updated: 11/19/2012 1:13:12 PM

Butler Announces New Entrepreneurship Major

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Butler University College of Business has launched a new major and minor focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. The major is designed for business students and the minor is targeted at students in other programs.

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November 19, 2012

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Butler University's College of Business has created a major in entrepreneurship and innovation for business students and a minor in that subject matter that will be available to students throughout campus.

The new major will add classes in creativity and innovation, entrepreneurial finance, social entrepreneurship (creating organizations that do social good), sales and marketing, and web design/commerce. It also will require students to take the existing practicum class, in which they operate a business for a semester.

The minor is designed to bring in students from the sciences, arts, liberal arts, and other areas to add entrepreneurial training to their base of knowledge.

"This puts us in rare company," Dean Chuck Williams said. "If you want to be an entrepreneur, you can actually get experiential learning here doing it for four years. We want to create an environment so that when students leave Butler, they're able to start the business they conceptualized here."

First-year Butler business students are required to take the yearlong Freshman Business Experience course in which they draft a business plan as part of an Introduction to Business course.

They present their work to a panel of marketing executives as part of the Top Dawg Business Plan Competition.

During the first semester of sophomore year, business students take the Real Business Experience class, in which they get $400 to start a business. Typically, Williams said, they make tons of mistakes, rip up their business plan and rewrite it by Thanksgiving break. About half the sophomores go on to actually run their business in the second semester as part of the practicum class.

The new major, then, "will give our students the opportunity in their junior and senior years to take one more shot at running a business," Williams said.

Professor of Finance Bill Templeton said the entrepreneurship and innovation major and minor took about 16 months to put together. Two faculty members who have a keen interest in entrepreneurship were added, along with instructors with significant entrepreneurial experience.

"So we have academic and professional experience on board," Templeton said.

Assistant Professor of Management Denise Williams said that, in creating the college's eighth major, the COB is not just developing entrepreneurs but an entrepreneurial mindset among students.

"It's not necessarily just developing students who will start their own business, but all the elements of training that go into these programs create this thought perspective that's valuable in any corporation, non-profit, for-profit large or small," she said. "That's the competitive advantage our students are being exposed to."

Assistant Professor of Management Stephanie Fernhaber said she's seen that entrepreneurial mindset in a number of students, including one last year whose team won the Top Dawg competition. The student said his father had always talked about starting a business but never did.

But the student did. Last summer, he started a food stand in a parking lot.

"It maybe broke even," Fernhaber said. "But I think he was so proud of himself that he actually did it. Thatís one of the things we give our studentsĖthe confidence to take that leap."

About Butler University

Challenging and enabling students to meet their personal and professional goals has guided Butler University since 1855. Today, Butler is a nationally recognized comprehensive university that blends the liberal arts with first-rate pre-professional programs. It seeks to prepare each graduate not simply to make a living but to make a life of purpose, in which personal flourishing is intertwined with the welfare of others. Butler is known for its vibrant campus, superior academics and dedicated faculty. The University enrolls more than 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students in six academic colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Located just six miles from downtown Indianapolis, Butlerís urban setting affords students internship opportunities that provide excellent graduate school and career preparation.

Source: Butler University

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