UW Launches Newly Revamped Entrepreneurship Major and Minor

Apr 23, 2019 -- Posted by : JMason

With new coursework and an improved curriculum, the University of Wyoming is relaunching its cross-campus entrepreneurship minor, open to all non-College of Business majors, and its entrepreneurship major for College of Business students starting this fall.

“It’s very applied in nature. The students will learn by doing,” says College of Business Rile Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership Patrick Kreiser. “The revamped curriculum is much more entrepreneurship-focused than the previous coursework. We put the students first in every decision that we made. We are excited about the opportunities the new coursework will provide for students, and we think the revamped programs will be very popular with students across the entire university.”

Kreiser emphasizes that thinking entrepreneurially benefits all students -- whether they plan to start their own businesses or not.

“Thinking entrepreneurially is a huge benefit, no matter what career you go into,” Kreiser says. “That may be going back to manage the family ranch, bringing innovation and creativity to your work at a corporation, working for a family firm, or opening your own dance or music studio. That’s what makes it relevant to all UW students who are wanting to know more about how to approach their lives and careers entrepreneurially.”

In addition to being application-focused, the new coursework is sequential in nature, building upon previous classes and experiential learning opportunities. The minor is 15 credits and consists of three required courses (ENTR 2700, 3700 and 4700), plus two electives from a list of approved electives. The major consists of 21 credits, with five required courses (ENTR 2700, 3700, 4700 and 4750, plus either “Business Ethics” or “Sustainable Business Practices”) along with two upper-level College of Business electives.

The new courses are as follows:

1. ENTR 2700, Entrepreneurial Mindset. This course introduces students to entrepreneurial mindsets and concepts essential to success in startups or within established firms. The course provides a basic overview of creativity and innovation, and students experience the process of identifying and evaluating ideas and developing them into business opportunities.

2. ENTR 3700, Innovation, Ideation and Value Proposition. This course explores opportunity recognition, innovation and building value propositions based on customer discovery through interviews, surveys and other methods. Students learn to develop a lean startup and build customer-focused value propositions. The focus is on rapid hypothesis testing and developing minimum viable products.

3. ENTR 4700, Business Model Creation and Launch. Students build on previous learning to develop a complete business model including sales and marketing strategies, operations, financial forecasts and partners. Deliverables include a pitch to startup investors as part of a real-world entrepreneurship experience -- for example, an entrepreneurship competition. Students learn primarily through hands-on application of concepts.

4. ENTR 4750, Theories of Entrepreneurship. This is a broad examination of historical, literary and business perspectives on entrepreneurship. Students explore the role of individuals, new ventures and established organizations in the discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities. Emphasis is on the evolution of entrepreneurship theories over time and current trends related to the application of these theories.

The ENTR 2700 and 3700 courses will be offered this fall, with all four new courses offered in the spring of 2020. While each course will have prerequisites after this initial year, to start, only sophomore standing and COM1 are required for ENTR 2700 and 3700 so that current students can complete a major or a minor next year. There are a number of electives to choose from (see below), and Kreiser expects to work with colleges across campus to add exciting and unique elective options so that their students can take the core entrepreneurship classes for the minor and then tie their elective coursework back to their home colleges.

“This coursework is designed for and intended to benefit all UW students,” Kreiser says.

In addition to this revamped undergraduate major and minor, the team is looking at other potential certificate options and graduate curriculum.

The revamped curriculum is part of a host of offerings that will aid entrepreneurial thinking as part of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE). Wyoming’s wide-open frontiers are home to outside thinkers hungry for a challenge. They share a spirit of adventure, restless curiosity and wonder. The world needs more cowboys, and UW’s IIE calls on innovators from throughout the state as it works to instill entrepreneurial thinking to empower the leaders of tomorrow. Adding needed programs and curriculum that draw together all UW colleges, business services and entrepreneurship competitions, the IIE serves as the university’s front door for the state’s entrepreneurs.

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