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Women and people of color are underrepresented in start-up companies. But as part of a broader initiative to promote entrepreneurship, undergraduate entrepreneurship training courses have been successful in increasing minority participation in the start-up world. These programs equip students with skills and resources to be successful entrepreneurs, such as networking and opportunities to raise capital.
To investigate the effectiveness of these programs, Professors Elizabeth Lyons and Laurina Zhang track the post-graduation career decisions of approximately 400 student applicants. They find that among minorities, those who were accepted into a program were 20 percentage points more likely to pursue an entrepreneurial career than those who were finalists for the programs but not accepted. Separating applicants into women and non-Caucasian groups, their likelihood of pursuing an entrepreneurial career path increased by 28 percentage points and 19 percentage points, respectively.