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Comparing Start-up Propensities and Entrepreneurship Characteristics of Students in Switzerland and Germany


  • Walter Ruda

    () (Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences)

  • Andreas Grüner B.A.

    () (University of St. Gallen)

  • Frank Christ

    () (Manager Creditreform)


This paper emerges from the international empirical research project „Foundation and Entrepreneurship of Students“ (GESt-study) that aims to analyse target group-differentiated start-up propensities and entrepreneurship characteristics of students in diverse countries to derive demand-oriented recommended actions for an appropriate conceptualization of entrepreneurship education and support. It compares start-up ambitions and entrepreneurial criteria of students in Switzerland and Germany within the pre-start-up process. Because of the subject- and process-oriented nature of the analysis, students’ requirements can be analysed target group-differentiated. The results of this country comparison illustrate that, despite similar student properties in both countries like average age or form and duration of the study, students in Germany show higher start-up propensities and usually deal more strongly with entrepreneurship than the students surveyed in Switzerland. This is an interesting result, considering the findings of other studies like the GEM-Project which constrains that the total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) in Switzerland is higher than in Germany, albeit below the average of all innovation-driven economies. One reason for this result might be the higher risk aversion of students in Switzerland. Especially female students in Switzerland are much more risk- averse than their male counterparts. About 65 % of the female students in Switzerland are not willing to take risks, compared to 40 % of male students in this category. There is in fact also a gap between male and female students in Germany, but the gap is not as obvious as in Switzerland. Further findings show that students in Switzerland rate the importance of motives in the context of entrepreneurship slightly higher than students in Germany. The students of both surveys estimate the highest difficulties in the lack of equity, finding the right business idea and one’s own financial risk. The lowest barrier is the support of friends and family in both countries. All the surveyed students have confidence in the support of their private environment during a possible start-up. Altogether, both student groups must be accompanied during their whole studies, but especially female students need stronger support in both countries. In the survey of Switzerland the difference between male and female students relating to entrepreneurship propensities is much more obvious than in the German survey, however in both countries the female students are clearly under-represented in progress of entrepreneurial activity. Furthermore the students need to get basic start-up knowledge according to their specific needs to increase the foundationrate in both countries; this will help reduce the existing barriers and prejudices which are in conflict with starting a new venture. Encouragement of this specific group of persons will help to increase the quantity of new and promising companies, an effect which is absolutely necessary to maintain the competitiveness of both economies in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Walter Ruda & Andreas Grüner B.A. & Frank Christ, 2014. "Comparing Start-up Propensities and Entrepreneurship Characteristics of Students in Switzerland and Germany," Proceedings- 11th International Conference on Mangement, Enterprise and Benchmarking (MEB 2014),, Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:pkk:meb014:69-86

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frank M. Fossen, 2012. "Gender differences in entrepreneurial choice and risk aversion -- a decomposition based on a microeconometric model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(14), pages 1795-1812, May.
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