Original Research

Reconceptualising undergraduate entrepreneurship education at traditional South African universities

Manduth Ramchander
Acta Commercii | Vol 19, No 2 | a644 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v19i2.644 | © 2019 Manduth Ramchander | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2018 | Published: 19 August 2019

About the author(s)

Manduth Ramchander, Department of Operations and Quality, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Orientation: The relatively high number of unemployed graduates in South Africa is a major cause for concern. Entrepreneurial start-ups have been heralded as the panacea to the unemployment challenge.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to ascertain how entrepreneurship education, at traditional South African universities, measured against existing entrepreneurship education frameworks.

Motivation for the study: Despite a plethora of entrepreneurship education initiatives, the South African higher education system fails to produce sufficient entrepreneurs; hence, the need to explore how entrepreneurship education is structured.

Research design, approach and method: The research design was exploratory and both quantitative and qualitative in nature. The population comprised the eleven traditional universities in South Africa and all of them were included in the study. Secondary data was obtained from the respective universities’ websites. The search sequence in the websites were as follows: Faculty of commerce/Management Sciences, Year/handbook, undergraduate/postgraduate programmes. The word ‘entrepreneurship’ was also used as a keyword to search within the university website.

Main findings: The findings revealed some entrepreneurship modules, with low total credit value in relation to total programme credit value, at the undergraduate level and specialisation at the postgraduate level with some form of centre or incubator initiatives. It was also found that little attention is given to the development of entrepreneurial skills such as perseverance, resilience and self-efficacy.

Practical/managerial implications: The significance of this article lies in its potential to guide the reconceptualisation of entrepreneurship education at South African universities.

Contribution/value-add: This study integrates an existing framework and model to reconceptualise the undergraduate entrepreneurship programme. The reconceptualised structure entails a programme where modules from other disciplines are integrated into an entrepreneurship programme as opposed to the current structure where entrepreneurship modules are integrated into other career-focussed programmes.


entrepreneurship; intention; opportunity; innovation; risk taking; identity; persistence; perseverance


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