Schools Offering Entreprenuership Courses Increase

( [email protected] ) Jan 12, 2004 12:02 PM EST

Entrepreneurship, a subject once unpopular by universities, now attracts many schools as the student demand for entrepreneurship education is increasing: Christian schools are not an exception, USA Today reported.

The number of universities that offer entrepreneurship education in undergraduate and MBA programs grew from 25 in 1997 to 170 schools now showing "huge growth," says Donald Kuratko, head of the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, an academic trade group.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently awarded $25 million to eight U.S. universities to support entrepreneurship education.

Texas Christian University added an undergrad entrepreneurship major two years ago. More than 200 students are enrolled, three times what the traditional business management major once had.

Rochester, one of the recipients of Kauffman award, will use part of its $3.5 million to teach management of orchestras and other professional music companies to music students.

Education experts explain that historically, universities taught students about big-company finance and organizational behavior such as Fortune 500 companies but it changed in the 1990s, after research showed that most jobs are created by start-ups – during that time universities taught little about start-ups, such as developing business plans and seeking venture capital.

Along with increased demand by students of entrepreneurship education, thinking self-employment is safer than working for big corporations, big companies are also seeking for students with entrepreneurship skills so that they can compete better against start-ups.

One other reason why universities are more open to offering entrepreneurship education is that they discovered entrepreneurs and companies are more willing to support schools that teach entrepreneurship.

The University of Michigan got $10 million from real estate mogul Samuel Zell and Ann Lurie, widow of Zell's partner Robert Lurie, to create an entrepreneurship center in 1999. Babson, near Boston, started a similar center with a $5 million donation from Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot. Last October, Babson College and five historically black colleges, including Atlanta's Morehouse College, got $75,000 from Ford Motor to develop black entrepreneurship programs.