Jan. 13, 2005--To help keep pace with the proliferation of offerings at other colleges and universities across the nation, the University of Missouri-Columbia is unveiling several new entrepreneurship courses this semester.
A new graduate course for MU's College of Business, along with undergraduate problem-solving and business-planning courses, will be offered for the first time starting in January. These classes will take a hands-on approach to starting and running a small business.
The new courses come, in part, because of a growing demand for such offerings from the student body. Alan Skouby, a professor at MU's School of Business, described the campus as abuzz with entrepreneurial energy. Students today have "the feeling of wanting to guide their own destiny than in past generations," he said.
Adjunct professor of management Jake Halliday, who will be teaching the new graduate-level course geared toward entrepreneurs, suggested that a generation of students have watched their parents work for someone else, and are now deciding that they want more control over their futures. "A job for life isn't alive and well anymore," Halliday said.
The class, called "Launching a High-Growth Venture -- The Business Plan," will require students to collaborate and create formal plans for growth-oriented businesses. One team will ultimately represent MU in the Big XII Business Plan Competition in March.
Halliday also heads the Missouri Innovation Center (MIC), a non-profit organization with an office on each campus in the University of Missouri system. MIC was formed to stimulate and promote entrepreneurship among students, faculty, and local residents. Three to five new entrepreneurs walk through the MIC doors on the MU campus every week, according to Halliday.
Paul Pattison graduated from MU's College of Engineering in December. Last year, he met with Halliday, and pitched his idea for PictureCloud.com, a free Web service that allows anyone with a digital camera to create a panoramic 360-degree image in only five-minutes.
"Jake [Halliday] provided me with resources and office space," said Pattison, who launched PictureCloud.com in January after a year of research and development. MIC also helped Pattison raise seed money and introduced him to contacts in the software industry. Though his marketing push is just beginning, Pattison already has a five-year outlook.
Skouby and Professor Gregory Bier direct the Flegel-Source Interlink Academy for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, which will open its doors to undergraduate students during the spring 2006 semester. Leslie Flegel, a graduate of the MU College of Business, and his company, Bonita Springs, Fla.-based Source Interlink, are funding the academy.
Students must apply to the academy, which will hold regular meetings and offer guest speakers, special classes in business planning, and problem-solving and idea competitions. "I'm confident this will make a real difference on campus," Skouby said.
"Today there's a real place for entrepreneurship education for all students," said Judith Cone, vice president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo.-based organization devoted to entrepreneurship and education. Cone says that the biggest trend right now is to teach entrepreneurship to students regardless of their chosen field of study -- an approach that the Flegel-Source Interlink Academy is taking.
The number of courses in entrepreneurship at two- and four-year colleges and universities is up 175% from 20 years ago, according to a study conducted in January by the Kauffman Foundation.
Since December 2003, the foundation has awarded funds to eight American universities, enabling them to create entrepreneurship education for any student regardless of their chosen field of study.