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Expanding entrepreneurship education to boost students' innovation in South African universities.

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused strain on businesses, some have suffered resulting in downsizing staff or closing permanently. The South African unemployment rate currently is at 32.9%. The labour market in South Africa is struggling to create opportunities and failing to counteract unemployment with relevant skills. The pandemic resulted in more people losing jobs which then contributed to the increase in unemployment. The country should reduce poverty by developing innovative entrepreneurs at a tertiary level. These difficulties indicate that people are facing challenges in getting decent jobs due to a lack of skills. Universities have a responsibility to operate entrepreneurially since they are affected by the reduction of public funds, educational market competence, and economic and social changes. Hence, the study focus is expanding entrepreneurship education in South African universities to strengthen the economy and create job opportunities in the country. Entrepreneurship education plays a significant role in educating people about business development and reducing poverty while creating job opportunities using innovation. The aim is to expand university entrepreneurship education by adding entrepreneurship education across all qualifications to help students develop entrepreneurial intention and a positive mindset towards business start-ups. The research focuses on the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Zululand, both located in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The research followed a mixed method. Qualitative data were collected using interviews with academic staff and were analysed using NVIVO thematic analysis programmes. The quantitative data were collected using questionnaires on students and were analysed using SPSS's latest version. The sample size was made up of 371 students and 4 academic staff from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and 348 students and 4 academic staff from the University of Zululand. The researcher got a 99.3 percent response rate from students and staff from both universities. The findings obtained reveal that expanding entrepreneurship education can help stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset and innovation in students. More than 88% of students agree that adding entrepreneurship education to the curriculum will help them stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset. However, students said, “universities do not have adequate infrastructure to support innovation and entrepreneurship education”. Academic staff members believe that higher education must have an active role in introducing and promoting entrepreneurship education because they have strong guiding policies and ideas but unsatisfactory implementation strategies. The research could help develop a curriculum that will stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset in students while exposing the university to industry and other external sponsors. The entrepreneurial spirit needs to be revived amongst students by restructuring various degrees, enhancing entrepreneurial thinking, developing student entrepreneurship programmes, and supporting venture creation. The study recommends expanding entrepreneurship education to give students more career options and employment opportunities. This could give students equal business opportunities and teach students that entrepreneurship can be taken as a career.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.