Special Issue "Fostering Student Entrepreneurship: Nascent and Active Entrepreneurs in Universities"

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387). This special issue belongs to the section "International Entrepreneurship".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Emilio Paolucci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Production Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Itlay
Interests: entrepreneurship education; academic entrepreneurship; student entrepreneurship; third mission; technology transfer; entrepreneurial ecosystem
Prof. Dr. Giuliano Sansone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Production Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Itlay
Interests: student entrepreneurship; incubators; accelerators; academic spin-offs; social entrepreneurship; student club; entrepreneurial intention
Prof. Dr. Eleonora Fiore
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Itlay
Interests: design entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial education; environmental sustainability; sustainable entrepreneurship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

University students (from any field of study and education level) are becoming more and more interested in entrepreneurship, and some of them are willing to create their own businesses during their studies. Even if several studies have analyzed entrepreneurship education (e.g., Nabi et al., 2017; Fiore et al., 2019; Secundo et al., 2020), entrepreneurial intentions (e.g., Souitaris et al., 2007; Liñán and Fayolle, 2015), and academic entrepreneurship (e.g., Grimaldi et al., 2011; Perkmann et al., 2013; Siegel and Wright, 2015), only a few studies (e.g., Bergmann et al., 2016; Shirokova et al., 2016; Beyhan and Findik, 2018; Wright and Mustar, 2019) have focused their attention on the emergent topic of venture creation by students. However, recent studies explain that ventures created by students are a significant contributor to university entrepreneurship (e.g., Åstebro et al., 2012; Hayter et al., 2017; Wright et al., 2017).

By addressing student entrepreneurship, this Special Issue would like to investigate the entrepreneurial activities carried out by students (bachelors, masters, and PhDs from any field of study) during their university career or soon after graduation. This Special Issue also aims to analyze how the university (through different activities such as entrepreneurship education) may support and foster the venture creation of university students.

We thus address (or refer to) nascent entrepreneurs (i.e., students who are in the process of creating their own businesses) and active entrepreneurs (i.e., students who already own and are running their own businesses) to understand the dynamics that lead students to create their own businesses (e.g., start-ups or academic spin-offs).

This Special Issue aims to contribute to the entrepreneurship literature by better defining, analyzing, and discussing the recent emergent topic of student entrepreneurship in the literature. We hope this Special Issue will improve the knowledge of student entrepreneurship with different perspectives (students, researchers, professors, and all actors from the entrepreneurial ecosystem) in order to improve the quality and quantity of new ventures developed by students and all the support activities linked to them.

Contributions expected are based on the literature review, field experiences of specific programs, qualitative and quantitative analysis of students’ and professors’ feedback and surveys, case studies, and available databases. The call is open to numerous interrelated topics listed as follows, based on research in developed and developing countries:

LR, definitions, theory, framework, future research

  • Literature Review on student entrepreneurship related to the state-of-the-art, definition of student entrepreneurship, differences between academic entrepreneurship and student entrepreneurship, theories, frameworks, and future research on this topic.
  • Is there a need for a new theory on student entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship Education

  • How may entrepreneurship education foster student entrepreneurship through curricular and/or extracurricular programs?
  • How is it possible to create new ventures as part of entrepreneurship education?
  • As suggested by Sansone et al. (2019), is it important to understand the role and impact of teachers of entrepreneurship courses (training effect) on student entrepreneurship?
  • What are the conflicts and anxieties from the mixture of curricular education and new venture establishment and development?
  • What are extracurricular entrepreneurship education activities and how are they able to foster student entrepreneurship? For instance, as suggested by Pittaway et al., (2015) student-led entrepreneurial activities (e.g., student clubs, student-led incubators/accelerators, student-led start-up studios, student-led business idea competitions, student-led pre-incubators/accelerators) are growing worldwide.

Entrepreneurial Intention

  • How does entrepreneurial intention turn into entrepreneurial creation in students?
  • Why do some students interested in entrepreneurship develop start-ups or university spin-offs while others do not?

Sustainable (Social and Environmental) Entrepreneurship

  • What are the differences (if any) between a social/environmental student entrepreneur and student entrepreneur? Are social/environmental student entrepreneurs more motivated than the others?
  • How can we introduce and promote sustainable student entrepreneurship during entrepreneurship education? How does it work in order to obtain student entrepreneurs aimed at sustainability (both social and environmental)?
  • What are the key indicators to assess whether student entrepreneurship is relevant in terms of environmental sustainability? Which are those related to social sustainability?
  • What is sustainable student entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

  • How can different actors and programs of the university entrepreneurial ecosystem (e.g., entrepreneurial programs, incubators, accelerators, science parks, living labs, start-up studios, Fab Labs, student clubs, venture capital, business angels, and corporations) foster student entrepreneurship? How is it possible to measure it?
  • As suggested by Wright et al. (2017), is it important to understand how to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem for student entrepreneurship? What is the role of the university?


  • What are the policies at national level and/or university level on student entrepreneurship and what is their impact?
  • What are the metrics related to student entrepreneurship and how is it possible to apply them to future policy intervention?

Third Mission and Academic Entrepreneurship

  • As suggested by Boh et al. (2016), is it important to understand what the differences are between university spin-offs created by students (student entrepreneurship) and by faculty members (academic entrepreneurship), and how students and faculty can collaborate to create new ventures?
  • How can we deal with the intellectual property right of start-ups and university spin-offs created by students?
  • What are the conflicts over ownership shares and functional roles among co-founders and employees in students entrepreneurship? Consequently, what are the mechanisms and policies to manage and resolve these conflicts?


  • How does design thinking fit into entrepreneurial education programs in order to stimulate venture creation?
  • How could design curricula better address a multidisciplinary entrepreneurial education aimed at venture creation?
  • What evidence is there on the role of design students in student entrepreneurship?

Others suggested topics:

  • What are the support activities and resources (e.g., financial support, co-working spaces, equipment spaces, business plan competitions, hackathons, and mentors) developed by universities in order to foster student entrepreneurship and how are students using them? Moreover, how is it possible to measure the impact of these support activities and resources on student entrepreneurship?
  • Where and how do students develop their start-ups or university spin-offs?
  • Provide some numbers and evidence on student entrepreneurship: how many are there? Who supports them financially? What are the obstacles and opportunities?
  • Provide some successful and unsuccessful examples of start-ups or university spin-offs developed by students.
  • What are the key variables (e.g., gender, age, mindset, social norms, knowledge, experience, culture, country, ecosystem, educational level, field of study, average grades) in order to create and develop student start-ups or university spin-offs?
  • What are the differences (if any) between start-ups or university spin-offs based on technology developed by students and start-ups or university spin-offs not based on technology developed by students?

We are looking forward to reading your studies,

Prof. Dr. Emilio Paolucci
Prof. Dr. Giuliano Sansone
Prof. Dr. Eleonora Fiore
Guest Editors


Åstebro, T., Bazzazian, N. and Braguinsky, S. 2012. Startups by recent graduates and their faculty: Implications for university entrepreneurship policy. Research Policy, 41, p.663-677.

Bergmann, H., Hundt, C. and Sternberg, R. 2016. What makes student entrepreneurs? On the relevance (and irrelevance) of the university and the regional context for student start-ups. Small Business Economics, 30(5), p.334-343.

Beyhan, B. and Findik, D. 2018. Student and graduate entrepreneurship: ambidextrous universities create more nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Technology Transfer, 43(5), p.1346-1374

Boh, W.F., De-Haan, U. and Strom, R. 2016. University technology transfer through entrepreneurship: faculty and students in spinoffs. Journal of Technology Transfer, 41(4), p.661-669.

Fiore, E., Sansone, G., & Paolucci, E. (2019). Entrepreneurship education in a multidisciplinary environment: evidence from an entrepreneurship programme held in Turin. Administrative Sciences, 9(1), 28.

Grimaldi, R., Kenney, M., Siegel, D. S., & Wright, M. (2011). 30 years after Bayh–Dole: Reassessing academic entrepreneurship. Research policy, 40(8), 1045-1057.

Hayter, C.S., Lubynsky, R. and Maroulis, S. 2017. Who is the academic entrepreneur? The role of graduate students in the development of university spinoffs. Journal of Technology Transfer, 42(6), p.1237-1254.

Liñán, F., & Fayolle, A. (2015). A systematic literature review on entrepreneurial intentions: citation, thematic analyses, and research agenda. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 11(4), 907-933.

Nabi, G., Liñán, F., Fayolle, A., Krueger, N., & Walmsley, A. (2017). The impact of entrepreneurship education in higher education: A systematic review and research agenda. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 16(2), 277-299.

Perkmann, M., Tartari, V., McKelvey, M., Autio, E., Broström, A., D’Este, P., ... & Krabel, S. (2013). Academic engagement and commercialisation: A review of the literature on university–industry relations. Research policy, 42(2), 423-442.

Pittaway, L. A., Gazzard, J., Shore, A., & Williamson, T. (2015). Student clubs: experiences in entrepreneurial learning. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 27(3-4), 127-153.

Sansone, G., Battaglia, D., Landoni, P., & Paolucci, E. (2019). Academic spinoffs: the role of entrepreneurship education. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 1-31.

Secundo, G., Mele, G., Sansone, G., & Paolucci, E. (2020). Entrepreneurship Education Centres in universities: evidence and insights from Italian “Contamination Lab” cases. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.

Shirokova, G., Osiyevskyy, O., & Bogatyreva, K. (2016). Exploring the intention–behavior link in student entrepreneurship: Moderating effects of individual and environmental characteristics

Siegel, D. S., & Wright, M. (2015). Academic entrepreneurship: time for a rethink?. British Journal of Management, 26(4), 582-595.

Souitaris, V., Zerbinati, S., & Al-Laham, A. (2007). Do entrepreneurship programmes raise entrepreneurial intention of science and engineering students? The effect of learning, inspiration and resources. Journal of Business venturing, 22(4), 566-591.

Wright, M., Siegel, D.S. and Mustar, P. 2017. An emerging ecosystem for student start-ups. Journal of Technology Transfer, 42(4), p.909-922.

Wright, M., & Mustar, P. (2019). Student Start-Ups: The New Landscape of Academic Entrepreneurship

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  • Student entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship education
  • Third mission

Published Papers

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