PEER MENTORING IN ENGINEERING ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR WOMEN STUDENTS

Catherine Elliott, Hanan Anis, Catherine Mavriplis

Abstract


Entrepreneurship in engineering is an
intersection of two male-dominated domains and is
particularly prone to a gender gap. Entrepreneurship
education—the teaching of skills and cultivation of talents
that students need to start businesses, identify
opportunities, manage risk and innovate in the course of
their careers—is now a staple in many universities across
Canada and around the world. However, the
participation of women in such entrepreneurial programs
remains quite low. This paper presents the novel Women's
Start-up Network program at the University of Ottawa.
The objective of the program was to develop an
entrepreneurial mind-set and competencies in female
engineering and computer science students through
facilitated peer mentorship training. Participants were
surveyed to determine the degree to which a peer mentortraining
program could increase participants’ knowledge
about entrepreneurship and influence participants’
entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intentions. This paper
reports on the preliminary results of the program and the
implications for entrepreneurial learning and career
intentions among female engineering students.

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