Students earn first-time awarded College of Business Certificate in Entrepreneurship

7/23/2018

Entrepreneurship is more than making business plans—it’s innovative thinking, creative strategy and more. To reflect the educational needs in this ever-changing process, the College of Business offers a certificate program and a new minor.

Entrepreneurship certificate - first graduates
Entrepreneurship certificate - first graduates
College of Business Assistant Dean Crystal Scott presents the first-time awarded Certificate in Entrepreneurship to Scott Fritz, Anthony Thomas and Lukas Lorincz.

Scott Fritz is used to going the distance. The running enthusiast, veteran and information technology professional said he’s always pushed himself.

But he credits an innovative College of Business (COB) course for giving his latest venture a nudge.

Frtiz, a biology major, took an entrepreneurship course—ENT 400: Entrepreneurial Thinking and Behavior—as an elective. That course led him to enroll in the university’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship program, which gave him the knowledge and confidence he needed to turn a dream he had into reality.

“I had never taken a business class before. I am a science guy. But the course looked interesting, and I knew I had a business idea in the back of my head—starting a race management company—that I didn’t really know what to do with,” said Fritz, a senior who is active in the racing community. “Just like running, I learned that being successful is about the proper training and a goal: Getting a personal best. I knew I had the determination, but this certificate gave me what I needed to properly focus my drive.”

Fritz is among the first group of students to earn the new certificate this summer.

Tim Davis, iLabs director, said COB saw student demand for a expansive entrepreneurial program after revamping ENT 400 a few years ago. Working with industry and seeing that entrepreneurial thinking is beneficial to all workplaces—not just the ones you start—Davis led a course redesign that grew to an expansion educational offerings. The certificate builds off of that redesign. The college also will offer an entrepreneurship minor, beginning this fall. The 15-credit minor, interdisciplinary in elective course selection options, includes a capstone course.

“The meaning of entrepreneurship has shifted—it benefits people in all fields. Instead of having a business plan focus, it’s about finding opportunities for change and creating solutions. It’s about running into a setback and thinking agile enough to see this as a time to come up with a new plan. This is applicable no matter where you work,” said Davis, who teaches the ENT 400 course. “More and more, entrepreneurial thinking is a preferred skill listed when employers post positions.“

Davis said the nine-credit Certificate of Entrepreneurship is open for both enrolled and guest students. The three courses in the program teach students about market assessment, business planning, effective communication, staffing, financial planning, operations management and more.

“It’s also about converting and capturing value. How can you create value using a problem that needs solved? And while we do love to make money, value isn’t always tied to that. It can be social responsibility too,” Davis said. “These courses let students know that there is not a single right way to get started. It’s about being innovative and making smart choices that are right for you, the organization and the end user. Simply drafting a business plan is an old thought process; iteration is how we create great products.”

Fritz said this advice prompted him to pursue his passion for running and working in the runner community.

“Before this, I thought I had to go all-in and choose between my IT career, which I really enjoy, and this dream I had. Professor Davis and the certificate classes showed me that I can do both,” he said. “I don’t need to choose. I can have a career and a hobby business that grows as demand and time allow.”

Frtiz’ business, Mitten Race Management, is under development and will launch in the spring.

“The running community is so positive and uplifting, and I wanted to become involved in a deeper way. This business will allow me to do that, and my courses have showed me how I can balance this passion in a way that doesn’t take away from my other responsibilities,” he said. “It has pushed me mentally and physically at times. But, like running, it feels good.”

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