Beginning in the spring semester, students across all majors at UW–Platteville will be able to minor in entrepreneurship.
The new minor is being designed to complement any major, and it will be available to all UW–Platteville undergraduates.
According to Dr. Kevin Bernhardt, director of the Pioneer Academic Center of Community Engagement at UW–Platteville, the new minor will include a heavy emphasis on experiential learning.
“The new entrepreneurship minor will afford another opportunity for our students to be career-ready when they enter the workforce,” said UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “These students will learn skills they can utilize in any field, and if they are passionate about becoming an entrepreneur, this will give them the edge they need.”
A seven-member steering committee, which includes representatives from across campus, will be guiding the progression of the minor. The committee worked to organize the curriculum for the minor as well.
“This is high impact. This is real world. This is getting out there and doing it,” said Kathy Neumeister, communications and event coordinator with PACCE.
The minor complements any major across campus, and it includes both a business track for business students and a non-business track for all other majors.
The steering committee has been laying the groundwork for the debut of the minor for the last year. It was officially approved near the conclusion of the spring 2012 semester. An Introduction to Entrepreneurship pilot class was offered in the spring of 2011.
The Pioneer Launch Lab was formed in the spring 2012 semester to assist students in their entrepreneurial endeavors. The lab, located in Pioneer Tower, will be available this year as well.
Prior entrepreneurship offerings included about five to seven events per year for the students. Half of the events were competitions, while the other events were seminars, conferences and meetings with area entrepreneurs.
This year’s events include a Meet-N-Eat with an Entrepreneur on Oct. 22, Elevator Pitch Competition on Nov. 14, business plan workshops on Feb. 12 and March 12 and a Business Plan Competition on April 17.
Steering committee member Dr. Susan Hansen, chair of the UW–Platteville Business and Accounting Department, said the skills that will be learned in the entrepreneurship minor will not only be beneficial to students who start their own businesses, but they will be attractive to potential employers as well.
“Entrepreneurship happens within companies, too,” said Hansen. “Companies often want entrepreneurial-type people who can think outside of the box.”
“This is just as much for that person who ends up working for a company some day as it is for that person who wants to start their own business,” said Bernhardt. “I can’t think of an employer out there that doesn’t want employees who are more innovative and creative and more entrepreneurial.”
Steering committee members are confident students will be excited about the new minor.
“The students are really eager to look at that entrepreneurial piece and see what they can do on their own in a smaller setting,” said Bernhardt. “At this age they don’t have that fear.”
Bernhardt said faculty members from across campus are also eager to see the new program progress. “They see the value of it,” he said.
Hansen said the plan for the minor is to attract students as freshmen and continue to educate them throughout their time on campus, leaving them with skills they can utilize once they earn their degree.
“We want this to be a life-long learning process,” she said.