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The recent uncertainty in the economy has produced a keen interest in entrepreneurship, as many people try to create their own jobs and business opportunities. As a result, the number of entrepreneurship programs at universities across the country is booming.
“Entrepreneurship students can look forward to potentially connecting with mentors, peers, possible investors and top faculty members who understand how to start and maintain a business,” says Sidnee Peck, director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They also get great feedback from industry experts, and they have the ability to try and fail in a safe environment, instead of risking real money in the real world.”
The W. P. Carey School already has a tremendous record of producing great student entrepreneurs. Over just the past few years, the school has had a Forbes magazine “All Star Student Entrepreneur” and two finalists for Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “College Entrepreneur” award. The school has also had many winners of ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative, which provides funding, mentorship and office space to teams of students and helps them develop their ideas into viable businesses. In the last academic year alone (2011-12), W. P. Carey School students won more than $130,000 in new-venture competitions.
In 2011, Peck was invited to speak at a White House event about the benefits of teaching entrepreneurship to college students. Her entrepreneurship classes at the W. P. Carey School include some groundbreaking new coursework in Lean LaunchPad, an experience-oriented concept introduced in Silicon Valley. Several of her students have successfully launched businesses.
“Our major in entrepreneurship helps you acquire the educational foundation, experiences and network to negotiate obstacles and be successful,” says professor Gerry Keim, chair of the W. P. Carey School’s Management Department, where the new major is housed. “This country has always encouraged the risk-taking needed to be an entrepreneur. In our program, students can learn whether something is feasible, whether an idea is a good fit for the marketplace, how to get capital, and other key skills, so they only spend time developing business concepts that create value.”
ASU also boasts many other opportunities to help students get their firms off the ground, including:
• Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), a sequence of classes at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering that joins students of various majors to help solve real-world problems.
• Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), a program from the W. P. Carey School of Business Spirit of Enterprise Center that matches teams of business students with Valley companies to solve existing problems.
• CTI Maker Week through the College of Technology and Innovation, where students can pitch ideas, make devices and launch them.
• InnovationSpace – a joint program between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the W. P. Carey School of Business – that teaches students how to develop products that create market value, while serving social needs and minimizing impacts on the environment.
• ASU’s SkySong, which offers the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative and other funding competitions, among many other services for entrepreneurs.
The new entrepreneurship degree will officially be available starting in fall 2013, but applications are already being accepted. Two other new bachelor’s degrees will also be offered at the W. P. Carey School this fall: Bachelor of Arts in Business with concentrations in human resources or sports & media studies. A new concentration is also being introduced in digital and integrated marketing communication.
Visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu for more information on the school’s stellar undergraduate program, ranked top 25 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.