Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Creativity, Education and Entrepreneurship: new research traces a connection

Author: Faculty of Management

Posted on Nov 24, 2021

Category: Faculty

Is there a link between your creativity and the likelihood of launching a venture? A team of researchers at UNB recently studied this very question in relation to students; as a result of their findings, they published an article that provides practical advice for educators on how to design and deliver programs on entrepreneurship.

The research was led by Dr. Maha Tantawy as part of her dissertation in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at UNB; she collaborated with a group of other researchers including two professors in the faculty of management, Dr. Jeffrey McNally and Dr. David Foord. The article, Bringing creativity back to entrepreneurship education: Creative self-efficacy, creative process engagement, and entrepreneurial intentions was published in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights, an A-level publication outlet according to the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC).

“In this paper, we explore the central role of creativity in developing students’ intentions to start their own ventures,” said Tantawy. “We explain how believing in one’s creative abilities encourages the development of students’ intentions to found their own start-ups.”

They also examined the roles of attitudes and engagement in creativity processes and activities. Based on a pre-post survey design in seven entrepreneurship courses taught in three universities in Atlantic Canada, their findings support the central role of creativity in entrepreneurship, but also hint towards some limitations on attitudes as the primary focus of entrepreneurship education programs. They draw a number of implications for the theory and practice of entrepreneurship education.

Their research uncovered a significant relationship between the beliefs in one’s creative abilities, engagement in creative activities, and attitudes toward entrepreneurship which support further research on creativity in entrepreneurship training and education interventions.

“Educators should design entrepreneurial courses that aim to nurture students’ beliefs in their creativity as well as encourage them to engage in creative learning activities as they generate new ideas for businesses and spot opportunities,” suggests Tantawy. “Engaging students in creative activities goes beyond influencing their intentions of starting their own ventures to promoting their entrepreneurial behaviour, product development, and marketing.”

Tantawy previously worked with McNally as a research assistant and project coordinator on his Entrepreneurship Education Evaluation (EEE) Project which examined the impact of entrepreneurship courses on developing students’ intentions to start their own venture across a number of international universities. McNally supervised her dissertation and also helped her to redevelop her manuscript for journal submission.

Foord, her other faculty of management co-author, was a member of the doctoral examiners’ committee and also wrote the first drafts of the discussion, limitations, and future research sections. Tantawy is currently working with him as a post-doctoral fellow on research projects that examine the impact of policy mix and policy interventions on the smart grid innovation and sustainability transition in the Maritime region. They are also working with McNally to examine entrepreneurship and innovation in the electric power industry

Dr. Daniel Coleman, former dean of the faculty of management and professor of organization studies and leadership also served on Tantawy’s examining committee. Publishing in a top-tier publication like the Journal of Business Venturing Insights is highly competitive and difficult to accomplish; submissions are reviewed by a panel of other academics around the world who are experts in the subject area. This is Tantawy’s first publication as a first author since her Ph.D. dissertation and her success is a great example of strong collaboration and mentorship among the members of UNB’s faculty of management and their interest in building a strong research community that includes recent graduates.

Photo: Post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Maha Tantawy (right), published research from her Ph.D. dissertation in collaboration with a group of researchers including two faculty of management professors, Dr. David Foord (Left) and Dr. Jeffrey McNally (centre).

Learn more about UNB's faculty of management.

Media contact: Liz Lemon-Mitchell