1.1 Background to the Study

Generally, starting a new business is challenging, it requires much planning, studies (feasibility), financial awareness and cost implication, understanding environmental factors and other determinants. Venturing into a business is not a child play but a thoughtful adventure. Unlike working in a firm of being employed into a company where all you need is your skill sets and certifications. Starting a new business goes beyond having skills and being certified in a particular field of specialization of area of interest.

For years now the concept of entrepreneurship have caught the attention of different stakeholders as a result of globalization and constant increase in both social and economic challenges particularly in unemployment (Syed, Butler, Smith, & Cao, 2020). Furthermore, arising from the fourth industrial revolution there is the need for vital competencies such as agility, creativity, persistency, innovation etc to start-up business and this could most be acquired through entrepreneurial education or program (Yang, 2017). Consequently, majority of tertiary institutions are currently making provision for entrepreneurship training programs with the hopes that this will cub un-employment issues and thus in anticipation that knowledge and skills needed to become an entrepreneur can be taught, and this have increased the percentage of policy support toward entrepreneurship education in nations (Walter & Block 2016).

DeNoble et al. (2018) holds that entrepreneurial intention is the entrepreneur’s intrinsic cognition, preference and behavioral tendency to create a new business. Krueger (2000) interpret entrepreneurial intention as a subjective attitude and expectation of potential entrepreneurs about whether they engage in entrepreneurship activities or not. Thompson (2016) sees entrepreneurial intention as the belief that entrepreneurs intend to start a business. In a word, entrepreneurial intention is a psychological state that guides our attention toward specific business goals in order to achieve entrepreneurial results. It is also a recognition that individuals take actions to develop new businesses or create new values in existing enterprises.

A role model is a person who can influence others to some extent in social life. In social practice, individuals tend to look for similar examples. Individuals cannot participate in social activities in isolation, but act in groups with others. In this process, individual behavior decisions are often influenced by other people’s opinions and behaviors. Such “others” are often referred to as “role models” (Nowiński & Haddoud, 2019). Whether “others” can become “role models” is related to your perception. When you think that you are somewhat similar to “others” and therefore tend to imitate or deliberately avoid certain attributes or behaviors of “others,” “others” become your “role models” (Nowiński & Haddoud, 2019). As the carrier of social learning, role model provides individuals with a reference to learn experience. Through observational learning of role models, individuals can acquire successful or unsuccessful experience of role models, and form clear self-judgments about certain attributes or behaviors of successful imitation or avoidance of role models in similar situations. In addition, the role models can directly affect individuals by involving them in learning activities.

Li et al. (2017) takes farmers as the research objects, empirically studied the relationship between business role model and entrepreneurial behavior. The results showed that the farmers with business role model are more likely to trigger entrepreneurship events than those others. Role models are individuals who set examples, inspire and are emulated by others in making important decisions. Successful role models’ entrepreneur has a track record in starting business ventures (Bosma, Hessels, Schutjens, Praag & Verheul, 2012). Studies involving drivers of entrepreneurial activity tend to focus on personality traits, family ties, academic background, and gender issues (Linan & Fayolle, 2015). According to Meoli, Fini, Sobrero, and Wiklund (2020), entrepreneurial intention (EI) is a “conscious activity that guides attention towards entrepreneurial behaviors”.

Yet, many individuals are influenced by role models which account to be an interesting topic to investigate. By nature, individuals emulate other human beings. From local heroes to global superstars, their behaviours are monitored and imitated. Most people are drawn to specific attributes of role models, such as freedom or success (Nowiński & Haddoud, 2019). More so, Gibson (2018) emphasizes the importance associated with new venture creation and the development of sound policies. Role model serves as guide to business students and helps them to achieve their entrepreneurial intention in tertiary institution.

Based on the above, this study seeks to investigate the effects of role models on entrepreneurial intention among business students in Redeemer’s University, Osun State.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Due to the advancement in technology and a growing rate of unemployment in the world, undergraduates in Nigeria Universities are faced with diverse challenges. At different phases of life, an individual has to make a number of crucial decisions, some of which will have a tendency to have everlasting impacts on an individual. The problem of this study is to find out how the perceived role models influence students entrepreneurial intention in Redeemer’s University.

Quite a number of studies have been carried out on role model and its influence on undergraduate self-efficacy with mixed results. For instance, Felson and Zielinski (2014) found that students who have supportive parents tend to have high levels of academic self-efficacy and self-concept. Parental support and mentorship is commonly defined as being emotionally present and consistently dependable for the child in times of need. It is as well important to an adolescent’s well-being; it has positive effects on individual’s self-efficacy.

The influence of the role model personality is examined in topics like consumer behaviour (Bone, & Mowen, 2015). From the technological to the social field, role model personality has a role in the way people approach new developments and recent trends. Technological innovations have determined researches to link the personality to the use of new IT and mobile applications (Yoo, & Gretzel, 2018; Dinsmore, Swani, & Dugan, 2017). However, a special attention has been given to the analysis of the role model personality (Dabija, Pop, & Szentesi, 2014; Dinsmore, Swani, & Dugan, 2017). Knowing the influencing factors of a role model can influence an individual behaviour to entrepreneurship and this can help an individual develop and adjust their approaches to businesses (Odekerken-Schröder, De Wulf, & Schumacher, 2019). Several researches show the influence of role model personality on the behavior of an individual due to the fact that the achievement of an individual in entrepreneurship is dependent upon the decision made as regard choosing the right individual as role model.

Hence, it is based on this background that the study seeks to examine the effects of role models on entrepreneurial intention by business students in tertiary institutions.

1.3. Research Questions

Based on this study, the following research questions were raised:

  1. How does role model personality impact students’ attitude of entrepreneurship?
  2. What is the impact of role model innovativeness on students’ self-efficacy on entrepreneurship?
  3. Is there any significant relationship between role model business skills and students’ proactiveness on entrepreneurship?

1.4. Objectives of the Study

Generally, the purpose of this study is to examine the effect of role model on entrepreneurial intention by business students in tertiary institution. Specifically, the following are the objectives;

  1. To examine the impact of role model personality on students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship.
  2. To assess the impact of role model innovativeness on students’ self-efficacy on entrepreneurship.
  3. To determine the impact of role model business skills on students’ proactiveness on entrepreneurship.

1.5 Research Hypothesis

In line with the research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated;

H01: Role model personality has no significant effect on students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship.

H02: Role model innovativeness has no significant effect on students’ self-efficacy in entrepreneurship

Ho3: Role model business skills have no significant effect on students’ proactiveness on entrepreneurship.



1.6. Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this study will appraise and add value to the existing theories, models and literatures of relevant contents or works. This study will also be a stepping stone and background to further researches. It will offer additional research that may indicate business student’s entrepreneurial intention. By revealing the extent to which role model would help business students. The findings of this study are considered to beneficial to several beneficiaries. Specifically;

  1. This study will help business students to find their bearing in the entrepreneurship world and will help them easily navigate by leveraging on the important of role model so as to achieve their dream and fulfill their intentions.
  2. It will expose business students to how they can leverage platforms (both offline and online), to choose a role model and follow, and as well request for mentorship which may be paid or free.
  3. It will help to stir and inspired noble business moguls to mentor and play the role of model to young entrepreneur and students who are passionate about business and entrepreneurship.
  4. The study will also foster a better educational curriculum that supports entrepreneurship and better course outlines which will not only teach students theories but will as well expose them to practical entrepreneurship.
  5. The study will also in a great way increases the number of success for new business by tertiary institution students and on the contrary reduces business smashup or crash. The experience of a role model will save many business student’s entrepreneurial journey and intention from failing.


1.7. Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The scope of this study, in term of population is all students of Redeemer University in Osun state and this work is delimited to the business students of the school and not just young entrepreneur who are outside the auspices of the school. Content wise, the study covers role models, entrepreneurship and business students, and critically examine the concept empirically for the justification of the study.

1.8. Definition of Terms

Role Model: refers to an individual who has been successful in an endeavour and whose steps can be followed as a pace setter. He is worthy of emulation in his business adventure.

Entrepreneur: refers to an individual who can turn ideas into action through creativity, innovation, and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects to achieve proposed objectives.

Entrepreneurial Intention: refers to the mindset of an individual that guides him/her to create, plan and strategies towards the achievement/ accomplishment of business objectives.

Business Students: refers to learners whose area of interest fall into business and their studies are associated with establishing enterprise and learning principles of entrepreneurial activities.

Tertiary Institutions: refers to an institution of learning for the study of higher learning. It is the proceeding of secondary education where various degrees is being offered.

Role Model Personality: refers to the traits and lifestyles exhibited by an individual, which has a positive or negative influence on others

Role Model Innovativeness: refers to the ability of an individual to be innovative and creative in his business activities

Students’ Self-Efficacy: refers to an individual belief of one's capability for creating a new venture business

Students’ Proactiveness: refers to the ability of an individual to be optimistic and positive about entrepreneurship and to take practical approaches to its success.

Role Model Business Skills: refers to the skills possessed by an individual as relate to business activities and how an individual has successful operate a business using diverse business skills.