Butler University's College of Business has created a major in
entrepreneurship and innovation for business students and a minor
in that subject matter that will be available to students
The new major will add classes in creativity and innovation,
entrepreneurial finance, social entrepreneurship (creating
organizations that do social good), sales and marketing, and web
design/commerce. It also will require students to take the existing
practicum class, in which they operate a business for a
The minor is designed to bring in students from the sciences,
arts, liberal arts, and other areas to add entrepreneurial training
to their base of knowledge.
"This puts us in rare company," Dean Chuck Williams said. "If
you want to be an entrepreneur, you can actually get experiential
learning here doing it for four years. We want to create an
environment so that when students leave Butler, they're able to
start the business they conceptualized here."
First-year Butler business students are required to take the
yearlong Freshman Business Experience course in which they draft a
business plan as part of an Introduction to Business course.
They present their work to a panel of marketing executives as
part of the Top Dawg Business Plan Competition.
During the first semester of sophomore year, business students
take the Real Business Experience class, in which they get $400 to
start a business. Typically, Williams said, they make tons of
mistakes, rip up their business plan and rewrite it by Thanksgiving
break. About half the sophomores go on to actually run their
business in the second semester as part of the practicum class.
The new major, then, "will give our students the opportunity in
their junior and senior years to take one more shot at running a
business," Williams said.
Professor of Finance Bill Templeton said the entrepreneurship
and innovation major and minor took about 16 months to put
together. Two faculty members who have a keen interest in
entrepreneurship were added, along with instructors with
significant entrepreneurial experience.
"So we have academic and professional experience on board,"
Assistant Professor of Management Denise Williams said that, in
creating the college's eighth major, the COB is not just developing
entrepreneurs but an entrepreneurial mindset among students.
"It's not necessarily just developing students who will start
their own business, but all the elements of training that go into
these programs create this thought perspective that's valuable in
any corporation, non-profit, for-profit large or small," she said.
"That's the competitive advantage our students are being exposed
Assistant Professor of Management Stephanie Fernhaber said she's
seen that entrepreneurial mindset in a number of students,
including one last year whose team won the Top Dawg competition.
The student said his father had always talked about starting a
business but never did.
But the student did. Last summer, he started a food stand in a
"It maybe broke even," Fernhaber said. "But I think he was so
proud of himself that he actually did it. That's one of the things
we give our students-the confidence to take that leap."
Download the curriculum sheets.
and Innovation Major