The Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship (CPSSE) was created in 2009 for the purpose of broadening entrepreneurship teaching and learning across all disciplines and campuses. While entrepreneurship education was offered prior to 2009 in engineering and business, faculty and students in other disciplines desired easier access. The solution spearheaded by an enterprising interdisciplinary team of professors was a new center, independent of any academic discipline and welcoming to all. The goals are to provide:
- powerful pedagogies and state-of-the-art curriculum through an 18-20 credit minor and discipline specific electives to every one of Penn State’s 81,000 undergraduates,
- a wide range of complementary co-curricular programs
- student access to Penn State’s rich entrepreneurship resources and ecosystem of founders, inventors, makers, engaged alumni, and innovation-minded community members at 22 Penn State campuses across the commonwealth.
The centerpiece of the CPPSE’s program is the 18-20 credit Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI), http://enti.psu.edu. It offers a core of 3 courses (9 credits) in entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurial leadership, and new venture creation. Students choose from 10 different tracks (called clusters) to offer deeper dives into a wide variety of markets and opportunities with their attendant skills, knowledge, and social values. The 10 tracks are Advocacy, Art, Bio-tech, Digital Innovation, Food/Bio-innovation, Hospitality, Media, Social Entrepreneurship, Engineering Technology and New Ventures
Every one of Penn State’s 81,000 undergraduates has access to entrepreneurship education, no matter their major, GPA or campus location (of which there are 22 across the Commonwealth). This is no small logistics task. At our small campuses, all have access to a coordinated core of 9 credits in entrepreneurship and more than half (about 42,000) have access to the full minor.
- In the last four years, 8,500 students from 133 majors (of which there are 275) have enrolled in at least one Center course.
- Enrollment grew rapidly since the founding of ENTI in 2013 to become the third largest minor at Penn State (of which there are 200).
- Since the founding of the ENTI minor 8 years ago, 804 students have completed it.
- Each of the 10 tracks in the ENTI minor was founded by an entrepreneurial faculty member in her or his discipline. This is highly unusual at a large bureaucratic institution. Our only criteria for creating a new track are that it must be open to students in any major, it must have a faculty member champion (not an administrator), and it must be distinct from the other tracks. The tracks, called “clusters,” are Advocacy, Art, Bio-tech, Digital Innovation, Food/Bio-innovation, Hospitality, Media, Social Entrepreneurship, Engineering Technology and New Ventures. It is common for a biology major to minor in ENTI-New Media, for a theatre major to take ENTI-New Ventures or a journalism major to do the ENTI-hospitality track.
- The faculty leadership team that governs the ENTI minor and oversees curriculum and co-curriculars are scholars from a wide range of disciplines including agriculture, journalism, hospitality, management, engineering, information sciences, biotechnology, communications, and music. Eight of the 10 scholars were or are entrepreneurs.
- Lion LaunchPad, the Center’s brand for co-curricular programming, hosts both a dorm and a maker space for student-entrepreneurs in any major.
- The Center created a faculty-led study abroad course in international entrepreneurship leadership that took students from several majors to Israel in 2018 and 2019. The Spring 2020 program to Colombia was canceled, as were all PSU study abroad programs.