Measuring Enterprise Potential in Young People

As young people increasingly become the target of entrepreneurial and enterprise policy initiatives and enterprise education in schools increases, so does the need to effectively measure the impact these programs have. A research instrument was designed to measure “enterprise potential” in young people using attitudes toward characteristics associated with entrepreneurship. A control-group cross-sectional design was used to investigate the impact of participation in a Young Enterprise Company Program, which is based on the U.S. Junior Achievement model, in six secondary schools in London, United Kingdom. The study found that participation in a Company Program can foster positive attitudes toward self-employment and that participants displayed greater enterprise potential than nonparticipants. Demographic differences also emerged in enterprise potential between ethnic groups. Young Black people were more positive about self-employment and displayed greater enterprise potential than either White or Asian pupils. A family background of self-employment had a positive influence on pupils’ intentions to become self-employed. Finally, the research raises a conceptual issue concerning the multidimensionality of the construct of “enterprise potential.