Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (Print ISSN: 1098-8394; Online ISSN: 1528-2651)

Abstract

Stand Up-It's All about the Team? The Composition of Entrepreneurial Teams in Entrepreneurship Education at a German University

Author(s): Sabrina Backs, Melina Schleef, Hauke Walter Buermann

“Team work makes the dream work”–this saying of John C. Maxwell could not be described in a better way especially for creating new business companies. But how does such a team should be structured, especially in the entrepreneurship education in a university context? Is it: “Birds of a feather flock together” or rather “Opposites attract”? Moreover, entrepreneurial traits and the composition of entrepreneurial teams are not investigated as a whole in the academic context so far. To contribute to this research, a first focus is set on entrepreneurship education in general. Therefore, recommended approaches from theory and other studies are compared with the developed concept of an entrepreneurial education program at Bielefeld University that is mostly in accordance with theoretical recommendations. Hence, to identify entrepreneurial traits in the academic context, 43 students took part in a questionnaire within the framework of the “Practice in Entrepreneurship” at Bielefeld University in spring 2018. So, a profile of the personage and motives in entrepreneurship and team behavior were investigated. In addition to the questionnaire, an examination of founding teams in the same “Practice in Entrepreneurship” was conducted. At this juncture, 61 students formed 14 entrepreneurial teams working on a business idea and finally pitching it in front of an expert jury that evaluated and ranked the teams. It was investigated how different attributes like gender, study courses, and age, as well as the team size influence the final ranking. Both the findings concerning the entrepreneurial traits and the results concerning the composition of entrepreneurial teams show much congruence with the existing literature leading to following implications: A successful entrepreneurship education program at a university should consist of theoretically and practically oriented elements involving different external stakeholders. Students taking part in such an entrepreneurship education program show many entrepreneurial traits that should be developed further within this program. The composition of student founding teams should not be predetermined, except for a recommended team size of four to six students.