Student interest leads to new entrepreneurship major

The W. P. Carey School of Business will begin offering a new entrepreneurship major in fall 2013 to fit the growing demand for new business.

W. P. Carey Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives Sidnee Peck said it was time to expand the program because of changing economic conditions and the number of students interested and involved in the program.

"A ripe and growing entrepreneurial community of support and resources and a University-wide focus on entrepreneurship have made it clear that students desire and will greatly benefit from the opportunity to pursue a full degree in entrepreneurship," Peck said.

The degree will focus on collaboration and team building by partnering with other programs at ASU, such as InnovationSpace and the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at ASU SkySong.

Students enrolled in the degree will learn resource management and new product development and innovation.

Students in the program will also be able to use Lean LaunchPad, a method developed by entrepreneur Steve Blank of Stanford and Berkeley. Lean LaunchPad aims at testing business ideas outside the classroom.

Using this method, students will assess what the customer wants and needs as well as how much he or she will pay for it.

Peck said although some aspects of entrepreneurship, such as "desire, passion and grit" cannot be taught, entrepreneurship education creates a practice-based environment. Students can create and test out their business ideas in the classroom without investing and potentially losing a large amount of money.

She also said entrepreneurship education allows like-minded students and professors to collaborate with one another and gives students the chance to build relationships with local business owners and mentors.

"Entrepreneurship education can build a network of young entrepreneurs that can be the difference between survival and giving up," Peck said.

W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt said the degree will focus on the core subjects, such as finance and economics, that entrepreneurs need regardless of how large their businesses are.

He said students will also come to understand how to identify and enter markets and how hiring and retaining good employees can lead a small business to grow into a larger one.

The W. P. Carey School of Business already offers a concentration in management entrepreneurship as well as a certificate in knowledge entrepreneurship and innovation along with other courses in the subject.

Students pursuing the concentration can continue with that program or switch to the new degree. The new major would not affect the students enrolled in the certificate program, because that program is designed for students who are interested in another degree area but wish to learn the basics of entrepreneurship, Peck said.

Spirit of Enterprise Center Director Gary Naumann said the new entrepreneurship major is important to the local community and the national economy.

"Students throughout the school should be exposed to the entrepreneurial mindset as they will no doubt encounter an opportunity at some point in their business careers," Naumann said.


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