Author(s): Yusuf Opeyemi Akinwale, Aljohara Khalid Ababtain, Adel Abdullah Alaraifi
Reduction of unemployment for the young Saudis is one of the major targets of the government in Saudi Vision 2030, and entrepreneurship has been recognized as one of the ways to influence business start-ups which then generates employment and sustainable growth. This study examines students’ entrepreneurial interest within the context of the theory of planned behaviour. A survey was conducted from public and private universities in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia using multi-stage sampling technique whereby 743 questionnaires were retrieved. The results of the study using correlation analysis revealed that demographic factors, specifically age, present level of study, parent’s background in business, and succession factor in parents business have positive and significant relations with the student’s entrepreneurial interest. A structural equation model analysis further revealed that social norm has positive and significant influence on student entrepreneurial interest; student attitude toward behaviour has a direct and indirect positive and significant influence on entrepreneurial interest; whereas self-efficacy and university environment have positive and insignificant influence on entrepreneurial interest. There is a need for the government to create more awareness and support for entrepreneurship as well as challenging the universities to improve the level of formal enterprise education given the students by providing the academic and the business supports to generate ideas, start and nurture a new business in the entrepreneurship centre within the university.