Entrepreneurship Guidance in the Career Center
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has recognized an important player in entrepreneurship education. It has awarded a grant to The Launch Pad, the entrepreneurship resource component of the Toppel Career Center at the University of Miami that helps students explore and launch new firms while they are still in school.
The Launch Pad represents a breakthrough entrepreneurship career model which presents entrepreneurship as a legitimate career path. The Launch Pad's regular and ongoing programming provides advice and guidance; connects ideas, people and resources; and builds relationships within the local business community. As part of the university's career center, this model is not tied to any particular academic program or department, and requires no prerequisites or coursework. "Our goal is to make entrepreneurship a viable alternative for every discipline and major. Nearly 80 percent of the budding entrepreneurs in The Launch Pad have come from outside the business school," said William Green, senior vice provost and dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of Miami.
Since its inception in September 2008, more than 750 students and alumni have signed up, and more than 300 ventures have received consulting from entrepreneurs, inventors, and business professionals. The Launch Pad was the top-ranked U.S. Global Entrepreneurship Week partner in 2008.
"We have long known that college students are interested in entrepreneurship, but the University of Miami is the first to make resources available to its entire student body through its career center. It's a real breakthrough that holds promise for every campus in the country," said Bo Fishback, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. In addition to maintaining and growing The Launch Pad, the Kauffman Foundation grant will fund the development of a plan for how other universities can start career center entrepreneurship programs as well.