it presents more challenges which millennials gain more skills and exposure of how to work in the real world. However, there is an imminent issue regarding success in start-ups. The instability surrounding start-ups can be challenging especially to beginners who may have a brilliant idea but a poor implementation strategy. It is suggested that beginners are made to take some shock awakening in starting such forms of businesses in a fast-paced business market and environment. Issues about leadership, work-ethics, characteristics ideal for a start-up individual are lacking (Colombelli, Krafft & Vivarelli 2016). Compared to businesses, it is often noted that successful business persons possess some traits including flexibility, innovativeness, creativity, hard-working and risk-taker, to mention a few.
The statistics on the failure of start-ups around the world are alarming, and the main reason for such failures are varied. In the United States of America, it is noted that 20% of start-ups fail in the first year while more than 50% fail within five years of operation (Bosma and Kelly, 2019). In the United Kingdom, the scenario is worse. It is documented that most start-ups are bound to collapse within the first year of operation with at least 50.1% failing within the first three years of service (Bosma & Kelly 2019). The consensus is that 90% of start-ups around the world end up in failure and this mirrors the situation in the United Arab Emirates where the case can be devastating.
Extensive research on why start-ups fail have been detailed. Majority of the studies indicate that the entrepreneur is not aware of the market trends, lack of proper education when it comes to product suitability to the market and fast-paced growth of the company (Zaech & Baldegger 2017). Other aspects include lack of a proper team to acknowledge recovery of business in case of failure, lack of adequate mentorship for successful business initiation and survival as well as the undynamic trends of the market. Little has been done regarding understanding the root cause of the problem when it comes to start-up about millennials. There is a need to acknowledge, discuss and argue on these factors concerning graduate attributes, educational background and whether these will affect the start-up success, especially in the United Arab Emirates.
2.1.1. Graduate Attributes
In the current economic setting, more and more millennials are set to become business-oriented individuals who seek either financial freedom or supplementation of income. Regardless, it is paramount that graduate students possess some form of attributes that will guide them in to starting successful enterprises as well as businesses. Croce, Guerini, and Ughetto, (2018) determine that graduate attributes are crucial to improving the success of start-ups. Most of the qualities that graduates gain are presented in educational formats. It has been acknowledged around the world and especially in developed countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom that graduates should possess specific attributes. Similarly, the UAE government has sanctioned a directive through the Ministry of Education to promptly implement practically applicable courses including those in business (Al Saqail 2015). The strategy is to enhance the skills of the graduates to improve the number of companies in the region as well as maintain the success of the companies for the long term.
The primary attribute for any graduate student is self-efficacy and self-sufficiency. Self-efficacy means the ability to commit and engage in any business venture. Entrepreneurial inclinations indicate that graduate students have to practically apply the skills gained in higher educational institutions to sufficiently become successful in their investments (Lipset 2018). The reason for the emphasis on graduate attributes is to ensure that graduates are equipped with the right knowledge as well as the skills in starting their start-ups and providing that they fall through with the ability to succeed. As such, graduate attributes fall under five categories that are engagement, active, enterprising, inquiry-based and expertise.
Despite a broad spectrum of studies confining to the five concepts of graduate attributes to being necessary to begin a start-up, the aspect of knowledge gain in school is questionable. The blame-game situation has rested upon the ability of the universities to provide adequate skilled graduate who can link their graduate attributes to the successful enterprising skill in beginning a start-up (Golden et al. 2017). It is essential that higher learning institutions provide an elaborate course material that ensures students are more equipped with the article demanding world. Universities and other higher learning institutions are required to possess the right entrepreneurship classes which promote entrepreneurship and leadership among scholars which are pertinent in ensuring that the skills gained are of high quality (Mukhtar 2019). The situation may be differential in different countries including the United Arab Emirates. The reason is that, studies connecting the ability of graduates to use attributes to begin start-up are linked to some start-ups and considerable success in the businesses.
In developed nations such as the United States of America and Europe, the emphasis has been placed on higher learning institutions to couple entrepreneurship courses with leadership courses (Irwansyah & Tripalupi 2019). The intent is to ensure that from a practical standing point, students can visualize and actualize the entrepreneurship within the skills they have learned. As a result, in the United States, more than 290 courses are offered in universities while in the United Kingdom more than 60 entrepreneurship courses are provided whereas, in the UAE there are a handful of classes on entrepreneurship especially those offering women related courses. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2018/2019, the MENA region reports an overall 13% and lower rates in entrepreneurship compared to Africa which exhibits rates of over 20% in entrepreneurship (Bosma & Kelly 2019). However, there are disparities in the statistical outlook. The common misconception is that high-income countries including America and the United Kingdom ought to have the highest rates of start-ups compared to regions such as MENA and Africa as well as Asia. But, according to the GEM 2018/2019 report, this is not the case (Bosma & Kelly 2019). The report indicates that aspects of emphasis on a political level for entrepreneurship and the number of courses offered to students are pertinent to being entrepreneurial. Each economy has its specific needs which should align with aspects of boosting innovation, reducing unemployment, increasing trade and diversification of industries (Rao & Mulloth 2017). All these needs and academic solutions lie in the graduate materials that are released into the job market.
Necessity over opportunity is among the main drivers for entrepreneurship courses in economies including the United Arab Emirates. In more than thirty decades, the current government has instituted entrepreneurship courses that ensure both women and men benefit and more so, the upcoming millennial generation. But the question remains whether the graduate attributes gained from higher learning institutions are equivocal to the needs of the economy. Assessment of the UAE universities including courses offered has never been done (Shirza 2017). The loophole from an academic point of view provides a niche in research which is pivotal to understanding what is lacking for UAE to become a global competitor when it comes to entrepreneurship. Additionally, there is a need to study whether millennials agree with the notion that the relevance of higher education is necessary for start-ups and whether it enforces success in the business sector. The study can be undertaken using a survey with interviews or questionnaires such that the recipients’ responses will be analyzed to produce statistics that either prove the support or lack thereof for higher education in business.
3.1. Research Methodology
Research is a common precursor to the acquisition of knowledge. The process involves the definition and redefinition of problems, formulation of hypothesis and suggests the solution to the common issues (Weber 2017). It is recommended that in any academic research, the basic format entails collection and organizing of data as well as evaluation of data. From this approach, deductions on the acquired data are relevant in making conclusions and consequential recommendations on the research framework. For a student pursuing academic research, it is emphasized that curiosity and inquisitions should be the framework of the study (Kumar 2019). The objective behind this is to fortify a complete understanding of the unknown to generate the known. Therefore, the current paper took a systemic approach to the generalization of the formulation of a solution to the acquisition of data from the sample population and formulated a conclusion.
3.1.2. Research Design
The current paper utilized the qualitative research design to reach its goals and objectives. Qualitative research design focuses on the features, attributes as well as the characteristics of the phenomena that can be interpreted thematically. Qualitative research ranks highest in research as it produces leads and ideas that can be used to formulate a realistic as well as a testable hypothesis (Weber 2017). A theory is comprehensive and ought to be tested to develop an actual thesis of the research. Hence, a qualitative research design ensures flexibility in experimental techniques which entail a variety of accepted methods and structures. However, it should be noted that with qualitative research design, there is no standardized structure. Therefore, a researcher needs careful planning of what and how the research shall look like (Kumar 2019). The reason for this is to limit biasness, open-ended technique as well as staying alert to potential sources of error. Ideally, this eliminates issues of prejudice and sensitivity of data collected.
The qualitative research design used in the present study shall ensure minimal complexities when it comes to evaluating the hypothesis. The reason for using a qualitative research design is to gain more insight into the underlying issues and patterns within the problem investigated. Nonetheless, according to Weber (2017), biasness can be associated with factors on the subject’s vulnerability to producing the correct answers. The extreme to the type of responses generated can question the integrity of the research or the framework of the paper.
The present paper utilizes a qualitative design with an approach to the questionnaire. A questionnaire is a research tool that consists of sets of questions that are used to collect information from the sample population. In most cases, they are closed-ended and open-ended. In the current study, a closed-ended questionnaire is fit for the objectives of the research. As such, the type of survey used is a structured questionnaire (Vannini 2015). The reason for using this type of investigation is to minimize any biasness and eliminate unidirectional answers. The lack of prejudice will provide a concise data analysis and provide a practical understanding of the research objectives. A structured questionnaire is a planned and designed tool that possess specific information. Inherently, it initiates a formal inquiry and supplements data which helps validate the hypothesis.
To properly validate the distribution of questionnaires, a computer-based survey has been used. A computer-based questionnaire is a type of research tool that requires the respondent to answer the questions via email or other outlet mediums. The advantage of the kind of survey is to limit costs and time (Vannini 2015). Therefore, respondents can answer the questions at their leisure with no consistent pressure and can be more accurate. Thus, the research has limited biasness. Nonetheless, the downward issue regarding computer-based questionnaire is that some of the respondents do not guarantee a return-back policy when it comes to the survey and this can jeopardize the planning process of the project.
3.1.3. Research Approach
The chosen methodology for the present paper was qualitative research. The objective behind this is because the project aims at understanding how graduate attributes and how university courses affect the success of start-ups among millennials and other parallel generations (Kaplan 2017). From this premise, the research indicates that it was best to elucidate how to gain the best information from the respondents.
3.2. Primary Research
Primary research is regarded as the methodology in which researchers collect data directly from the respondents. The purpose of fundamental research is to produce authentic and first-hand data, which limits issues of biasness and elimination of any prejudice based on answers provided. In the current paper, the fundamental analysis was the first phase of the collection of data from the respondents (Kaplan 2017). The proactive aspect of the research ensures that the researchers have an idea of the practical understanding of the problem and from this, they can articulate how to recommend a solution. As noted above the current research utilized a questionnaire encompassing some questions revolving around the objectives of the investigation.
3.2.2. Research Methodology
The first steps of the study were to provide a questionnaire suited for the respondents. The answers would determine the data collected and the main objectives of the study. Therefore, the integrity and the truthfulness of the questionnaire was based on the application of a mixed methodology approach. The purpose of designing the survey as such was to ensure that the qualitative analysis was improved on through the responses provided. Therefore, the study was concise and structured. The questions were not complicated and assured that the respondents would not get bored while answering the queries (Kaplan 2017). As such, the questions provided a clear systemic understanding of what the research entailed and how the respondents’ contribution would be necessary.
3.2.3. Questionnaire Design
To ensure that the process of gathering information from the respondents was comfortable and practical, the researcher promoted a research questionnaire design. The design is a multi-step that requires a detailed account of every question. In this process, the designing of the questionnaire was complicated but, it was doable (Kumar 2019). The issues presented in the inquiry were precise to the research objectives and considerate of the assessment of the hypothesis. Below is a representation of the questionnaire submitted to respondents.
The validity of the questionnaire had to be guaranteed to ensure that the questions were ideal for the research and would prove relevant to the research goals of the study. To ensure this, the researcher evaluated the problems with the aid of an expert who understood the aim of the research (Vannini 2015). The evaluation of the issues effectively captured the topic under investigation. To standardize the quality, the expert, as well as the researcher, filled out the problems through a fake-review while scribbling notes. From this, standard errors were deduced and double-checked to limit any confusion by future respondents and leading questions.
The second step entailed the pilot test which is a subset of the population to be used. The recommendation as per the expert was that each participant should be provided with at least twenty questions to answer the questionnaire effectively. The purpose of the pilot test was done to allow the initial participants to notice any weak questions and offer suggestions on ways to improve them in readiness for the actual respondents. Additionally, the pilot study was meant to remove or limit any irrelevant questions from being used in the questionnaire. It was recommended that at least five questions should be eliminated because they were leading the respondents in directional thinking-process which would have made the research biased. A total of ten respondents were used for the pilot study which was a representation of the total sample population to be used. The answers and improved questionnaires would mirror the response and success of the data collection.
The following are some of the questions used:
The subsequent step was the re-drafting of the questionnaire. A lot of changes had to be done to eliminate the factors of biasness, leading the respondents on how to answer the questions. Therefore, the purpose of the third step was to clean the data to remove any error. For instance, the researcher used negatively phrased questions to carefully check whether participants filled out the survey in a reckless manner. The careful consideration of such aspects ensured that there was consistency in how respondents would answer the questions and improve data collection (Kumar 2019). Subsequently, the researcher categorized each issue based on components under the principal component analysis. In this case, the subjects were measured using a Yes or NO scale based on the research objectives. Therefore, the questions had to be aligned with the goals of the research.
Please provide the following as listed below:
Comments from the Researcher: Thank you for your contribution to the present research.
3.2.4. Sampling Design
The purpose of sampling is the generalize the findings of the entire population. The purpose means that the selected community would act as a selective and representative population in which the subgroup chosen would mirror the responses of the whole population. As such, the population has to be large enough to accommodate any validities and limit errors. In this case, the current research is academic research which only reflects the percentage population in higher learning institutions on the research objectives. Therefore, the current project relied on probability sampling in which each respondent used ensures the relationship between the sample and the population is known. The consistency places more confidence to the researcher on the sample representative who can set explicit findings of the research. Hence, according to Kumar (2019) probability, or commonly regarded as random sampling, can assure that measure of errors of estimation or the importance of results obtained is superior to the sampling design. The present study presented the best technique in the acquisition of data from randomly selected respondents of the population.
The current study utilized the simple random sampling method. In this, each member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen. Nonetheless, the process is considered to have limitations with the primary issue being the lack of genuine representation. Thus, the use of small population strata is powerful to mirror society. The sampling method was preferred to instruments including stratified random sampling where a population is divided into smaller homogenous groups, and then random sampling is done. Considering that the present study was an academic one, cost applications limit the study one a larger scale (Kumar 2019). Additionally, the theoretical perspective defines the size of the population. Moreover, sampling methods on proportional stratified random sampling and systematic random sampling were dismissed due to the organization of the community into groups and following sub-groups.
3.2.5. Sample Size
The term refers to the number of respondents that were used in the current investigations to constitute the sample. In this research, a total number of 15 participants were used. The size sample is not as significant due to the type of study conducted which was academic research. Therefore, the example was used to mirror a small population representation based on the objectives of the research in start-up articulation and University graduates. The sample size poses a severe limitation on the validity of the study. The researcher acknowledges it but, should not be used as the basis on evaluating the legitimacy of the present study. The reason is due to budgetary constraints as has been mentioned throughout the paper.
The current paper utilized a qualitative research design. Despite the numerous advantages, some restrictions can place the integrity and validity of the project in a precarious condition or situation. Application of qualitative research design in practicality can be difficult, and therefore, the model has witnessed numerous contradictions on its implications. Thus, issues regarding biasness in research interpretation of the data have been associated with the qualitative analysis. However, it is assured that in the current paper the necessary steps in ensuring that the issues of prejudice from answers gathered, interpretation of the data and conclusion have been done with the highest ethical standards.
The purpose of an online questionnaire does not guarantee that the person answered the questions with utmost honesty and truthfulness. The limitation in addition to understanding the complexity in measuring the qualitative data placed the research in an obstinate situation proving its validity. Furthermore, stress on the reliability of the data was highlighted but, with the elaborate pre-test and testing of the questionnaire ensured that the legitimacy was dependable.
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