Leveraging effectual means through business plan competition participation

This paper explores whether the business plan competition (BPC), as a classically causational mechanism for extracurricular entrepreneurship education, can facilitate the development of the means that underpin an effectual approach to new venture creation. In-depth, open-ended qualitative interviews were conducted with participants in a regional university-based extracurricular BPC before, immediately after and six months after the competition. The BPC was found to facilitate the means that could be used to adopt an effectual approach. The competition afforded valuable networking opportunities and collaborative contacts with regard to ‘who they know’; and it enhanced ‘what they know’ through enabling the acquisition, development and application of key competencies. Participants were able to gain and project a confident sense of ‘who they are’ in terms of their venture, changing their perception of the venture from a student project to a credible and viable business prospect. There were strong indications that these acquired means endured in the six months following participation. The implication is that education in which a business plan is dominant need not automatically impede the promotion of an effectual approach.

Journal or Publication:
Industry and Higher Education
Kayleigh Watson
Pauric McGowan
Paul Smith
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