How Do Young Researchers Take the Steps toward Startup Activities?
A Case Study of a One-day Workshop for Entrepreneur Education
Miki Saijo
, Makiko Watanabe
, Takumi Ohashi
, Haruna Kusu
Hikaru Tsukagoshi
and Ryuta Takeda
Department of Transdiciplinary Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Career Research Center, Leave a Nest Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
Keywords: Business Startup, Creativity, KEYS Scale, Knowledge Creation, Business Plan Refinement Workshop.
Abstract: This is an exploratory study of how young researchers with specific scientific knowledge, through deep
conversations with mentors from industry in a Business Refinement Workshop (BRWS), are likely to change
their original business plans, and what the factors are that will stimulate them to take action for business
startup. It was found that the BRWS did lead to changes in business plan issues and solutions, but these
changes did not necessarily lead to specification of the business plans. It was also found that a positive
perception to the discrepancy of the mentors’ comments was a factor that could stimulate startup activity after
the workshop.
On January 2, 2010, the Washington Post reported
that in the U.S. economy there was zero net job
creation in the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Even though the U.S. economy has grown steadily
over the past 70 years and has been a driving force in
the world market, in recent years the climate for job
creation has been changing. Ford (2015) notes that
companies like Google and Facebook, for example,
have succeeded in achieving massive market share
while hiring only a tiny number of people relative to
their size and influence. And also he claims that
"predicable" jobs, that is fundamentally routine jobs
and jobs requiring a degree of expertise, will be taken
over by machines. The result will be the playing out
of similar scenarios to those of Google and Facebook
in nearly all new industries created in the future.
According to a 2010 Kauffman Foundation report,
startups, or age zero firms, have been the main creator
of new jobs in the U.S. since the 1970s. The report
notes that "job creation at startups remain stable,
while net job losses at existing firms are highly
sensitive to the business cycle". Startups are
indispensable for net job acceleration, but they are not
so active in Japan.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)
provides one of the most comprehensive surveys on
entrepreneurship around the world. Its 2014 report
crystalizes the situations of more than 206,000
individuals in 73 economies. In this report, based on
the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness
Index, Japan is classified as an Innovation-driven
Economy. The United States, many EU countries
(such as Germany and the United Kingdom), and
Singapore are in the same category. But the report
also indicates that Japanese society gives less social
value to startups compared to the other countries
listed above. Also, at this point in time, the Japanese
people in general seem to have fewer of the individual
attributes that lead to entrepreneurship activities. For
example, the percentage of Japanese people who
consider starting a new business a "desirable career
choice" is 31% while those of the other four countries
is over 50%. Since social value plays a pivotal role in
an individual’s action to become an entrepreneur
(Kwon and Arenius, 2010), this data strongly
indicates the vulnerable situation of the startup
business in Japanese culture.
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology (MEXT) is aware of the
importance of fostering nascent entrepreneurs and of
providing education for innovation, and there are two
MEXT programs dealing with this. The Program for
Leading Graduate Schools (Leading Program)
initiated in 2011 supports 62 graduate programs to
nurture next-generation leaders having broad
perspective and creativity. The program clearly aims
to produce quality graduate students with various
Saijo, M., Watanabe, M., Ohashi, T., Kusu, H., Tsukagoshi, H. and Takeda, R.
How Do Young Researchers Take the Steps toward Startup Activities? - A Case Study of a One-day Workshop for Entrepreneur Education.
DOI: 10.5220/0006066502150222
In Proceedings of the 8th International Joint Conference on Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (IC3K 2016) - Volume 3: KMIS, pages 215-222
ISBN: 978-989-758-203-5
2016 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
career choices (in contrast to traditional academic-
centered careers), that include starting up a new
business. Additionally, in 2014, MEXT also started
the Enhancing Development of Global Entrepreneur
(EDGE) program which currently supports 13
programs specifically aimed at accelerating
innovation through entrepreneurial education on
startups and organizations. Still, though the
government is actively pushing for entrepreneur
education, the program curriculums still involve a lot
of trial and error. In summary, Japanese entrepreneur
education is still at the predawn stage.
The question is how to bridge higher education
with the encouragement of nascent entrepreneurs; or
more precisely, how to transform young researchers
with scientific expertise into nascent entrepreneurs
who can create new jobs through the diffusion of
innovation. This is not only a challenge for Japan but
also one for the global community.
2.1 The Variables That Affect the
Decision to Start a Business
Clercq and Arenius (2006) statistically analysed data
collected for the 2002 Global Entrepreneurship
Monitor and concluded that knowledge-based factors
have a strong impact on the decision to engage in
business startup activities. According to their
regression analysis of the likelihood of being engaged
in business startup activity, "specific skills" and
"personally knowing an entrepreneur" significantly
affected the dependant variable in all their sample
subgroups–a control group, a Belgium group, and a
Finland group. As to education level, they found that
a secondary degree had a positive effect in the control
group, but a post-secondary degree did not affect the
dependant variable in any of the groups. This result
suggests that specific skills and exposure to
knowledgeable others are significant factors, while
higher education does not necessarily push people to
become nascent entrepreneurs. Highly elaborated
existing knowledge is supposed to be indispensable in
generating new ideas and engaging in business startup,
but the accumulation of existing knowledge does not
necessarily link to business startup activity. There is
a need to bridge existing knowledge and external
knowledge, and to transform an individual’s tacit
knowledge to shared knowledge. How can we bridge
these different kinds of knowledge?
Nonaka and Toyama (2003) state that "knowledge
creation is a synthesizing process through which an
organization interacts with individuals, transcending
emerging contradictions that the organization faces",
and "one can share the tacit knowledge of others
through shared experience". In order to transform
tacit knowledge to shared new knowledge,
socialization and efforts to transcend contradictions
are needed (Saijo et al, 2014). Saijo et al, (2014)
executed an action study in which a 4-wheel electric
power-assisted bicycle was lent to frail elderly people
and observed how physiotherapists created new
knowledge in assisting the frail elderly people to ride
the newly invented AT-device: a 4-wheel electric
power-assisted bicycle. In this research, having a new
device evaluated within the context of a care facility
served as an impetus to transform the tacit knowledge
of professional caregivers into explicit knowledge.
This required close collaboration among the device
maker, researchers, and caregivers, and the city hall
staff also played an important role as intermediaries
bringing together diverse professionals and the staff
of the care facilities.
This previous study points to the importance of
knowledge creation formed through collaboration or
interaction among people with different backgrounds
who work together to transcend difficulties. In
seeking to push highly educated people to start a
business, it can be helpful to find a way to encourage
knowledge creation among them.
If knowledge creation is a process by which
organizations interact with people to create new and
useful knowledge that will help them transcend
difficulties or achieve challenging goals, then it
seems reasonable to consider creativity to be the
product of knowledge creation.
2.2 Creativity and Innovation
Amabile et al, (1996) defined creativity as "the
production of novel and useful ideas by individuals or
teams of individuals". Creativity is not merely a result
of an individual’s characteristics but also the result of
the interaction between an individual and work
circumstances. Creativity is a key factor in starting a
new business, but it is still not clear how to encourage
or foster this creativity.
KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity
(formerly, Work Environment Inventory) gives six
stimulant scales and two obstacle scales affecting
creativity (Amabile, et al, 1996). KEYS was
developed based on the human capital theory,
especially the interactionist concept (Woodman,
Sawyer, and Griffin, 1993). KEYS focuses on how
KMIS 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing
workers perceive the relationship between the work
environment and team creativity. Amabile et al,
(1996) compared highly creative projects and low
creative projects in a construct-validity study. For the
stimulant scales, KEYS gives Organizational
Encouragement, Supervisory Encouragement, Work
Group Supports, Freedom, Sufficient Resources, and
Challenging Work. The obstacle scales are Workload
Pressure and Organization Impediments. They
analysed the relation between work environment
perceptions and creativity by collecting data totally
12,525 with variety of functions and departments and
organizations. The results show that in the six scale
of challenging work, organizational encouragement,
work group supports, freedom, organizational
impediments, and supervisory encouragement, there
is strong discrimination between two levels of
creativity. The study concluded that high-creativity
projects were generally rated higher on the stimulant
KEYS scales and lower on the obstacle scales
(Amabile et al, 1996). It was also concluded that this
result was not affected by other project variables:
project length, size of project team, organization of
project team, etc.
The present paper deals with a one-day
entrepreneur workshop for Leading Program students
as an inter-organization project, and evaluates the
factors which positively affect a student’s motivation
to undertake business startup activities using the
KEYS scale framework. We applied the four positive
scales which were shown to be highly effective in
Amabile et al, 1996: challenging work, work group
supports, organizational encouragement and
supervisory encouragement.
3.1 Background
One of the goals of the Leading Program, being
implemented at prestigious graduate schools in Japan,
is to nurture students so that they will acquire the
competence suitable for the following roles: (1)
leader, to solve social problems with their expertise,
and (2) project manager, to trigger innovation via
communication with various stakeholders. However,
it is difficult for students to experience leader and/or
manager roles in a collaborative project while they
are undertaking graduate study. As a result, students
lack experience in applying their academic
knowledge to solving problems in the real world. We
believe that this can only be remedied by actually
providing a setup where students and people from
industry co-create solutions.
We therefore arranged to have the Four Leading
Programs at the Tokyo Institute of Technology
organize a one-day Business-plan Refinement
Workshop (BRWS) in which students and people
from industry communicated with each other to co-
create a solution.
3.2 Research Questions
In introducing the BRWS we began with two
questions: (1) How can the BRWS be evaluated in
terms of the positive KEYS factors–organizational
encouragement, supervisory encouragement, work
group supports, and challenging work–that stimulate
the individual’s creativity within the team? By
describing the BRWS in terms of the KEYS factors,
we can evaluate the environment’s effectiveness in
stimulating the creativity of the participants by
exposing them to external knowledge for getting new
and useful ideas. (2) Which factors are effective in
stimulating highly educated young researchers to take
action on startup activities? By searching for these
factors, we seek to develop a methodology for
stimulating creative ideas for business startups.
The four categories of the first question were further
broken down into additional questions as follows:
Organizational Encouragement: What are the
distinguishing characteristics of the BRWS and the
ways in which MEXT, the organizers, and the
participating university encourage Leading Program
students to participate in this event, and what was
their level of satisfaction with the workshop?
Supervisory Encouragement: How do mentors and
students cooperate in drafting a creative business plan
in the BRWS setting, and how do researchers changed
their business plan in order to create new and useful
Work group Supports: In the BRWS, how did young
researchers perceive their mentors’ suggestions for
refining their business plan?
Challenging Work: How do students link their
workshop and post-workshop action to their business
By evaluating the effectiveness of the one-day
BRWS, as an environment in which young
researchers refine their business plans through deep
communication with their mentors, we seek to
develop a methodology for stimulating creative ideas
for business startups.
How Do Young Researchers Take the Steps toward Startup Activities? - A Case Study of a One-day Workshop for Entrepreneur Education
3.3 Method
Participants in the BRWS were: 22 young researches
(10 masters and 12 PhD students in Leading
Programs at 7 universities) and 20 mentors from 5
major companies and 9 venture companies. The
Tokyo Institute of Technology, the first author’s
place of work, organized this event and Leave a Nest
Co., Ltd, the last author’s place of work, sponsored
and facilitated the workshop. Students submitted their
business plan proposals 1 month before the workshop,
and 10 teams were selected to participate in the
BRWS. The business plans were submitted to a panel
of judges just before the workshop, and then again
after they had been refined in the workshop. The
refining of the business plans was carried out in the
workshop by 10 inter-organizational teams
comprising the above mentioned students and
business persons.
Three months after the workshop, 10 people who
were involved in BRWS from the sponsor company
were asked to evaluate the originality and practicality
of the revised business plan PowerPoint presentations
that came out of the BRWS. Around the same time
we followed-up with interviews of the student
participants to see what kind of activity may have
been triggered by the workshop. One of our co-
authors interviewed 15 students by phone. One of the
interviews was disqualified because the student did
not answer all the questions, and the remaining 14
student interviews were analysed for the present study.
Permission was obtained from all 14 students and
from the organizing university to use the interview
Period: March 5, 2016 to July 5, 2016
BRWS: March 5, 2016
Post event evaluation: June 16 to July 9, 2016
Post event participant interviews: June 16 to July
7, 2016
Targets: 1) Masters and PhD students in Leading
Programs (hereafter "young researchers") who
participated in both the BRWS and the post event
interviews; and
2) Business persons in the major companies and
venture companies who participated in the BRWS
as mentors (hereafter "mentors"); and
3) Employees from the sponsor company who
took on the roles of supporter and facilitator at the
BRWS and who were asked to compare the
original and revised versions of the business plans
(hereafter "evaluators").
Methods: Rating pre- and post-BRWS business
plan PowerPoint presentations made by the young
researchers, and making quantitative and
qualitative analyses of the post-workshop
interviews of the students.
The objective of the present study is to seek the
factors stimulating young researchers to take action
on startup activities. By using KEYS, we can evaluate
the effectiveness of the environment in stimulating
creativity, i.e., knowledge creation, and get a grasp on
whether the participants are sufficiently exposed to
external knowledge to get new and useful ideas. We
therefore put the data acquired through the BRWS
and interviews into the KEYS scales framework to
derive indices for evaluating the effectiveness of the
3.3.1 Organizational Encouragement and
Supervisory Encouragement
Organizational encouragement is the encouragement
provided by an organization to its people.
Supervisory encouragement is related to the work
models, goals, and support provided by supervisors
(Amabile et al, 1996). In this article we describe how
we organized this event and how MEXT, the
organizing university and other member universities
encouraged young researchers to participate this
Table 1: Students’ business plan topics and mentors’
industry sectors.
Business plan topic and mentor industry
# of students
Exhaust gas treatment & plant factories
Agriculture, Media service
2 (2)
Applying ICT in the operation of locally based
corporate childcare facilities
Education, IT
3 (1)
Enzyme treatment system for wastewater containing
oils and fats
Device manufacturer, Biotech service
2 (2)
Shotgun cloud working system for employing older
workers and enhancing specialized skills of younger
Education (2 mentors from one company)
2 (0)
A Water-powered acetylene engine motor vehicle
Car industry (2 mentors from one company)
1 (1)
Revitalizing Odaka town - Fukushima after the triple
IT, Angel Investor
2 (1)
Reducing the waiting list for daycare and increasing the
number of daycare workers
IT (2 mentors from one company)
3 (2)
Development of a "sleep controller" and new business
model using IoT for better treatment of sleep disorders
Device manufacturer, Telecom
3 (3)
Small in-wheel motor and dissemination of a new sport:
Device manufacturer (2 mentors from one company)
1 (1)
Ubiquitous healthcare service system based on the SPA
architecture model for smart hospital
Device manufacturer, Food
2 (1)
KMIS 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing
Information on this event was distributed by
MEXT to all of the 62 Leading Programs in Japan.
MEXT also advised each program to disseminate the
information to young researchers and to call for
proposals. The event was held in Tokyo, and travel
expenses were covered by each program. Though the
event included a poster session in addition to the
BRWS, this article does not discuss the poster session
since the authors’ focus is on elucidating the effect of
interaction between the young researches and their
mentors during the BRWS. The mentors from
industry were actively recruited by the sponsor. Table
1 summarizes the students’ business plans, and gives
the industry sector of the mentors for the first session.
Except for the E team, each team had two mentors in
each session.
The mentor’s business category is given under the
title of each proposal. It is italicized if the company is
a venture company. Here venture company is defined
as one within 10 years of corporate registration.
Figure 1 shows the step by step flow of the BRWS.
The time frame for each step is shown in the left
column. The name of the step, activity, and the
student and mentor’s activity are summarized. The
middle column shows the direction of communication.
If the students mainly explained things to their
mentors, then the arrow points to the right. If the
mentors were mainly explaining and/or giving
feedback to the students, the arrow points to the left.
If there was free exchange of opinions, then a double
arrow is used. Each step is explained as follows. Step
0: Before the workshop starts, the students present
their ideas. Step 1: the BRWS starts with brief
guidance from the workshop facilitator. Step 2:
Students and mentors fill in three different
worksheets together. Step 3: Mentors are changed,
and the students explain the ideas discussed in Step 2,
with the new mentors giving feedback. Step 4: The
original mentors return and the 3 worksheets filled
out in Step 2 are revised. At this time, the teams of
students and mentors are advised to resolve the
questions that arose in Step 2 and 3. Step 5:
Presentations are made of the polished ideas created
in the workshop. During the workshop, mentors made
suggestions for commercialization speaking from
totally different perspectives. Deep communication
lead to further reworking of the proposed plans.
As an index for organizational encouragement,
the degree of participant satisfaction was investigated.
Figure 1: Flow of the BRWS.
Step Name of the activity
Direction of
Activity of students
Activity of mentors
Original presentation
4 min for presentation,
No Q&A from judges
Presentation Listening to each presentation
Workshop Guidance
To explain the time frame of
the workshop
To explain how to use 3
N/A Listening to facilitators’ guide
Workshop Round 1
Fill in Worksheet 1
Fill in Worksheet 2
Fill in Worksheet 3
Exchange information
Co-create business scheme
Workshop Round 2
Mentor exchange and
To explain the idea
generated in Round1
Listening to the idea
presented by the team
assigned newly
To discuss about the
issue brought up by new
Asking questions to students’
Workshop Round 3
Mentor exchange (back to
originally assigned mentors)
and iterate Worksheet 1~3 to
polish the business plan
To make final presentation
To explain the
discussion in Round 2
Trying to understand the
point of which other
mentors questioned
Exchange information
Co-create business scheme
Final presentation
5 min for presentation
5 min Q&A from judges
Presentation of the polished
Listening to each presentation
Questionnaire Survey
Degree of satisfaction (4-point scale)
Free description on good points of this workshop
45100 80
30 90
How Do Young Researchers Take the Steps toward Startup Activities? - A Case Study of a One-day Workshop for Entrepreneur Education
Also, as an index for supervisory encouragement,
the students were questioned about the degree of
disparity they felt in the mentors’ comments
3.3.2 Work Group Supports and
Challenging Work
The variables that appeared to make the largest
contribution to enhancing the creativity of the teams
were work group supports and challenging work. An
individual assigned a difficult objective is the most
creative when supported by the team (Amabile, T.M
et al., 1996). The taskes assigned to the young
researchers in the BRWS were quite difficult. As
explained above, the students were repeatedly
required to polish their proposals and twice were
subjected to differing comments from two different
sets of mentors. After this they worked again with the
first set of mentors to revise their proposals and
prepare a PowerPoint presentation to be made before
a panel of judges. This process resulted in disparity
between the students’ original proposals and the
polished versions, which can be seen in a comparison
of the proposals made before and at the end of the
BRWS. In this study, 10 evaluators were asked to
evaluate the portions of the proposals that had
The objective of the BRWS was to transform the
young researchers’ existing knowledge into new and
effective ideas for business startups offering solutions
to social problems. The evaluations of the changes in
the PowerPoint presentations therefore focused on the
changes that may or may not have taken place in the
proposals’ issues and specific milestones for
achieving those objectives, and these were used as the
indices for judging the degree of novelty and
3.3.3 Factors Stimulating Young
Researchers to Take Action Leading to
Startup Activities
In the post-event interviews, 14 young researchers
were asked the following questions.
1) Was there anything in the mentors’ comments and
advice that was incompatible with your proposal
or ideas?
2) How would you rank the sense of disparity you felt
on a scale of 1 to 5?
3) Why did you feel they were incompatible with your
4) Did you take any action to implement your plan
after the event ended?
5) How would you rank that action on a scale of 1 to
Each interview was conducted by telephone by
one of the co-authors. Tapes of the telephone
interviews were then transcribed and the data for this
study was generated from the interview transcripts.
The emergence of novel and useful ideas required that
the young researchers find disparity in the mentors’
comments regarding their business plans. Whether
their perception of this disparity was positive or
negative was also a factor to be taken into
consideration. For the purposes of this article, the 14
interviewees’ responses to the question of disparity
were divided into 67 sentences and two co-authors
other than the interviewing co-author used these
sentences to judge whether the response was positive,
negative, or neutral. This evaluation was based on the
extent to which the sentences indicated a new
awareness on the part of the young researcher.
Responses were judged to be neutral when they
indicated that the young researchers did not feel the
comments to have influenced their own actions.
Below is an example of this coding results, the coding
concordance rate was 95.5%.
Positive: The mentor’s question, "Can’t the
treated discharge water be used again?" was
unexpected and new idea.
Negative: I did not find it helpful.
Neutral: The comments of the mentors differed
according to whether they represented a major
company or a venture business.
Correlation and regression analysis were carried
out using the following variables: The response
variables as to whether or not action toward business
startup was taken after the workshop; the evaluation
variables of the PowerPoint presentations (degree to
which changes were introduced for new issues; new
solutions; specificity of proposed milestones); and the
explanatory variables of the interviews (degree of
perception of disparity, ways of perception of dispa-
rity: positive-neutral-negative). For the statistical
analyses, Esumi multivariate data analysis Excel
software (version 6.0) was used.
4.1 KEYS Positive Factor Evaluation
for BRWS
4.1.1 Organizational Encouragement and
Supervisory Encouragement
The young researchers participating in the workshop
received financial support from MEXT, and their
KMIS 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing
universities also treated the workshop as a part of
their Leading Program curriculum. A high 80%
responded that they were satisfied with the BRWS.
Figure 2 shows what the students felt were the good
points of the workshop. There may be some objection
to using degree of satisfaction as a measurement of
"organizational encouragement", but the objective of
this study was not to measure the perception of
encouragement but to seek out the results of the
encouragement, and the degree of satisfaction in the
workshop was therefore used as a measure. Figure 2
shows the breakdown of the responses to the multiple
choice question on satisfaction.
Figure 2: Good points of the workshop.
Most of the students (85%) selected "Discussion
with mentors" as one of the good points. The second-
largest number of students (65%) selected
"Opportunity to get ideas for business". On the other
hand, fewer students selected "Autonomous business
concepts making (40%)" and "Reviewing ideas and
making presentations twice (30%)".
4.1.2 Work Group Supports and
Challenging Work
We calculated the correlation factors between the
three variables (reconstructed issues in business plans,
reconstructed solutions, and proposed milestones) of
the PowerPoint presentation evaluations between the
specificity of the milestones and the ratio of
reconstructed (a) issues/(b) solutions.
Variables in each case were derived as follows:
for the ratio of issues and solution reconstruction, the
ratio of evaluators who judged the issues or solutions
to be reconstructed; and for the specificity of the
milestones, the mean value of 4-scale evaluation of
the milestone specificity. The results showed in
Figure 4. From these results, we concluded that there
is no correlation between increases in the ratio of
business plan reconstruction and improvements in the
specificity of the business plans.
Figure 3: Relation between specificity of the milestones and
ratio of reconstructed (a) issues/(b) solutions.
4.2 Factors Stimulating Young
Researchers to Take Action
Leading to Startup Activities
Multiple regression analysis was carried out using the
explanatory variables of PowerPoint presentation and
the interviews. Stepwise regression analysis was
applied, and it led us to have two significant
explanatory variables for the response variable of
presence/absence of action (Y). They were the degree
of perception of disparity (X
) and positive perception
to this disparity (X
Y = -1.37 + 0.28X
+ 1.15X
Adjusted R-square was 0.90 and since the P
values were all statistically significant, it was
determined that variables with sufficient explanatory
power had been selected. Figure 4 shows structure
determining whether or not action is taken.
Figure 4: Structure determining whether or not action is
This was an exploratory study of the factors that will
stimulate young researchers with specific scientific
knowledge, when engaged in deep conversations with
mentors from industry in a Business Refinement
Workshop (BRWS), to take action for a business
startup. In describing the BRWS environment of
0 20406080100
Autonomous business
concepts making
Objective evlaluation of ideas
Making presentations to
business people
Discussions with mentors
Opportunity to get ideas for
Reviewing ideas and making
presentations twice
Clarifying of ideas
Integrating of ideas
Percentage that apply (%)
0 20406080100
Specificity of the milestones
Ratio of reconstructed issues
r=-0.022 P=0.942
0 20406080100
Specificity of the milestones
Ratio of reconstructed solutions
r=-0.041 P=0.890
(a) (b)
Perception of disparity
Positive way of perception
How Do Young Researchers Take the Steps toward Startup Activities? - A Case Study of a One-day Workshop for Entrepreneur Education
knowledge creation in terms of the KEYS factors, it
was found that this environment did lead to the
reconstruction of business plan issues and solutions,
but not necessarily to specific business plan
milestones. Although there was no correlation
between the milestones’ specificities and the
reconstruction of business plan issues/solutions, we
did find that the perception of disparity in the mentors
comments could stimulate startup activity after the
workshop. This finding expands on prior work by
Clercq and Arenius (2006) who found that exposure
to external knowledge may enhance the likelihood to
engage in business startup activity. In other words,
not merely exposure to external knowledge, but also
perception of disparity, are key factors that push the
participants towards starting a business. Moreover,
we also found that positive perceptions of the
disparity could be another factor stimulating such
This study can be deemed to have the following
1) The KEYS scales were used to evaluate the
effectiveness of the workshop, but no
introspective study of the KEYS scales has been
made and there is therefore no way to judge if the
indices used in this study are consistent with the
KEYS scales.
2) There is no record of the actual interaction that
took place in the workshop and therefore no way
of knowing what kinds of comments had positive
3) There was no evaluation of the milestone
specificities of the original business plans, and
therefore no way of knowing how they changed
through the BRWS.
Despite these limitations, it was still possible to
get some insight into the methodology of a workshop
directed at stimulating highly educated human
resources towards starting up their own businesses.
Hereafter, we would like to gain further insight by
introducing methods that will overcome the above
limitations, and open up pathways to tying
specialized knowledge to business startups and
education that will accelerate innovation.
We would like to express our deepest appreciation to
the participants and organizing staff of BRWS and
MEXT for their help with the case study presented in
this paper.
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