In addition to overseeing the development and staffing of entrepreneurship courses, the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship leads the implementation of an innovative curriculum. Undergraduate students may major or minor in Entrepreneurial Management, and/or they can participate in the unique Entrepreneurship in Action course, where they conceive, launch, and operate a real business.
An Entrepreneurial Management major or minor is for the person interested in successfully organizing, owning, managing and assuming the risks of a business (entrepreneurship), or successfully assisting organizations in developing new business opportunities (intrapreneurship). Curriculum is designed to range from introductory fundamentals through the development and implementation of real business opportunities.
Our objective is to provide current and future business professionals with the necessary tools to successfully form and develop businesses, and to enable students to function as entrepreneurs or as productive members of emerging, entrepreneurial, or high potential firms. Businesses large and small recognize the need for entrepreneurial skills in today's rapidly changing marketplace. These organizations require individuals with the ability to manage risk, manage across functional boundaries, and creatively engage and adapt to an environment that is constantly changing. Our mission is to inspire and educate the next generation of creative, entrepreneurial leaders.
The Entrepreneurship in Action (EIA) course gives our undergraduate students the unique opportunity of conceiving, launching, and operating a real business as part of their educational experience. Students gain hands-on experience with all aspects of business including strategy, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, operations, human resources, and information technology.
The course runs for two semesters during a student’s senior year. In the fall, students sort through potential business opportunities, develop the concepts, determine the resources required, and acquire the resources to launch two selected businesses. In the spring, the students implement the business plan, manage the business, and determine the exit strategy for the businesses. The student-run businesses receive up to $15,000 in funding and operate out of dedicated facilities at Carlson.
Over its first four years, the Entrepreneurship in Action course has launched nine businesses, generating more than $300,000 in revenue. One of this year's businesses was named one of "America's Best College Startups" by Inc. magazine. U-Guide, another student business, won the Minnesota Cup student category. The course also provides the students with the leadership opportunity to give back and help others. Profits of more than $60,000 from the student-run businesses in this class have established scholarships, funded internships, and supported local non-profits. Four of the businesses were subsequently sold to the students and continue to operate.
Students interested in pursuing their own entrepreneurial ventures are encouraged to apply for a new trial course offering based on lean startup principles and tools. STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing (MGMT 4100/6100) is an intensive 2-credit course in which students test business model assumptions and receive recurring feedback from instructors and mentors. This is a self-directed class in which students must get outside of the classroom to meet with potential customers and partners. The class meets weekly during the initial 4 weeks, followed by periodic presentations and updates with instructors and mentors.
Application is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Participating students are eligible to receive pro bono legal assistance and small seed capital grants to fund prototype development and testing. While individual students may apply, teams are encouraged to have sufficient capability to develop and test their initial prototypes.