Franklin University is debuting a new Entrepreneurship Degree program this fall, teaching students the formal processes required to build a business.
Franklin sees three main targets for the program. It’s not only for students who want to learn how to launch their own businesses, “But also for existing managers who want to progress in their company through entrepreneurial thinking, and also for those who aspire to advance non-profit organizations by creating social entrepreneurship programs,” Program Chair Terry Boyd says.
Franklin had been contemplating the degree program for a few years, initially waiting until they were sure they could develop a curriculum meeting the high standards they wanted to achieve. Boyd investigated further and was convinced they could create the program – a sentiment echoed by Franklin’s community college partners who encouraged the degree.
“We are a school of choice for many, many community colleges in Ohio and beyond, and they thought it would be a good idea, particularly the technical schools, for us to create an entrepreneurship program so students could learn the management aspect of business and how to really launch a business,” Boyd says.
The program also aligned with the university’s desire to continue providing relevant programs to current and potential students. “Franklin also felt a void in its programming,” Boyd says. “We have business and management programs that teach you how to operate within a business. We have programs that teach you how to lead a business, but what we did not have is a program that taught you how to start a business.”
Programming is primarily directed at transfer students that have technical backgrounds or technical associate’s degrees, but since entrepreneurship is not a discipline, the program can really be advantageous to anyone. As Boyd describes it, the program is for, “Those that have mastery over a particular area or discipline that they feel very passionate about creating a business around.”
Boyd also expects to see students that have initiated some type of business idea but need help getting to the next step.
Community resources, experienced faculty and coursework will combine to prepare students for the path to entrepreneurship.
Boyd has over 18 years of experience with Franklin in various capacities. He’s chaired the MBA program and acted as the associate dean of the college of business. Chairing the entrepreneurship program is utilizing his other skill sets of starting lines of products or services within corporations – a task that requires entrepreneurial thinking.
Behind Boyd’s leadership is a team of experienced faculty. Each has been heavily involved in launching or investing in new businesses, giving them a keen understanding of the challenging road to entrepreneurship, as well as insights on probable investment success.
The core classes will help students develop the management skills and business acumen necessary to be a business owner.
The first course will cover the foundations of business while also challenging students on their desire to be entrepreneurs. Are they willing to take risks and do they possess the resilience to keep going?
“We talk about a lot of the areas that one has to be cognisant of if you’re going to be not just a creator of business, but someone who actually manages and runs a business,” Boyd says.
The second and third courses will dig deeper into a variety of topics including marketing, reaching customers, creating a niche for ideas, as well as developing a business plan. Students can expect to discuss developing accounting, finance and HR resources, and also how to go from launching to growing.
The program will wrap up with a capstone course that will give students a chance to design and imagine how the company would operate and really put their business plan into action, allowing them to look at areas where they are strong versus where they need to grow. Once the course is complete, if a student desires, the university will connect them with a network of organizations and coaches to help them get to the next phase.
Building that network of incubators, accelerators and other entrepreneurial organizations is another important part of the program. Boyd says they are currently working on building partnerships with a number of such organizations around Columbus. Franklin wants to provide a support network beyond just earning the degree.
The program will add to the number of resources that are priming Columbus for the next big idea. “Columbus seems to be a hub, a place where new ideas are accepted and have the possibility of flourishing if the right support and structure is provided for these things to happen,” Boyd says.
He has been pleased with the response to the program even with the limited marketing efforts thus far.
Some may question if entrepreneurship is something that can be taught, but Boyd describes the fine line between entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit.
“You can teach entrepreneurship, you just can’t teach the entrepreneurial spirit,” he says. “If one has the entrepreneurial spirit then that means that they have the motivation, they have the passion passion and you can teach them the formal processes to build around that. But if one does not have that spirit and or that passion, then you can teach them the formal processes, but will they have the tenacity to risk starting something over and over again because at first they don’t succeed?”
And the program hopes to do just that – provide those with the tenacity to start a business the formal processes to turn their ideas into reality.
For more information on Franklin University’s Entrepreneurship Degree Program, click here.