Well, actually, PvE is mostly here to support PvP. It’s not here to be the first step to doing PvP, it’s a separate journey all together.
I don’t know if you know this, but ships and modules are made from PvE. This is what it means to support PvP. If no one researches, invents, mines, builds, and sells thing through PvE avenues, then we cannot PvP.
The same is true for the large scale conflict, which is all driven by PvE such as taking space or territory. Sure, the act of “taking” space happens through PvP conflict. But that conflict is encouraged through the need to PvE (e.g.: mine, rat, farm the space for ISK).
Both styles of game play (PvE and PvP) need to work together to complete the circle of EVE.