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Entrepreneurship Hits Stride on College Campuses

Wendy Torrance

Wendy TorranceIn a matter of weeks colleges and universities across the country will be teeming with students. A new school year will bring the excitement of new discovery, opportunities to meet new people, and the anticipation of learning. On these campuses students will also find a vast array of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship.

A recent Kauffman Foundation release entitled "Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus" highlights the tremendous diversity, breadth, and depth of entrepreneurship education available on campuses across the country. Students at liberal arts colleges, such as Oberlin, can study entrepreneurship, and engage in cocurricular activities that can help them put innovative ideas into practice. Students can find entrepreneurship courses and related activities on campuses such as the University of Arizona, Wake Forest, MIT and Purdue.

At numerous campuses, entrepreneurship has expanded from business to disciplines such as music, art, nursing, education and women's studies. At Washington University, students in all schools and all degree levels can choose from at least 80 courses in entrepreneurship. In recent years, more than 2,800 students have enrolled in Purdue's certificate of entrepreneurship program.  At Baldwin Wallace College, entrepreneurship is the only academic program that is available to all Baldwin Wallace students. Engineers at Olin College study business and entrepreneurship.

These educational opportunities engage not only the serious aspiring entrepreneurs but also those who are simply interested in learning about innovation, the role of entrepreneurship in the economy, or exploring what it means to be an entrepreneur, for both for-profit and non-profit endeavors. Through carefully designed courses, students have the opportunity to understand the innovation engine in our economy, explore the creation of new firms, and acquire the skills and knowledge they need to design innovations, build teams and see their ideas make a difference.

Students can engage with entrepreneurship outside the classroom as well. Business competitions, clubs, internships, and founder education and business accelerators are found on campuses across the country. At the University of Wisconsin, students can join an Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community in the residence halls, and at Syracuse the Entrepreneurship Club has nearly 400 members.

As students head back to campus this fall, chances are they’ll be able to find ways to engage in entrepreneurship on their own campus. A quick search of a diverse group of colleges and universities across the country: Reed College, Brown University, Emory University, Occidental College, University of Nebraska, and Smith College reveals opportunities such as those described above. What's happening on your campus?

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