A comparison of entrepreneurial intentions of Generation Y students in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Entrepreneurship has enjoyed a great deal of attention from researchers and policy makers, and it is often viewed as a developmental pillar for various nations. Researchers have been trying to find answers to the factors that trigger new business creation and entrepreneurial intention. The major reason for this level of interest is the necessity for more entrepreneurs which may contribute to growth and prosperity of economies in terms of job creation and to the reduction of unemployment levels. However, the majority of entrepreneurial intention studies were undertaken with reference to non-African nations and those that were done in Africa were more attentive to existing entrepreneurs. This research aims to determine differences or similarities in entrepreneurial intentions between a sample of Generation Y students from South Africa and those from Zimbabwe. The core objective is to compare the entrepreneurial intentions of students from different backgrounds and cultures. This study employed a descriptive research design. A questionnaire survey was administered to meet the empirical objectives. Data was collected from 400 undergraduate students from South Africa (North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus) and Zimbabwe (Great Zimbabwe University, Mashava Campus). To enable comparisons, 200 undergraduate students registered at each institution were selected through convenience sampling. The study applied Azjen‟s Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to evaluate factors inducing entrepreneurial intent among university students. The study tested the validity of the TPB through an international comparison. The Entrepreneurial Intention Questionnaire (EIQ) developed by Liñán and Chen (2009:612) was administered to undergraduate students. It was accompanied by a cover letter requesting participation from respondents. Moderate to strong positive correlations were found between personal attitudes and entrepreneurial intentions, perceived behavioural control and entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurial intentions. Regression analysis was also performed. The dependent variable in this study is entrepreneurial intention, whereas the independent variables are personal attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and entrepreneurial education. The study found v that personal attitudes and perceived behavioural control positively impacted on entrepreneurial intentions, while, the subjective norm made an insignificant impact on entrepreneurial intention. The findings show that South African and Zimbabwean students have the necessary attitudes and behavioural control to start their own businesses. However, South African students seem to have a greater propensity to start their own business compared to their Zimbabwean counterparts. Zimbabwean students‟ lower entrepreneurial inclination may be attributed to the lack of entrepreneurial emphasis in their curriculums. Entrepreneurship education should not only be about the historical and theoretical aspects of entrepreneurship but it should also promote entrepreneurship in practice. There were differences in entrepreneurship education in both countries. This points to the fact that universities have their own approach to constructing entrepreneurship module/s or courses. Evidence shows that the subjects and skills taught at universities do not appear to encourage students to become active agents of their own destiny through developing qualities such as independence, creativity, risk-taking, self-motivation and innovation. Further it has been found that universities through their own curriculums do not prepare students for self-employment as a career option. Hence, a revision of the content of the curriculum is required to further generate an entrepreneurial orientation by including learning outcomes which are about and for entrepreneurship. However, this calls for a holistic approach from all role players with adequate resources to support them. Universities as institutions can create campus entrepreneur networks linked to the institutional websites. This can make it possible for students with entrepreneurial intention to connect with others who have similar intentions. They can even share ideas on such platforms.