skip to main content

Title: Remote-Region Interior Alaska Community Survey with Two Statistical Measures: Arctic Indigenous Entrepreneurial Readiness (ER); and Remote-Region Digital Technology Needs and Skills (DT).
Between 2018 and 2021 PIs for National Science Foundation Awards # 1758781 and 1758814 EAGER: Collaborative Research: Developing and Testing an Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in Remote Communities, in partnership with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, the traditional tribal consortium of the 42 villages of Interior Alaska, jointly developed and conducted large-scale digital and in-person surveys of multiple Alaskan interior communities. The survey was distributed via a combination of in-person paper surveys, digital surveys, social media links, verbal in-person interviews and telephone-based responses. Analysis of this measure using SAS demonstrated the statistically significant need for enhanced digital infrastructure and reworked digital entrepreneurial and technological education in the Tanana Chiefs Conference region. 1. Two statistical measures were created during this research: Entrepreneurial Readiness (ER) and Digital Technology needs and skills (DT), both of which showed high measures of internal consistency (.89, .81). 2. The measures revealed entrepreneurial readiness challenges and evidence of specific addressable barriers that are currently preventing (serving as hindrances) to regional digital economic activity. The survey data showed statistically significant correlation with the mixed-methodological in-person focus groups and interview research conducted by the PIs and TCC collaborators in Hughes and Huslia, AK, which further corroborated stated barriers to entrepreneurship development in the region. 3. Data generated by the survey and fieldwork is maintained by the Tanana Chiefs Conference under data sovereignty agreements. The survey and focus group data contains aggregated statistical/empirical data as well as qualitative/subjective detail that runs the risk of becoming personally identifiable especially due to (but not limited to) to concerns with exceedingly small Arctic community population sizes. 4. This metadata is being provided in order to serve as a record of the data collection and analysis conducted, and also to share some high-level findings that, while revealing no personal information, may be helpful for policymaking, regional planning and efforts towards educational curricular development and infrastructural investment. The sample demographics consist of 272 women, 79 men, and 4 with gender not indicated as a response. Barriers to Entrepreneurial Readiness were a component of the measure. Lack of education is the #1 barrier, followed closely by lack of access to childcare. Among women who participated in the survey measure, 30% with 2 or more children report lack of childcare to be a significant barrier to entrepreneurial and small business activity. For entrepreneurial readiness and digital economy, the scales perform well from a psychometric standpoint. The summary scores are roughly normally distributed. Cronbach’s alphas are greater than 0.80 for both. They are moderately correlated with each other (r = 0.48, p < .0001). Men and women do not differ significantly on either measure. Education is significantly related to the digital economy measure. The detail provided in the survey related to educational needs enabled optimized development of the Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in Remote Communities. Enhanced digital entrepreneurship training with clear cultural linkages to traditions and community needs, along with additional childcare opportunities are two among several specific recommendations provided to the TCC. The project PIs are working closely with the TCC administration and community members related to elements of culturally-aligned curricular development that respects data tribal sovereignty, local data management protocols, data anonymity and adherence to human subjects (IRB) protocols. While the survey data is currently embargoed and unable to be submitted publicly for reasons of anonymity, the project PIs are working with the NSF Arctic Data Center towards determining pathways for sharing personally-protected data with the larger scientific community. These approaches may consist of aggregating and digitally anonymizing sensitive data in ways that cannot be de-aggregated and that meet agency and scientific community needs (while also fully respecting and protecting participants’ rights and personal privacy). At present the data sensitivity protocols are not yet adapted to TCC requirements and the datasets will remain in their care.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Arctic Data Center
Date Published:
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
["Arctic Social Sciences","Remote-Region Digital Entrepreneurship","Arctic Cultural Entrepreneurship","Arctic Indigenous Entrepreneurial Readiness","Remote-Region Digital Technology Education, Needs and Skills","Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in Remote Communities"]
Medium: X Other: text/xml
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. This dataset includes the complete instructor materials for the Rural Digital Entrepreneurship Workshop delivered to Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) from November 15-19, 2021. The data set includes PDF files that will allow interested researchers and practitioners, including staff at TCC, to deliver an identical or similar workshop on rural digital entrepreneurship in the future. The workshop included three days of instruction (for which the files are provided), and two days of individualized work with participants as they work on pitching a digital business idea. The materials included here are anonymized, make no reference to participants and can also be imported into learning management systems. The workshop intent was to guide participants towards the development and completion of a business plan for a digital enterprise situated in rural Alaska. Editable versions of the files can be requested from the authors. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Purpose Expanding access to entrepreneurship training programs can be a method to increase female involvement in technology commercialization only if these programs adequately address the specific challenges facing female faculty and graduate students. In the context of the US National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) program, this study examines gender differences in prior experience and attitudes towards the training in order to propose improvements to the program design. Design/methodology/approach This quantitative study uses Pearson's Chi-Square and ANOVA tests on survey data from the I-Corps national program ( n  = 2,195), which enrolls faculty members, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and industry experts. Findings In comparison to male participants, female I-Corps participants reported less entrepreneurial experience prior to the program, poorer team relationships during the program and lower entrepreneurial intention and technology commercialization readiness at both the beginning and the end of the program. However, no gender differences were found in positive or negative perceptions of the instructional climate or perceptions of program usefulness. Originality/value This study is unique as it is based on a large-scale dataset drawn from sites across the United States. The results support potential changes to I-Corps and similar programs, including providing more explicit instructions for tasks with which female participants have less prior experience than males (e.g. in applying for patents), offering guidance for team interactions, and providing mentorship to assess whether low self-efficacy is leading women to underestimate the potential success of their projects. 
    more » « less
  3. This S-STEM Project responds to a growing disparity among technology firms and the number of under-represented people in managerial and executive positions. Of particular interest is developing mentorship relationships and intrapreneurial competencies (i.e., entrepreneurship within established firms). Mentorship and increased skills preemptively aid in the retention and promotability of engineering undergraduates (upon entering the workforce). Specifically, the project was designed to produce electrical and computer engineering graduates with intrapreneurial knowledge and skills, which are characteristic of managers and innovators. Using the Intrepreneurial Competencies literature, the authors develop and test a multi-phased project among a diverse group of engineering undergraduates. The literature suggests enhancing intrapreneurial skills of students in engineering can be achieved through a combination of curricular and real-world experiences. Thus, this project incorporates faculty and industry mentorship, workforce development seminars, an industrial internship, entrepreneurship programs, and scholarships. Cohort 1 is comprised of a diverse group of 16 students (8 men, 8 women, 8 ethnic minorities). Students attended lectures by prominent engineering entrepreneurs, participated in a 3-day start-up weekend, attended engineering job fairs and two semesters of project-focused seminars, and read entrepreneurial and/or leadership-related books. Two primary data sets were collected utilizing a repeated measures design. Data were collected in the form of student reflections about being a mentee in the mentor relationships and interview data from mentors (i.e., engineering professionals). Students documented their mentoring sessions, which were reviewed by the project team. A primary theme that emerged from mentor reports was the effects of COVID-19, mostly how students felt about their coursework and how their industry mentors felt about their jobs. Although there was deep concern about the impacts of COVID-19, the students expressed a sense of growth and learning in spite of the virus. Students self-reported that the S-STEM experience was still highly beneficial, even as much of the coursework and mentoring for the latter half of the Spring semester had to be moved online. The students responded well, with the average semester GPA rising from 3.483 in the Fall to 3.774 in the Spring. Second, data were collected by survey pre- and post-semester to measure improvements in Intrapreneurial Competencies. The “Intrapreneurial Competencies Measurement Scale”(ICMS) by Vargas-Halabi et al. was used to measure and evaluate the development of intrapreneurial competencies, which include: (1) Opportunity promoter, (2) Proactivity, (3) Flexibility, (4) Drive, and (5) Risk taking. Each of the six categories of the ICMS is divided into 3-9 sub-categories to assess skill and mindset in the six general categories. In answering the questions on the ICMS test, students evaluated their proficiency in each of the areas. Growth was evident for almost all the categories and sub-categories across each of the three data-gathering points. 
    more » « less
  4. First-generation (FG) and/or low-income (LI) engineering student populations are of particular interest in engineering education. However, these populations are not defined in a consistent manner across the literature or amongst stakeholders. The intersectional identities of these groups have also not been fully explored in most quantitative-based engineering education research. This research paper aims to answer the following three research questions: (RQ1) How do students’ demographic characteristics and college experiences differ depending on levels of parent educational attainment (which forms the basis of first-generation definitions) and family income? (RQ2) How do ‘first-generation’ and ‘low-income’ definitions impact results comparing to their continuing-generation and higher-income peers? (RQ3) How does considering first-generation and low-income identities through an intersectional lens deepen insight into the experiences of first-generation and low-income groups? Data were drawn from a nationally representative survey of engineering juniors and seniors (n = 6197 from 27 U.S. institutions). Statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate respondent differences in demographics (underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM), women, URM women), college experiences (internships/co-ops, having a job, conducting research, and study abroad), and engineering task self-efficacy (ETSE), based on various definitions of ‘first generation’ and ‘low income’ depending on levels of parental educational attainment and self-reported family income. Our results indicate that categorizing a first-generation student as someone whose parents have less than an associate’s degree versus less than a bachelor’s degree may lead to different understandings of their experiences (RQ1). For example, the proportion of URM students is higher among those whose parents have less than an associate’s degree than among their “associate’s degree or more” peers (26% vs 11.9%). However, differences in college experiences are most pronounced among students whose parents have less than a bachelor’s degree compared with their “bachelor’s degree or more” peers: having a job to help pay for college (55.4% vs 47.3%), research with faculty (22.7% vs 35.0%), and study abroad (9.0% vs 17.3%). With respect to differences by income levels, respondents are statistically different across income groups, with fewer URM students as family income level increases. As family income level increases, there are more women in aggregate, but fewer URM women. College experiences are different for the middle income or higher group (internship 48.4% low and lower-middle income vs 59.0% middle income or higher; study abroad 11.2% vs 16.4%; job 58.6% vs 46.8%). Despite these differences in demographic characteristics and college experiences depending on parental educational attainment and family income, our dataset indicates that the definition does not change the statistical significance when comparing between first-generation students and students who were continuing-generation by any definition (RQ2). First-generation and low-income statuses are often used as proxies for one another, and in this dataset, are highly correlated. However, there are unique patterns at the intersection of these two identities. For the purpose of our RQ3 analysis, we define ‘first-generation’ as students whose parents earned less than a bachelor’s degree and ‘low-income’ as low or lower-middle income. In this sample, 68 percent of students were neither FG nor LI while 11 percent were both (FG&LI). On no measure of demographics or college experience is the FG&LI group statistically similar to the advantaged group. Low-income students had the highest participation in working to pay for college, regardless of parental education, while first-generation students had the lower internship participation than low-income students. Furthermore, being FG&LI is associated with lower ETSE compared with all other groups. These results suggest that care is required when applying the labels “first-generation” and/or “low-income” when considering these groups in developing institutional support programs, in engineering education research, and in educational policy. Moreover, by considering first-generation and low-income students with an intersectional lens, we gain deeper insight into engineering student populations that may reveal potential opportunities and barriers to educational resources and experiences that are an important part of preparation for an engineering career. 
    more » « less
  5. This paper proposes two contributions to the literature on the social acceptance (SA) of energy systems and public perceptions of renewable energy (RE) transitions. The first contribution is methodological, recognizing more effective and inclusive forms of engagement begin with building reciprocal relationships and collaborative research partnerships operationalizing the tenets of energy justice. Employing these methodological recommendations, we conducted a collaborative, inclusive, and equitable research design and engagement practice by collaborating with Tribal members on research with expressly mutual benefits. In this work, a years-long collaboration of Tribal members and non-Tribal researchers developed a methodology to survey respondents at an accessible and culturally relevant community event to learn about preferences and perceived barriers to transitioning to RE. A second contribution is empirical. The results suggest shared priorities for energy solutions that enhance energy sovereignty, i.e., community control and ownership of energy services provisioning. They also demonstrate widespread awareness regarding barriers to a RE transition and simultaneously, some potential misperceptions about the challenges to transition. This study reinforces the need for SA research to move beyond asking what technologies receive public support and where those technologies should be sited to consider how access and transparency in planning processes, collaboration, engagement, development, ownership, and benefits are organized and can be radically reconfigured to enable the just transition to a decarbonized energy system. 
    more » « less