The West Virginia University Board of Governors approved the creation of a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation in the College of Business and Economics earlier this month, further promoting the cultivation of entrepreneurial skills across all areas of business.

“This important new academic offering provides students valuable skills that will be useful in any area of business study, and will be uniquely valuable to potential small business owners,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “Our entrepreneurship and innovation major will help West Virginia University prepare and train the successful innovators and creators of tomorrow.”

While it is a new major, entrepreneurship started as an area of emphasis under the management major in 2008. Currently, four courses are taught in the area of emphasis and five new courses will be added to create the major, and will provide considerable breadth and depth of content in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The goal of the new major in entrepreneurship and innovation is to prepare graduates for starting new ventures and for contributing to organizations that aim to launch new products and enter new markets,” said Dr. Abhishek Srivastava, chair of the B&E Department of Management and Industrial Relations and associate professor of management. “Nine courses specifically focused on entrepreneurship and innovation will be offered in the new major. These courses will cover many important topics related to areas such as business planning, managing family businesses, social entrepreneurship, managing creativity and innovation, managing risk and entrepreneurial finance.”

B&E Interim Dean Nancy McIntyre said the new major will benefit from a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in the past, present and future on the WVU campus.

“The College of Business and Economics has hosted the statewide collegiate business plan competition for 10 years and the statewide high school business plan competition for three years,” McIntyre said, “so we have been planting the seeds of entrepreneurship and innovation for some time now. This program will not only benefit the commitment to this area of study at the college level, but also the heightened commitment at the university level. And those are two strong sources of support.”

The new program is complemented by entrepreneurial activity at B&E and across campus. This summer, B&E will host its first-ever Veterans Entrepreneurship Essentials program, an online, hybrid course that includes a virtual classroom and two on-site residencies for current military personnel and discharged veterans. Across the WVU campus, for example, there are now three interconnected labs that provide invaluable resources. In the LaunchLab, students get hands-on experience starting a business; 37 companies have already been launched. In the MakerLab, students use CAD software and 3D printing to design product prototypes. In the CodeLab, students code for both web and mobile apps, skills WVU hopes to teach high school students through a partnership with state public schools. These are two of several initiatives, programs and opportunities available for students at WVU.

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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics


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