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Academic Entrepreneurial Support, Social Capital, and Green Entrepreneurial Intention: Does Psychological Capital Matter for Young Saudi Graduates?

Adel Ghodbane
1,* and
Abdullah Alwehabie
Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Management, Qassim University, Ar Rass 51921, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
Department of Business Administration, College of Business and Economics, Qassim University, Buraydah 52571, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 11827;
Submission received: 28 May 2023 / Revised: 18 July 2023 / Accepted: 26 July 2023 / Published: 1 August 2023
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)


The aim of this paper is to show the crucial role that universities play in preparing future green entrepreneurs, as well as the importance of social capital in ensuring the necessary resources and emotional support to develop a green entrepreneurial intention among young graduates. This paper also seeks to show as well the importance of psychological capital as a variable between the academic support offered by universities and the development of a green entrepreneurial intention, and between the social capital of entrepreneurs and the development of a green entrepreneurial intention. The results of this research show strong support for green entrepreneurship through university programs and courses, which clearly have a positive impact on the intention to create green projects. Similarly, the social capital of recent graduates provides not only the necessary resources, but also moral, emotional, and material support. Moreover, green entrepreneurial intentions depend on the positive psychological capital that can be developed in an individual, which is precisely the feeling of personal efficacy and optimism about success. Thus, psychological capital moderates both the relationship between academic support for entrepreneurship and the intention to create green projects, and also the relationship between the latter variable and entrepreneurial social capital.

1. Introduction

The most important issues today are environmental protection and remediation for future generations [1]. Environmental protection and remediation are deemed to be the most important current issues. This means that energy saving and ecology, recycling, promotion of reuse, and development of the economy are being taken into consideration. Today, entrepreneurial activity is a constantly growing field as recent environmental problems have influenced entrepreneurial activities that are characterized by environmentally strong approaches [2].
Raising awareness of the environment increases the need for environmentally friendly contractors. Limited natural resources, growing world population, and declining biodiversity play a key role in the emergence of green corporations, whose main goal is to ensure sustainable growth through green entrepreneurs who want to create a business model that is economically profitable, environmentally-friendly, and that also creates social value [3].
Green entrepreneurs are important for economic development today. They can reduce unemployment, alleviate poverty, and solve environmental problems [4]. The negative environmental impacts of the current economic system, such as global warming, pollution, depletion of natural resources, ozone depletion, climate change, and other catastrophes caused by the disruption of the ecosystem lead consumers to seek the most environmentally friendly products to protect the environment. This leads to the development of the green market, an emerging market which offers numerous opportunities in all areas, such as green design, green supply chains, and green production of goods and services [5].
When reviewing the literature on entrepreneurship, we notice that few research documents have examined the intentions of students to pursue green entrepreneurship; these include Shook et al. [6]; Krueger et al. [7]; Germon et al. [8]; Almobaireek and Manolova [9]; Douglas and Fitzsimmons [10]; Moriano, Gorgievski, Laguna, Stephan, and Zarafshani [11]; Soomro et al. [12]; Yi [13]. Brzynska et al. [14] and Bogatyreva et al. [15] pointed out that green entrepreneurship is still an unexplored and evolving field, and that little research has focused on green entrepreneurship among university graduates. Therefore, this research was conducted on university students for the following reasons. The main reason is the university’s economic contribution to promoting entrepreneurship and green innovation to find solutions to current global environmental problems.
The Saudi Vision 2030 highlights the environment, the blending of renewable energy and environmental sustainability as an essential element of development that will enable everyone to combat climate change. In 2017, the Kingdom announced the National Renewable Energy Program, introduced King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, and created the Saudi Recycling Investment Corporation (SRIC). In 2018, a Royal Order was issued to establish a Royal Council on Protected Natural Areas, and the National Environment Strategy was released. In 2019, the Kingdom joined the International Solar Alliance, set up the “Green Riyadh” project, and integrated waste management and recycling in the town of Riyadh.
At the beginning of 2020, the Kingdom adopted the Low Carbon Circular Economy Initiative and established the Special Units for Environmental Security and the Energy and Environment Research Fund. In 2021, the “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” initiatives were launched. The government has announced a zero-emission goal by the year 2060. The Kingdom believes that climate change is a challenge for the whole world. For this reason, it has advocated the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, which takes into account the rights and obligations of states, and called on the Kingdom to adopt a circular carbon economy, which is a comprehensive, integrated, inclusive, and realistic approach to emissions management.
This research is part of the current literature on entrepreneurship in a number of ways. First, it tried to grasp the concept of green entrepreneurial intent, which is now a highly demanded research area. Second, the intent of green entrepreneurship was explored by analyzing the impact of academic support and social capital of young graduates on promoting green entrepreneurial intent. No one had previously examined such a combination, focusing on the dual moderating role that young graduates’ psychological capital plays in the relationship between academic and university support and young graduates’ green entrepreneurial intentions, and in the relationship between young graduates’ social capital and young graduates’ formation of green entrepreneurial intentions. This shows that this study makes a unique contribution either in terms of the choice of an emergent theme in the contemporary world or in terms of the relationship between variables.

2. Literature Review and Hypothesis Development

Entrepreneurial intent has embraced the meaning of sustainability. Recently, the concept has been applied to social and environmental concerns and has assumed a number of consequences. For example, some have emphasized “green” activities by “greening” a business or engaging in “green” activities that have a social impact. In this respect, Bennett [16] and Berle [17] pioneered the use of the concept of “green entrepreneur” in their research. According to Galkina and Hultman [18], green entrepreneurship is the creation of new businesses combined with environmentally friendly business practices and values.
Green entrepreneurial initiatives are characterized by two criteria: contribution to the general interest and genuine local impact. Beyond the environmental purpose, the green entrepreneur puts social purpose at the center of their strategy. They also propose to develop short marketing cycles and more sustainable and ecological production methods. The green entrepreneur values knowledge, know-how, and local products. The impact on development is real; it is about supporting local development and creating sustainable jobs [19]. Green entrepreneurship is not only about economic resources in monetary form, but also about the social dimension of sustainability [4].
Green entrepreneurship is a new entrepreneurship that cares for the environment [20]. It is also considered a social entrepreneurship, as it is an innovative social value-adding activity with a non-profit, commercial, or governmental purpose. Furthermore, it provides a platform for innovation, technology adaptation, and job creation, as well as tackling unemployment and environmental issues [21].
According to Wally et al. [22], green entrepreneurs are founders of new commercial enterprises that are inherently green because of the nature of their products or their internal fundamentally green policies and practices.
According to the theory of planned action [23], the more individuals are willing to adopt environmentally friendly entrepreneurial actions, the more likely they are to actually take action [24,25]. The theory of planned action was originally proposed by Fischbein and Aizen [26], and its purpose was to develop the confidence and self-efficacy necessary for people’s intentions to carry out entrepreneurial projects. Additionally, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) sees intent as a powerful behavioral indicator. This means that in our study, students receiving green entrepreneurship support demonstrate a sense of self-efficacy and intention to develop environmentally friendly projects. Student support includes all training activities of the University of Entrepreneurship Development [27].
Henceforth, Entrepreneurship Education develops entrepreneurial intentions [28,29,30]. In this context, Sánchez-Escobedo et al. [31] found that participation in programs that motivate entrepreneurship tends to increase a perceived business opportunity and develop entrepreneurial intent. Thus, according to Reynolds et al. [32], education appears to be an important means of promoting entrepreneurial intentions for a number of reasons. First, education gives individuals a sense of independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence, as well as entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. Second, education promotes awareness of alternative career options. Third, education broadens people’s horizons to better enable them to seize opportunities. Finally, education provides knowledge that people can use to create new opportunities.
The support provided by universities starts with building an entrepreneurial platform based on training and courses, through entrepreneurial incubation and mentoring infrastructure, developing technology platforms, and creating creative spaces to foster green entrepreneurial intentions, as stated by Sieger et al. [33]; Chege and Wang [34]; Ho et al. [35]; Dean and McMullen [36]; and Gobierno de Espana [37].
Entrepreneurship education should focus on reducing the risk of student failure [38]. Entrepreneurship education is about developing entrepreneurial skills and abilities. The results obtained by Do Paço [39] confirm that personal attitudes towards entrepreneurship are the cause of entrepreneurial intentions and that education is a key factor in the development of these attitudes.
On the other hand, educational support is focused on providing compulsory courses or electives and vocational internships in entrepreneurial organizations. It is even linked to the formation of an entrepreneurial career pathway by putting students in contact with real entrepreneurs, which could influence the developmental intention to start an ecological project. The following hypothesis is borne out by this theoretical analysis:
Academic entrepreneurial support has a significant impact on green entrepreneurial intention among young graduates.
Social capital is a concept that is strongly considered as a factor of support and access to scarce resources, according to Uzzi [40]; Molina-Morales et al. [41]; Ghodbane. A and Affes. H [42]; and Williams et al. [43]. Social capital is the set of relationships—formal or informal—that lead to interactions between individuals. In this context, Lin et al. [44] argue that there are “various types of social capital”, namely localized social capital [45], internal and external equity [46], and instrumental equity and organizational equity [47]. Social capital includes the social connections of an individual within the family, professional and social networks, friends, and other known support networks, including investors, prospects, funding structures like bankers, etc. It is an important factor in recognizing entrepreneurial opportunities, creating and developing businesses, and corporate performance [48].
Conforming with Williams, D [49], there are Social Interactions known as “real” interactions that occur between people, and Online Interactions formed via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
Chia and Liang [50] and Hasan et al. [51] found that persons with high social capital were more likely to be dependable, cooperative, and less selfish. According to Sengupta, S and Sahay, A [52], social capital is an important resource in this situation since it gives access to a variety of other resources, including financial, market, and customer information. A student’s social capital in the educational setting is made up of their relationships with friends, family, teachers, and other peers. The features of school cohesion, school friendships, neighborhood social cohesion, and trust have all been used to describe social capital in university contexts in earlier research [53].
Zaremohzzabieh et al. [54] suggested applying the TPB model to build the intent to start a social enterprise project. The results state that social capital could influence the intention for social entrepreneurship through perceived behavioral control. According to this study, we can say that entrepreneurial intention is undoubtedly the result of a sense of entrepreneurial self-efficacy. According to Bandura’s [55] work, individuals learn better when they observe the most effective behaviors in their own environment and inner circle.
Therefore, self-efficacy increases when an individual is in a better position than the group being compared. Similarly, some authors argue that outperforming peers and competitors increases self-efficacy [56]. In the field of entrepreneurship, Turker and Selcuk [57] emphasize that parents in the home environment play an important role in shaping their children’s entrepreneurial attractiveness and feasibility.
Bandura [58] explains that self-efficacy is a person’s ability to achieve an appropriate level of performance by referring to self-confidence. Bandura [58] suggests that to study a particular behavior, self-efficacy must be measured. The dimensions of entrepreneurial self-efficacy refer to the skills and competencies that reinforce the entrepreneur’s sense that he or she is capable of successfully carrying out his or her entrepreneurial activities. The intention to start a green business is a person’s inclination to start an environmentally friendly business, and it relates to personal skills such as self-efficacy [59].
According to De Carolis and Saparito [60], social capital has a greater impact on self-efficacy, perceived desirability, and entrepreneurial intention. In 2007, Wilson, F et al. [61] recapitulated that social networking sites and online social interactions have a great influence on personal skills such as self-efficacy. Thus, social networks play an important role in meeting the needs of individuals to articulate self-efficacy in relation to green entrepreneurship intention. Similarly, based on the research findings of Carayanis and Von Zedtwitz [62], incubation, support, and coaching structures provide moral and material support and guidance to encourage and support green entrepreneurship projects in the start-up phase, which increases the self-efficacy of young promoters. The next assumption is confirmed by this theoretical analysis:
Green entrepreneurial intention among young graduates is positively influenced by entrepreneurs’ social capital.
Luthans and Youssef [63] state that self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resiliency are four psychological traits that define psychological capital, which frequently serves as a generator of positive psychological resources. The first component is self-efficacy, which is the self-confidence of being positive and having the necessary skills to succeed and overcome important challenges [64]. The socio-cognitive theory developed by Bandura [65] was the first to study the feeling of self-efficacy. What is at stake is the ability to mobilize motivation, cognitive resources, and action plans required to complete a task in a certain situation [66].
In this context, and in keeping with Luthans et al. [67], the sense of efficacy can be described through five important cognitive processes: representation, prospective thinking, observation, self-regulation, and self-reflection. These cognitive processes help individuals think about, learn from, and use past successes and failures to improve themselves in the future [68].
Welter, C. and Scrimshire, A. [69] define psychological capital (commonly abbreviated as PsyCap in the organizational behavior and positive psychology literature) as a predisposition to be motivated to succeed [67]. It is a “higher order structure” [70] and a formative structure consisting of four basic elements: hope, self-efficacy, resilience, and optimism [67].
According to Tang et al. [71], the psychological capital of entrepreneurs promotes creative thinking. Hope is one of the four characteristics associated with psychological capital that supports entrepreneurial optimism, the positive thinking that can control negative attitudes, and lead to innovation and risk-taking. This allows entrepreneurs to motivate their employees to adopt socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable practices. The psychological capital of entrepreneurs and their sales teams supports communication and collaboration among stakeholders. In the face of obstacles and disagreements, traits such as optimism, hope, and flexibility help entrepreneurs communicate and collaborate confidently and “engagingly.” Psychological capital helps them to effectively manage their teams, attract competent employees, and encourage socially responsible behavior. Psychological capital helps entrepreneurs make better use of limited resources and ensure sustainability. Optimism is the ability to generate positive energy to achieve greater success in long-term projects. Hope is a positive energy that motivates people to seize every opportunity and fight to achieve a better position among competitors. Flexibility allows people to control their emotional stability and helps them to overcome difficulties. On the other hand, due to entrepreneurship, people with high psychological capital tend to reduce stress in the workplace and contribute to the sustainable development of the enterprise.
Hasan et al. [72] point out that psychological capital surpasses material wealth (our possessions), intellectual wealth (our knowledge and expertise acquired through education and practice), relational wealth (our understanding and the prospects provided by our network of connections), and encompasses four key blends: confidence, positivity, aspiration, and adaptability. The synergistic outcomes of these four components will be more substantial and extensive than any one of them individually. When entrepreneurs are fully confident in their entrepreneurial abilities, they are more likely to have a strong intention to embark on a green entrepreneurial venture [73].
The present research outlines four characteristics of psychological capital which are optimism, self-efficacy, hope, and resilience. The feeling of optimism, in the sense of Cavus and Kapusuz [64], refers to the set of psychological intentions and expectations to achieve the best results that can positively influence people’s mental and physical health. People with high levels of realistic optimism can be grateful and appreciate the factors that contributed to their success [74]. The term “self-efficacité” refers to a person’s confidence in their ability to complete a particular task. It affects the choice of activity and setting, the subject’s commitment to achieving the goals they have set, and the emotional responses they have when they face challenges [55]. The third component is hope, which, according to Luthans and Youssef [63] can be defined as an expectation that gives people “a determination and a will to invest energy” to achieve their objectives. Finally, resilience is positively related to optimism, hope, sense of humor, and perception of social support, while it is negatively related to depression, hopelessness, and feelings of pain [63]. Psychological resilience gives people the emotional strength to deal with trauma and its aftermath. Resilient people use their resources, strengths, and skills to overcome challenges and cope with setbacks [75].
Zaremohzzabieh et al. [54] admit that the Ajzen theory of planned behavior postulates that attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and social norms have a significant impact on entrepreneurial intention. In other words, the more control a person feels over their actions in relation to the goals they are trying to achieve, the more likely their actions will be successful. Since individual behavioral control is closely related to psychological factors, one can argue that perceived psychological capital is a behavioral control. Perceived behavioral control, according to Ajzen [76], refers to how easy or difficult a behavior is seen to be. The concept of feasibility and the impression of behavioral control in TPB are both related to psychological capital [77]. As a result, it can be inferred that young entrepreneurs’ positive psychological capital is highly connected to their ambition to establish a firm. Otherwise, an increase in psychological capital may have a major influence on the desire to start a business [78].
In this regard, suitable interventions, courses, and training might help to build psychological capital [79]. Although there has been little study on the effects of entrepreneurial training on psychological capital as an individual variable, there is clear evidence of the effectiveness of training on the components of psychological capital, especially efficiency and optimism.
Entrepreneurial education, according to Bae et al. [80], increases promoters’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Similarly, Crane [81] states that entrepreneurial education increases individual optimism. This theoretical investigation yields the following hypothesis:
Young graduates’ psychological capital moderates the relationship between academic entrepreneurial support and green entrepreneurial intention.
Self-efficacy is important in enhancing an individual’s confidence in executing and finishing a task, as well as in developing entrepreneurial intentions [82]. Green entrepreneurship intention, awareness, and perceived feasibility are all systematically impacted by self-efficacy behavior. People who have a strong sense of self-efficacy are more likely to overcome obstacles in their enterprises [83], implying that self-efficacy increases entrepreneurial intention [84].
The green entrepreneurship intention is a person’s start to create a new green business project, where personal self-efficacy has a great influence [59]. Social capital helps alleviate feelings of inefficiency in this situation, and people with strong social capital are more trustworthy and cooperative [85]. According to the research, psychological capital, which includes self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience, is equivalent to perceived behavioral control.
The principles of perceived desire and perceived viability served as the foundation for Shapero and Sokol’s [77] development of the Entrepreneurial Event Model (EEM). The EEM claims that perceived allure and high perceived viability, such as self-efficacy, increase the desire to launch a new entrepreneurial venture [86].
However, the multi-dimensional ethics scale (MES) theory is ambiguous about how social factors influence the formation of entrepreneurial intentions. However, attitude, social, and psychological factors can foster green entrepreneurial intentions, according to the TPB and MES theories. Following the work of Wilson et al. [61], social networking platforms can influence a person’s understanding of their personal capabilities and self-efficacy; indeed, they encourage entrepreneurial learning and sharing, the development of entrepreneurial skills, and the formation of relationships with other entrepreneurs. At various phases of business development, social media may increase the chance of success in various ways [87]. Thus, networking has the potential to affect entrepreneurs’ psychological capital. Individuals with poor self-efficacy are unable to cope with unpredictable situations. According to the research, certain approaches to boost a person’s self-confidence through the usage of social networks can solve a person’s lack of financial and informational resources [88]. Thus, social networks increase the individual’s sense of self-efficacy.
From the point of view of Luthans, Youssef et al. [89], psychological capital, manifested in optimism and self-efficacy, clearly proves to be an important trait for entrepreneurs; it provides individuals with the mental strength that enables them to effectively cope with work demands [90]. It helps to manage the stress associated with starting a business. An entrepreneur who has a high level of psychological capital can more easily start an entrepreneurial journey without failures [91]. The following hypothesis emerges from this theoretical analysis:
Psychological capital moderates the relationship between entrepreneurial social capital and green entrepreneurial intention among young graduates.
The conceptual model used in this study is shown in Figure 1.

3. Research Methodology

A quantitative research methodology is employed. We performed some preparation to choose the statistical tests to apply based on the research questions and data before we gathered it, in order to correctly assess the quantitative data in our research.

3.1. Sample

We described the characteristics of the sample using the following variables: sex, age, and qualification. The questionnaire was distributed to all Saudi graduates from all Saudi public universities. The total number of the sample was 458 graduates. In fact, 325 of the graduates were male, representing 71% of the total sample, and 133 were female, representing 29% of the total sample (see Appendix A.1). The 319 graduates were aged between 20 and 25, representing 69.7% of the total number; 31 graduates were aged between 25 and 30, characterizing 6.8% of the total sample; and 38 graduates were aged between 30 and 35, representing 8.3% of the total sample. Meanwhile, 70 graduates were aged over 35, defining 15.3% of the total sample (see Appendix A.2). Likewise, 21 people have a vocational diploma, representing 4.6% of the total sample. Also, 405 people have a bachelor’s degree, at a rate of 88.4% of asked graduates; 16 participants in the questionnaire have a master’s degree, at a rate of 3.5% of the total sample; and 16 people have a doctorate degree, at a rate of 3.5% of the total sample (see Appendix A.3).

3.2. Data Collection and Instrument

Data collection used a Google Forms survey, which took place online on 1 November 2022 until 25 January 2023. Data was collected using a questionnaire that was distributed to Saudi graduates via social media such as WhatsApp and e-mail. For ethical reasons, the questionnaire was applied to students who agreed to participate after reading the statement “We are committed to viewing the information obtained confidentially. It will only be used for research purposes”.
The methodology chosen for this research follows time-tested steps; it begins with the selection of a sample of respondents, recent university graduates, either directly or through the mediation of social networks such as university e-mails, WhatsApp student groups, and graduate students, etc. Then, it determines the structure of the questionnaire and the type of questions to be asked, as well as the means of questionnaire distribution and data collection. In fact, the survey is based on a distributed questionnaire with questions using a Likert Scale with five structured points (Strongly agree = 1, Agree = 2, Undecided = 3, Disagree = 4, Strongly disagree = 5) to offer quantitative response alternatives. This can produce helpful data and substantially facilitate the study of answers. The questionnaire contains four sections. The first section is “Academic entrepreneurial support”, expressed and measured by six items; the second section is entitled “Entrepreneurial social capital”, measured by 11 items. The third section is entitled “Psychological capital“, measured by 12 items. The fourth section is entitled “Green entrepreneurial intention”, measured by five items (see Appendix A.4).

3.3. Data Analysis

The statistical processing program SPSS 27 was used to analyze survey data because it allows for deeper and quicker data exploration, and offers more potent capabilities than traditional spreadsheets, databases, or multidimensional analyst-only systems. We chose SPSS 27 for a number of reasons, including its dependability for data entry, database administration, data processing, and variable coding data analysis techniques like univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis. In a similar vein, SPSS 27 provides more suitable graphics.

4. Results

To explain and predict green entrepreneurial intentions, we proceed in three steps. First, we attempt to show the possible effects of university support, social capital, and perceptions of the moderating effect of psychological capital on entrepreneurial intention. In doing so, we use simple and multiple regression techniques, as appropriate, as well as one-way analyses (ANOVA). We then offer a model of green entrepreneurial ambition that has been supported by students.
The first result of the analysis has a direct impact on the students’ assumption that the fastest 5% reject questionnaires that are more than two standard deviations below the mean. This assumption is based on a violation of the normal distribution of all variables in the development of green entrepreneurial intention. However, the table shows that not all variables are normally distributed. In fact, all normality tests Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk show a significance level of sig < 0.000, thus, rejecting the hypothesis of normality of the distribution of determinants of a green entrepreneurial intention development.
Moreover, the four variables display a skewness towards the right as well as a sharp kurtosis measure, which, like the significant rejection of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov normality test, supports the absence of normality, as shown in the following Figure 2.
We will try below to analyze the intensity of dependence on each of the variables related to the subject: “university support for green entrepreneurship”, “social capital of the entrepreneur”, and “psychological capital” through the development of a green entrepreneurial intention, by resorting to a method of bivariate analysis, that is, the test of correlation of Pearson based essentially on the statistics of chi-square; this test consists of formalizing the symmetrical hypothesis of independence known as zero and testing the result of the test based on the value of chi-square, degree of freedom, and the probability of significance of chi-square. Thus, for the H0 hypothesis, the significance probability of chi-square is low, i.e., less than 10%. In contrast, for the alternative hypothesis, the chi-square value is high and indicates a significant relationship between the variables in question.
The chi-square test shows the existence of a relationship between university support and the development of a green entrepreneurial intention and, therefore, we cannot accept the null hypothesis of independence (p-value = 0.0000), in other words, the existence of a significant relationship at the threshold of 1%. The exact test of Cramer’s V presents a VC value of 0.296 at the threshold of 1% (p < 0.000), as it appears in the following Figure 3:
Table 1 provides the exact test confirms the rejection of the null hypothesis of the absence of moderate strength with a 1% risk. Thus, there is a significant moderate-strength relationship between university support and the development of a green entrepreneurial intention. In the same sense, we find a significant test for the intensity of dependence between social capital and the development of a green entrepreneurial intention (Chi2 = 70.582, p-value = 0.000). The probability of rejecting the null hypothesis of no moderate strength is lower than the threshold of 0.01% (VC = 0.278, p-value = 0.000).
Regarding the “Psychological Capital” criteria, the person test reveals that there is a sizable intensity of dependency on the growth of a green entrepreneurial purpose. A result of 70.582 is displayed by the chi-square test, with a probability of p-value = 0.000. Rejecting the null hypothesis that there is no intermediate intensity has a 0.00% chance of error.

4.1. One-Factor Analysis of Variance

This is one of the most often utilized explanatory and predictive techniques. It is frequently based on the linear fit problem and allows for the testing of the relationship between cause (explanatory variable) and effect (variable to be explained) between two quantitative variables (metrics), whose existence and significance are postulated in the corresponding hypothesis [91]. The simple linear regression analysis determines the coefficients of the straight line equation that minimizes the difference between the observed and fitted ordinates. The results of a regression may be evaluated at three levels using this equation [92,93]. The linear correlation coefficient (R) is used to calculate the strength of the association between the two variables. The same is true for the model’s significance and quality of fit, which are measured by the linear coefficient of determination (R2) and the Fisher–Snedecor test.
Finally, the regression allows for the investigation of the “residuals” by stating the model’s accuracy, that is, the difference between the values predicted by the model and those actually observed.

4.2. The Effects of University Support on the Development of Green Entrepreneurial Intention

Inter-group and intra-group variances are combined to create a variance ratio, which is then multiplied by the corresponding number of degrees of freedom. By doing this, we can produce a Fisher–Snedecor coefficient F with known statistical characteristics. We contrast the computed value of F with its critical value for the corresponding number of degrees of freedom and at a set threshold. The table Fisher–Snedecor provides a value of 8.98 at =0.05 and 2 and 455 degrees of freedom for the reference sample. This figure is substantially lower than the one we calculated. According to the results shown in Table 2, We draw the conclusion that academic entrepreneurial support has a substantially significant influence (F = 46.214, sig. = 0.000) on the formation of a green en-trepreneurial intention.
Thus, academic support for green entrepreneurship has undoubtedly a considerable impact on how individuals develop their intentions to start a green business. Yet, in line with our prediction, when blended with personal psychological capital, programs and courses that foster green entrepreneurship have a large, beneficial impact on students’ intentions to start their own business. This favorable relationship shows that assistance for educational development is crucial for the growth of green entrepreneurship.

4.3. The Effects of Social Capital Support on the Development of Green Entrepreneurial Intention

The one-factor analysis of variance reported in the table below shows a strong relationship between entrepreneurs’ social capital and green entrepreneurial intent. The table Fisher–Snedecor shows an F coefficient of 73.612, which is well above the critical value (F = 8.98, at α = 0.05 and 2 and 455 degrees of freedom). This highlights a highly significant relationship (F = 73.612 and sig. = 0.000) between social capital support and the development of green entrepreneurial intentions. The econometric calculations presented in the following Table 3, show that the social network not only provides access to the resources needed for the desired activity, but also increases the chances of success of the business.

4.4. Moderating Effect of Psychological Capital in the Development of Green Entrepreneurial Intention

First, we will explain the differences in the development of a green entrepreneurial intention caused by the effects of academic support at the university and the support provided by the social capital of young graduates. Second, we will determine the intensity and significance of this relationship. Finally, we will demonstrate the moderating role of psychological capital in predicting the development of green entrepreneurial intention among young graduates. To estimate the joint influence of these variables on green entrepreneurship intention, we conducted a multiple regression, the econometric results of which are presented in the following Table 4.
These show a good multiple correlation (R = 62.1) between “green entrepreneurial intention” and “academic entrepreneurial support”, and “social capital” and “psychological capital.” The adjusted multiple linear coefficient of determination R2 has a very acceptable value of 0.382. The model is of good quality since the three independent variables explain half of the variation in the dependent variable represented in the baseline data. The model’s goodness-of-fit estimate is supported by the Fisher–Snedecor coefficient, which is 94.958 (sig. = 0.000), much above the crucial value shown in the statistical table (F = 12.458 for = 0.05 and 2 and 457 degrees of freedom).
It can be concluded that the goodness-of-fit obtained by multiple regression is significant. As for the interaction of the two variables “Academic entrepreneurial support × psychological capital” and “Social capital × psychological capital”, the contributions of each of these variables lead to a significant improvement in the global explanation of the model. The adjusted linear coefficient of determination R2 shows an increase of 15.1%. The goodness-of-fit of the model is confirmed by an increase in the Fisher–Snedecor F coefficient of 47.537. Thus, a person’s inclination to launch a new green firm is reflected in their intention to do so, which has a significant impact on how they see their own capacity and efficacy.
The variables on academic entrepreneurial support and social capital contribute to regression coefficients of 0.276 and 0.325, respectively. The results of the various econometric tests described above suggest that psychological capital plays a moderating role.

5. Discussion, Conclusions and Limitations

5.1. Discussion

The results show that the relationship between young graduates’ academic support and their intention to start a green business, as well as the relationship between Saudi graduates’ social capital and their intention to start a green business, are both conditioned by the four psychological capital elements, optimism, self-efficacy, hope, and resilience.
This justifies the need for academic support for the development of ecological entrepreneurship intention [31,32,94]. Graduates’ propensity to launch green firms is significantly and favorably influenced by programs and courses that promote green entrepreneurship. Academic support for green entrepreneurship has a big influence on green entrepreneurial intent develops [95]. This advantageous effect is attributable to entrepreneurship training programs, which significantly affect green entrepreneurs’ intentions [96]. The existence of psychological capital affects this positive effect.
By providing them with the mental fortitude to overcome the impacts of business failure or fragility, take the risk, and be more innovative, psychological capital aids young graduates in starting a green firm [97,98,99,100]. Stress levels are lower among young Saudi graduates with good psychological capital. Thus, we believe that a recent graduate with a high level of psychological capital would be better able to recover and handle any circumstances to succeed or recover.
Hence, young graduates’ social capital has a favorable effect on their intentions to start green businesses, but the effect is significantly larger and more substantial when social capital is paired with psychological capital. The link between social capital and the intention to engage in green entrepreneurship is therefore considered to be conditioned by psychological capital. Therefore, the substantial moderating effect of young graduates’ psychological capital may greatly alter the strength of the strong and weak linkages of the entrepreneur’s social capital to influence young graduates’ intentions for starting a green business more firmly. According to our findings, entrepreneurs with greater psychological capital also have more determined intent to pursue green ventures. Young graduates may find green company prospects and start their green entrepreneurial path by combining their psychological capital with their professional, social, and familial links. Their capacity to establish and run a green firm is much improved by these contacts.
The entrepreneur’s social capital can bolster their psychological capabilities. The research has specifically underlined the significance of strong bonds, including support from a family or a spouse, in the shift to business. The formation of green entrepreneurial intent may be impacted at all phases of the entrepreneurial process thanks to the psychological capital’s four sub-dimensions: self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience [101,102].
The benefits of social capital are many, but getting trustworthy finance, exchanging precise information, and transferring implicit knowledge are especially crucial if not necessary for a firm to get off the ground. A new green firm must also have psychological capital, according to De Hoe and Janssen [91]. It is true that having a strong social network helps entrepreneurs set objectives, improve their capacity to deal with challenges, and recover from setbacks with the help of their loved ones.
Thus, it is possible to deduce the development of a green entrepreneurial purpose when the entrepreneur’s social capital is connected to favorable psychological dispositions [103]. In other words, we found that the four psychological capital components, when combined conditionally, impact the ambition to create a green project. This was confirmed by the Person test, which showed a significant intensity of dependence on the development of a green entrepreneurial ambition provided by psychological capital.

5.2. Conclusions

The aim of this study is to diagnose the importance of academic support and social capital among young Saudi graduates in promoting green entrepreneurial intentions to protect the environment. A developed academic training and social support can improve personal attitudes and motivate young graduates to find green project opportunities. The study indicates that young graduates’ belief in their ability to achieve goals and cope with different situations is an important factor in their motivation to take action and their perseverance in achieving their goals. As a result, we have demonstrated that psychological capital has four dimensions: effectiveness, optimism, resilience, and hope. It indicates a person’s level of well-being. It also emphasizes how important it is for company owners to include psychological capital.
The results of the study revealed that social capital characteristics also had a significant impact on the intentions of young Saudi graduates to engage in green entrepreneurship. For entrepreneurs, relational capital is essential to ensure access to the necessary emotional support and resources.
This research methodology also enables us to observe the contribution of psychological capital, which can amplify the contributions of universities and social capital in shaping green entrepreneurship among young Saudi graduates.

5.3. Limitations

Our study presents some limits. Among the most important difficulties that we faced throughout this research, we can mention the low-response questionnaire that was distributed to 11 universities from the public sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The researchers expected more responses to the questionnaire. Also, one of the most important difficulties that we found was the scarcity of the sources and references dealing with this subject, since it covers a new area of scientific research. One of the most significant research obstacles that faced researchers during this study is the lack of available sources and references that represent previous studies. The stage of collecting the scientific material for scientific research is one of the most accurate stages of preparing and writing the research. After the researchers completed the stage of choosing the problem of scientific research in Shari’ah in collecting information and data that are mainly related to the various and reliable sources and references, which are related, in whole or in part, to the topic of the current scientific research, it took researchers a long time to collect these studies.
In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, which we encountered while writing this research, we mention the slow response and sending of responses by the studied sample, but this had no effect on the novelty of the research or its results.

Author Contributions

Methodology, A.A.; Investigation, A.G. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research did not receive any external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Approved by an Institutional Review Board (Permanent Subcommittee on Bioethics). Protocol code 22.06.06, date Monday 3 October 2022.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Appendix A

Appendix A.1. Description of the Sample According to Gender

FrequencyPercentValid PercentCumulative Percent

Appendix A.2. Description of the Sample According to Age

FrequencyPercentValid PercentCumulative Percent

Appendix A.3. Description of the Sample According to Qualification

FrequencyPercentValid PercentCumulative Percent
Master degree163.53.596.5

Appendix A.4. Summary Table of Variable Measurements

Academic entrepreneurial support1. My university offers training in green entrepreneurship
2. My university offers incentives to those with entrepreneurial projects innovating in environmental protection
3. My university organizes conferences/workshops on entrepreneurship in the field of environmental protection
4. My university connects students with entrepreneurs in the field of environmental protection
5. My university offers innovative courses in environmental protection
6. My university motivates students to start an environmentally friendly business
Entrepreneurial social capital1. I consider myself a person with a large number of contacts
2. My contacts are people with a large number of social contacts and acquaintances as well
3. The network of people who provide me with support and advice is very intense
4. I have a network of contacts that provide me with the material support I need.
5. I have a network of contacts who provide me with information on market opportunities
6. The relationships that support me are diverse (family, friends, professionals, entrepreneurs, foundations and associations…)
7. I have strong and diverse social relationships
8. I have enough confidence in the information I receive from my friends.
9. I have benefited from other people’s experiences in spreading business on social media (Facebook), Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
10. I have benefited from other people’s experiences in spreading business on social media (Facebook), Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
11. I share with my friends all the information about green entrepreneurship on Facebook. Twitter, WhatsApp etc.
Psychological capital1. I am convinced that I can successfully launch my own project.
2. I have the self-efficacy to successfully launch my own project
3. I have the desire to succeed and to overcome the difficulties I may encounter in creating my green project
4. I have the energy to create my own project.
5. I have an ambition that allows me to overcome obstacles
6. I have the ability to take on difficult responsibilities
7. I have the optimism and hope to overcome difficulties whenever I face them.
8. I deal positively with problems
9. I have the ability to learn from my failures and build on them in the future
10. When there is a problem, I can find the solution that leads to a good result.
11. I accept perspectives that give me new and more effective solutions
12. I have the ability to ask for help when you need it.
Green entrepreneurial intention1. I want to create a green product in the future
2. I am willing to do anything to be a green entrepreneur.
3. My professional goal is to become an environmentally friendly entrepreneur
4. I will do my best to start and operate my business in the field of environmental protection
5. I am determined to create a green business in the future

Appendix A.5. Questionnaire

The researchers prepared a study entitled “Academic entrepreneurial support, social capital, and green entrepreneurial intention: Does psychological capital matter for young Saudi graduates?”
We are committed to viewing the information obtained confidentially. It will only be used for research purposes.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Personal data
This section aims to recognize some of the social and functional characteristics of graduates in order to analyze the results later, so please respond correctly by placing a scientist () in the appropriate box for your choice.
    Between 20 and 25
    Between 25 and 30
    Between 30 and 35
    More than 35
    Master degree
SentenceStrongly AgreeAgreeUndecidedDisagreeStrongly Disagree
Academic entrepreneurial support
1My university offers training in green entrepreneurship
2My university offers incentives to those with entrepreneurial projects innovating in environmental protection
3My university organizes conferences/workshops on entrepreneurship in the field of environmental protection
4My university connects students with entrepreneurs in the field of environmental protection.
5My university offers innovative courses in environmental protection.
6My university motivates students to start an environmentally friendly business.
Entrepreneurial social capital
1I consider myself a person with a large number of contacts.
2My contacts are people with a large number of social contacts and acquaintances as well.
3The network of people who provide me with support and advice is very intense.
4I have a network of contacts who provide me with the material support I need.
5I have a network of contacts who provide me with information on market opportunities.
6The relationships that support me are diverse (family, friends, professionals, entrepreneurs, foundations, and associations).
7I have strong and diverse social relationships.
8I have enough confidence in the information I receive from my friends.
9I have benefited from other people’s experiences in spreading business on social media (Facebook), Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
10The information posted on modern social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.) contributed to my desire to create a green project
11I share with my friends all the information about green entrepreneurship on Facebook. Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
Psychological capital
1I am convinced that I can successfully launch my own project.
2I have the self-efficacy to successfully launch my own project
3I have the desire to succeed and to overcome the difficulties I may encounter in creating my green project
4I have the energy to create my own project.
5I have an ambition that allows me to overcome obstacles
6I have the ability to take on difficult responsibilities
7I have the optimism and hope to overcome difficulties whenever I face them.
8I deal positively with problems
9I have the ability to learn from my failures and build on them in the future
10When there is a problem, I can find the solution that leads to a good result.
11I accept perspectives that give me new and more effective solutions.
12I have the ability to ask for help when you need it.
Green entrepreneurial intention.
1I want to create a green product in the future.
2I am willing to do anything to be a green entrepreneur.
3My professional goal is to become an environmentally friendly entrepreneur.
4I will do my best to start and operate my business in the field of environmental protection.
5I am determined to create a green business in the future.


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Figure 1. Conceptual framework of the study.
Figure 1. Conceptual framework of the study.
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Figure 2. The results of the symmetry index (skewness) and the flattening index (kurtosis).
Figure 2. The results of the symmetry index (skewness) and the flattening index (kurtosis).
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Figure 3. Test of Cramer’s V.
Figure 3. Test of Cramer’s V.
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Table 1. Result of the dependency intensity test of the development determinants of a green entrepreneurial intention.
Table 1. Result of the dependency intensity test of the development determinants of a green entrepreneurial intention.
Academic Entrepreneurial SupportDevelopment of a Green Entrepreneurial Intention
Chi-Square80.439 ***
Degree of freedom4
Cramer’s V (p-value)0.296 (0.000)
Social capital of the entrepreneurDevelopment of a green entrepreneurial intention
Chi-Square70.582 ***
Degree of freedom4
Cramer’s V (p-value)0.278 (0.000)
Psychological CapitalDevelopment of a green entrepreneurial intention
Chi-Square105.129 ***
Degree of freedom4
Cramer’s V (p-value)0.339 (0.000)
*** means the significance is at the 1% level.
Table 2. Analysis of variance of green entrepreneurial intention versus academic university support.
Table 2. Analysis of variance of green entrepreneurial intention versus academic university support.
Sum of SquaresdfMean SquareFSig.
Between Groups1,466,5722733,28646.2140.000
Within Groups7,219,52445515,867
Table 3. One-factor analysis of variance of green entrepreneurial intention vs. social capital support.
Table 3. One-factor analysis of variance of green entrepreneurial intention vs. social capital support.
Sum of SquaresdfMean SquareFSig.
Between Groups6,699,40923,349,70473.6120.000
Within Groups20,704,69845545,505
Table 4. Estimation results dependent variable: development of a green entrepreneurial intention.
Table 4. Estimation results dependent variable: development of a green entrepreneurial intention.
Academic entrepreneurial support0.2350.0000.2760.000
Social Capital0.0290.5760.3250.002
Psychological Capital0.4660.0000.4780.000
Academic entrepreneurial support × Psychological Capital******0.4570.000
Social Capital × Psychological Capital******0.3110.044
R2 adjusted0.3820.421
Fisher (p-value)94.958
*** means the significance is at the 1% level.
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Ghodbane, A.; Alwehabie, A. Academic Entrepreneurial Support, Social Capital, and Green Entrepreneurial Intention: Does Psychological Capital Matter for Young Saudi Graduates? Sustainability 2023, 15, 11827.

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Ghodbane A, Alwehabie A. Academic Entrepreneurial Support, Social Capital, and Green Entrepreneurial Intention: Does Psychological Capital Matter for Young Saudi Graduates? Sustainability. 2023; 15(15):11827.

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Ghodbane, Adel, and Abdullah Alwehabie. 2023. "Academic Entrepreneurial Support, Social Capital, and Green Entrepreneurial Intention: Does Psychological Capital Matter for Young Saudi Graduates?" Sustainability 15, no. 15: 11827.

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