Purpose - In response to the emergence of an enterprise economy, government claims that building an enterprise culture is vital. Correspondingly, provision of entrepreneurship education in higher education has expanded. The paper aims to assess the potential of entrepreneurship education to develop skills, and of whether students perceive them as having value within the modern economy. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws from a longitudinal, collaborative study of students of entrepreneurship in four universities. Using a questionnaire-based methodology, the paper is based on responses from a sample of 519 students. Findings - Results include that any increase in graduate entrepreneurship is most likely to be a long-term. Results also suggest that many students expect to work in new and small firms, and that skills developed by entrepreneurship education are applicable to both waged employment and entrepreneurship. Accordingly, entrepreneurship education seems to have much potential to develop skills appropriate for the enterprise economy. Research limitations/implications - The research is limited by its quantitative nature. As the primary purpose is to evaluate attitudes to entrepreneurship and perceptions of the economic environment, further research should involve qualitative follow-up, in the form of focus groups and/or longitudinal case studies. Originality/value - The value of the paper lies in the suggestion that investment in entrepreneurship education is likely to have a positive impact within the economy. The long-term impact of an increase in awareness of entrepreneurship; of the ability to start firms; and an increase in skills transferable to waged employment within an enterprise-based economy, can not be underestimated. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
- Enterprise economics