The role played by companies started by University students has gained considerable attention in recent years. The visibility of several iconic companies such as Dell, Yahoo!, Google and Dropbox and the personal stories of their founders have attracted great attention and universities have sought to increase their efforts to promote entrepreneurship. A few studies based on samples collected from specific universities have attempted to document the phenomenon more formally.
In this report we present the first study conducted at a national level using primary and secondary data over an extensive period of time. It documents Italian university students’ entrepreneurial activities and impact matching the data of 2,891,980 individuals who graduated between 2004-2018 with the company data of 236,362 ventures founded in the same period.
From data emerges that 7.1% of graduates are founders (i.e., 205,137 individuals); 61.3% of founders are holders, 22.1% are administrators, and 16.6% are partners; 37.1% founded their companies before graduation (i.e., 13.4% founded their companies before starting at the university and 23.7% during their studies), 27.0% within three years, and 35.9% founded their companies afterwards.
Among founders, the percentage of males is 53.9%, higher than the percentage of males in the population of graduates (40.1%). The percentage of female founders is 46.1%, lower than the percentage of females in the population (i.e. 59.9%).