Spotlight: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Shannon Beeman
October 31, 2013

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With interest in entrepreneurship running at an all-time high among incoming and current Michigan students, the debut in fall 2012 of Introduction to Entrepreneurship ─ an entry-level entrepreneurial-studies course open to freshmen, sophomores and junior across campus ─ was bound to be a success. This fall the course is oversubscribed and has a waiting list of 300 students. “Fifteen percent of our undergraduates already have started entrepreneurial businesses in high school or junior high, so entrepreneurship is quite natural for them by the time they get to college,” says Len Middleton, adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. “This introductory course is intended to provide students with a solid foundation on how entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship play a key role in the 21st-century global economy.” The course fills an important learning gap in the Zell Lurie Institute’s entrepreneurial-studies curriculum. Middleton estimates that roughly half of the enrolled students come from non-business disciplines, including engineering and the humanities, so they stand to benefit from early exposure to accounting, marketing, strategy and other core business functions needed for new venture creation and growth. This foundation also prepares them to take more-advanced courses in entrepreneurship and to launch new businesses while they are in school. “Corporations and nonprofit organizations are looking for people who can self-start and have the skills to bring ideas to fruition,” Middleton says. “I want to imbue more Michigan graduates with entrepreneurial skillsets, so they can build lives and careers around innovation and entrepreneurship in their chosen fields.”

To read the full report and learn about other courses, click here.