Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Steven LeMire


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine whether entrepreneurship education demonstrates a bias favoring venture capital (VC) financing while marginalizing trade credit financing. The effect of this perceived bias was also explored to determine the impact on students studying entrepreneurship.

In the history of entrepreneurial studies, literature revealed VC was a relatively new and rare source of financing that impacted a very small percentage of entrepreneurial ventures. In contrast, trade credit existed for thousands of years and was shown to benefit virtually every type of business model, from start-up to maturity.

The research questions posed were addressed using two methods: textbook analysis and survey instrument. Data were collected through an analysis (N=13) of entrepreneurship and business textbooks quantifying the coverage of trade credit versus VC. A survey instrument distributed to a sample (N=126) of entrepreneurship students at 11four-year U.S. universities asked students about their exposure to and understanding of VC and trade credit.

Analysis of the data revealed a significant bias existed in favor of VC in textbooks as well as in classroom content, while trade credit financing was largely overlooked. As a result, students indicated they were heavily exposed to VC and unfamiliar with trade credit. The data also revealed that despite significant exposure to the term "venture capital" in curriculum, students only possessed a basic understanding of how VC actually worked. The primary conclusion was that entrepreneurship educators were doing an inadequate job of informing students as to the practical finance options available to them should they choose to pursue a venture at some point in the future.