By Bart Clarysse, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, firstname.lastname@example.org | Philippe Mustar, Mines Paris – PSL University, France, email@example.com | Lisa Dedeyne, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium, Lisa.Dedeyne@Ugent.be
Student entrepreneurship has been booming over the past two decades and has bypassed academic spin-offs both in numbers and performance. Despite the importance of the phenomenon, we know still relatively little about how the process of student entrepreneurship differs from other forms of entrepreneurship. Most studies have focused on the antecedents of students becoming an entrepreneur at different levels of analysis. A rare study compared whether the ventures they create outperform the average venture or academic spin-offs more specifically and a few studies focus on the circumstances that surround student entrepreneurs such as a lack of resources, low opportunity costs and little prior experience. This monograph aims to provide a systematic literature review on the subject and tries to provide some provocative lines of thinking about theory extension which might be studied in the setting of student entrepreneurs. Against the backdrop of resource scarcity, lack of prior knowledge to identify opportunities, up to date technical skills and an open mindset not hindered by such priors, student entrepreneurs offer a great opportunity to extend, challenge or change received insights derived from the classic view on entrepreneurship theory.
Student Entrepreneurship aims to provide a systematic literature review on the topic, to discuss and suggest a workable definition, and to explore opportunities for further research on student entrepreneurship as a phenomenon and as a basis for theorizing. As is to be expected in an emerging phenomenon of interest, most studies are atheoretical and try to understand the phenomenon in and of itself. The more recent papers on the phenomenon have moved towards using a theoretical approach which could be challenged, changed, or extended in the relevant student population. This review of the literature shows that most studies describe the phenomenon and try to understand the motivations and/or characteristics of student entrepreneurs, while some make causal relations between those motivations and entrepreneurial behavior. The authors start by discussing the method used to systematically list the different contributions to the emerging literature of student entrepreneurship. Next, they describe the different contributions to the phenomenon of student entrepreneurship to the theory of entrepreneurship. Finally, they discuss how the uniqueness of the phenomenon can create unique opportunities for theoretical research.