China tracer study and impact assessment synthesis
Tracer Study of KAB Graduates and
Impact Assessment of KAB Programme in China
Prepared by: All China Youth Federation (data collection) and Christoph Weinmann
December 2009 – May 2010
KAB has been implemented across universities in China in a close partnership between the All-China
Youth Federation (ACYF) and the ILO. A pilot test was conducted in 2006/07 at universities located in
Beijing, Tianjin and Heilongjiang. In 2007 and 2008, roughly 20 training workshops were conducted
for participants from these universities, resulting in over 874 KAB teacher, promoters and national
key facilitators trained across China. Entrepreneurship education based on KAB is now being taught
in 92 universities in 25 provinces across China, having reached an estimated 15,620 students by 2009.
ACYF assessed KAB impact in the beginning of 2010, largely based on ILO's KAB guidelines. Research
was conducted by 10 schools implementing KAB, located in different regions of China. Research
implementation was uneven over the different schools due to a number of adverse factors.
For the quantitative survey, ACYF obtained a total of some 1,100 responses, drawn from samples of
convenience. At this stage, the sample drawn at the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology
(ZJ-UST) in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, a rather entrepreneurial region close to the coast in
Eastern China, experiencing strong economic development over the past decade, has been analyzed.
Selection of hypotheses for further study, based on the results from ZJ-UST (143 respondents)
For both business owners and employees in the ZJ-UST sample, team work seems to be a very
appreciated topic besides the disciplines of financial management and marketing.
Employees considering starting a business or self-employment in the ZJ-UST sample have a
preference for trade and services as sectors.
Graduates of ZJ-UST who have become business owners generally seem to be opportunity driven.
Independent of KAB, graduates of ZJ-UST who have become business owners seem to develop a
business plan before starting business; likewise independent of KAB, graduates of ZJ-UST who
are employees seem to consider developing a business plan before starting their business a must.
Roughly half of the employee respondents who have graduated from ZJ-UST consider starting a
business or self-employment an option for the future, independent of sex and KAB participation.
KAB participants in the ZJ-UST sample appear to have a higher propensity to register their
business than non-KAB participants.
KAB participants in the ZJ-UST sample seem to find it less difficult to obtain working capital and
business premises than non-KAB participants.
KAB participants in the ZJ-UST sample seem to have a stronger drive to seek higher market
shares than non-KAB participants.
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Whereas non-KAB participants are focused on business opportunities, KAB seems to broaden the
vision of participants with regard to their role in their community in the ZJ-UST sample.
KAB participants in the ZJ-UST sample seem to have less objection to obtaining employment in
small businesses than non-KAB participants.
KAB participants have a higher propensity to try to start their business than non-participants.
Possibly, male graduates of engineering and automation have a higher propensity than other
KAB and non-KAB participants to become employees than business owners.
Possibly, female university graduates coming from rural areas have a higher propensity than
other KAB and non-KAB participants to become employees than business owners.
Females may possibly have a stronger preference to find employment before venturing into
starting a business than their male counterparts.
The vast majority of both sexes in the ZJ-UST sample starts less than a year after graduation.
KAB seems to influence female participants to start their business to a much higher degree than
male participants. KAB is more important for female participants in the ZJ-UST sample.
KAB appears to achieve its value mainly in combination with other courses the students attend.
This seems to hold more true for male graduates than for female graduates in the ZJ-UST sample.
Support by family and friends in the ZJ-UST sample seem to be the most important other
influencing factors for females to start their business.
Obtaining working capital may possibly be more difficult for female than male business owners.
Moving to larger business premises in the future appears to be more important for female
business owners than for male business owners in the ZJ-UST sample.
For employees, too, KAB appears to achieve its value mainly in combination with other courses
the students attend. This seems to hold more true for male graduates than for female graduates.
Stressfullness and insecurity of business ownership seem to be a stronger deterrent for female
business starters than for male business starters in the ZJ-UST sample.
Selected comments from focus group discussions with KAB participants in different schools in
All emphasize the importance of the business game/ simulations and the importance of
developing both entrepreneurial as well as team (work) spirit (which KAB delivers).
KAB graduates who have started a business emphasize the importance of the group discussions
in class as well as the preparation of the business plan.
All stress that KAB participation has (had) a strong impact on them personally.
A significant share of KAB graduates employed still seeks to open a business at a later stage.
Some seek to gain more work experience before they start. Some lack finance.
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A significant share of KAB graduates employed find that KAB contents have a very practical value
for their current jobs. They are able to observe and better understand their employer's business
operations and can apply workplace-related course contents to improve their own performance.
All would wish that more time is available for practice during the courses.
A significant share of current KAB students and KAB graduates employed would like to see more
"outdoor" activities included, in particular visits to enterprises and internships.
Many KAB graduates would like to see more teachers with practical (business) experience.
Current KAB students, KAB graduates employed, and KAB graduates who have started a business
all believe the time allocated to the KAB course is too short and should be extended.
Selected comments from parents of KAB participants in different schools in China
Parents of KAB graduates usually are not aware of the KAB course contents. They do take note,
however, that their children participate and become more mature as they participate.
While parents of KAB graduates recognize self-employment increasingly is a way of life, they
seem to prefer stable jobs for their children to the vagaries of entrepreneurial life.
Parents of KAB graduates seem not to be happy when they are being asked to finance their
children's business ventures as a result of their children's participation in the KAB program.
If no professional researchers are recruited for the purpose, training of counterpart staff in
impact research is of key importance for achieving reliable and accurate results.
The more information about the survey population is available at the outset, the better the
research can be designed and implemented. It is worthwhile to invest in preliminaries.
Harmonized questionnaires are an important element for obtaining comparable results. They
must nevertheless be checked and possibly adjusted to local business practice and word usage.
Expansion of KAB China is important to all concerned. ILO should set sufficient resources aside to
accompany this roll-out.
There appear to be a few gender-related differences that are relevant to KAB, at least at ZJ-UST.
Some seem to be related to biases in the business environment (access to finance, premises,
etc.), some may be related to other factors (family influence, origin in rural areas). Schools
implementing KAB should seek to address such differences in order to ensure that KAB
graduates of both sexes have equal opportunities in making KAB work for themselves.
KAB in China needs to firmly resist pressures to increase class sizes. The hints from the focus
group results are strong enough: insufficient time for practice as well as for developing and
discussing individual business plans during class.
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