Wednesday December 21, 2016

ENT 101

In late summer Entrepreneurship 101 welcomed its inaugural class from across the US, and from as far away as China, to a unique and rigorous introduction to entrepreneurship presented by one of the most recognized ENT programs in the country.

Vince Lewis, Director of the Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the School of Business Administration, worked with Enrollment Management to recruit participants from rising high school juniors and seniors as well as first-year college students who lacked exposure to entrepreneurship. At-risk, marginalized, and/or inner-city students were given priority among those who applied for the program.  Seven students were accepted and housed in University dorms for two weeks, accompanied by UD Residential Assistants (RAs)

ENT 101 set a goal for participants to create a practical business plan using the Business Model Canvas. To be successful they had to quickly pick up concepts such as customer discovery, pivot and raising capital for a start-up.  The students also worked on building a financial forecast for their start-up, and learned the critical importance of cash flow for all closely held businesses. The program culminated with formal presentations to a panel of academic and professional judges who assessed the work on several targeted outcomes. Those deemed to have done the best jobs presenting the cost effective ideas were awarded prizes provided by Enrollment Management: an IPad Pro, IPad Air, and IPod Touch.

Outside the classroom, the group visited area firms, including Mike Sell’s Potato Chips, Logos @Work, Prime Controls, and Nucleus Co-Share. While meeting with entrepreneurial-minded business owners, participants observed some of the daily tasks that drive a successful enterprise. Here on campus, ArtStreet director Brian LaDuca hosted a workshop on “ideation” to help participants learn how to think outside the box and develop new start-up ideas, and Rebecca Blust, director of the School of Engineering’s Innovation Center, treated the group to a tour of the Rapid Prototyping Center where they learned about the importance of prototyping in the process of creating a start-up.

The program was an eye-opener for Lewis, who never taught high school students before. “I watched these students gain the confidence to come up with, and present, an idea that may or may not work.”  He knows firsthand the obstacles that entrepreneurs encounter taking a business from concept to execution, and is happy to say, “These young people now have the tools to take an idea forward using research, networking, and proven techniques.” In addition to these benefits, “College credit was also earned for the 3-hour course. Participants who enroll at UD and qualify for the ENT program will be able to apply these toward graduation. One has already enrolled this fall, and another plans to apply next year.”  After this successful program launch, Lewis is excited about plans to increase the number of accepted applicants next summer.

The program wasn’t all work and no play. Trips to the National Museum of the US Air Force and other cultural attractions were arranged by the RAs and Enrollment Management staff.

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