Degree and entrepreneurship: what is the impact of companies created by university students in Italy?

16 December 2019

On Monday 16 December, there was held in Rome the Conference Laurea and Entrepreneurship.

At the center of the meeting, the role played by the companies created by university students, subject of a national study that took Italian graduates from 2004 to 2018 as a sample, using the database of AlmaLaurea, Unioncamere and AIDA Bureau van Dijk.

In spite of the crisis, in our country, there was a noteworthy entrepreneurial drive: in fact, there are 236,366 companies founded by graduates who obtained their degree in an Italian university between 2004 and 2008.

Of these, 37, 1% were founded before graduation, and in 59.9% of cases by women. The entrepreneurs examined by the study come from universities in the North and South in the same percentage, and as many as 75% of the analyzed sample started their activity in the region where they studied and where they could create a network of contacts and knowledge. Further confirmation of the importance of business networking, an element at the base of any project, professional or entrepreneurial.

The start-up of entrepreneurial activities is related to the characteristics of the family of origin: among the graduates who have at least one entrepreneur or freelance parent the share of founders is higher than the average.

About the sectors, the survey has shown that 18.1% obtained a degree in the disciplinary economic-statistical group, 14.2% in the political-social, 9.4% in the legal, 8, 6% in engineering, as many in the literary group, 7.8% in the medical group.

A variegated and positive picture emerges, which puts at the center entrepreneurs who accept the challenge despite a not particularly favorable economic situation: of the 9,821 companies born in 2009, after ten years, 54.8% is still active. “There are three elements that positively characterize the initial path of the entrepreneur: motivation in creating business, possession of innovative and distinctive skills and access to networks”, says Riccardo Fini, Academic Director of the Executive Master in Entrepreneurship who, in tracing the identikit of those who do business in Italy, underlines the indissoluble relationship between training and entrepreneurship.

The survey is signed by Gilberto Antonelli, Maria Assunta Chiarello, Riccardo Fini, Silvia Ghiselli, Claudia Girotti, Azzurra Meoli, Maurizio Sobrero, in collaboration with the AlmaLaurea Interuniversity Consortium, the Department of Business Sciences of the University of Bologna and Unioncamere. It was presented at the meeting in Rome by Riccardo Fini, Associate Professor at the School of Engineering of the University of Bologna and Director of the Entrepreneurship Hub of BBS and Maurizio Sobrero, Full Professor of Innovation Management at the University of Bologna and Senior Advisor for the Next Production Revolution at Bologna Business School, where he coordinates the school’s interdisciplinary programs and events.


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