This fall I’ll be embedded* with ENT 300: Ideas to Opportunities: Feasibility Analysis.
*Embedded? Yes another issue of limited terminology. It would be an exaggeration to claim I’m co-teaching this class, like I continue to do with International Marketing. Instead, for ENT 300 I’ll be attending all the classes, in charge of the class when Professor Dianne Welsh is speaking in Europe for two weeks in October (and also taking care of her ENT 337: Family Business class those weeks), helping design a graded research assignment or two, and consulting with all the student teams in the classroom (as will be the SCORE mentors) throughout the semester. So I’ll call this work “embedded” until we come up with a more descriptive term for that kind of classroom involvement.
I’ve been involved with our cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship program since it began to form around five years ago, but this is the first ENT class I will be embedded in. Professor Welsh started up the program, and it has won three national awards recently. There are now over forty courses and twenty academic departments involved.
In addition to working with the expected business majors taking these classes, it has been interesting to work with the arts students (like dance majors) and social science students (ex. for social entrepreneurship classes) on challenging research projects involving sources like SimplyMap. Those non-business majors tend to be highly motivated and enthusiastic to learn what I consider to be at least relatively challenging business research skills.
According to its short description ENT 300 “provides the knowledge and skills to develop a feasibility plan for a new business venture, which will be the basis for developing a business plan.” The students who pass ENT 300 take ENT 336: Opportunities to Action: Business Plan the following semester. ENT 336 “provides students with the knowledge and skills to develop their feasibility plan into a business plan for a new venture, which culminates in a business plan competition.” This progression has worked out well for research instruction and student consultations. My ENT 300 guest-teaching has focused on identifying market demand and measuring market size, while for ENT 336 we work on benchmarking the financials of start-ups.
I’m sure I will learn a lot about entrepreneurship by being in this class, and hope to develop closer relationships with the SCORE volunteers (as well as the students).
What I worry about with the entrepreneurship program is teaching the same research topics to the same students. I provide instruction for the freshmen in the entrepreneurship Learning Communities (who help manage the student-run store, the Spartan Trader), the campus entrepreneurship class (regarding very local market research), and ENT 300 and 336. There’s duplication in what I cover, even if we expect increased research competencies with the older kids. I need to work with the ENT faculty to draft a curriculum-integrated research skills plan, now that the growing program seems all fleshed out.
But at least I have finally learned how to spell entrepreneurship!