IGL Working Paper No. 23/04

Encouraging Entrepreneurship by Graduate Students: The Role of Proactive Policies

Maria Cecilia Flores, Daniela Bolzani, Federico Munari and Rosa Grimaldi

April 2023


Motivated by the need to rethink the studies and the policies on academic entrepreneurship (Siegel and Wright, 2015), this study assesses the impact of receiving proactive communication and entrepreneurial support by the University Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO) on the awareness of entrepreneurship by graduate students (including doctoral and master’s degree students). Through a randomized control study of 158 master’s and PhD students from the University of Bologna, our analyses show positive and significant improvements in the awareness of university initiatives in support of entrepreneurship and in the perception of the university environment as favorable for entrepreneurship among those graduate students who were randomly assigned to receive proactive support and communication by the KTO. Our findings thus shed new light on the role of KTOs and university proactive policies in establishing an entrepreneurial climate within universities.

Keywords: student entrepreneurship; knowledge transfer offices; support policies; randomized controlled trials