By: Nilo Exar, Staff Writer
Student and community innovators pitched ideas and shared experiences at the College of Business and Economics’ entrepreneurship minor kick-off event on Nov. 5.
Director of the new minor Jan Baum said that the entrepreneurship minor, which launched this semester, is not just for business majors.
“It is truly an interdisciplinary minor,” Baum said. “Studies show that entrepreneurs come from content areas or disciplines rather than business. Our goal is to infuse an entrepreneurial ethos throughout the university and make it a hallmark of a Towson University degree.”
There are similar programs at other Maryland public universities, including University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Maryland College Park.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship are economic drivers for both local and national economies,” Baum said.
Initiatives to create the minor at TU were led by Shohreh Kaynama, dean of the College of Business and Economics.
The minor was developed in the last one or two years, according to Baum. The minor program consists of 18 required credits. However, Baum says that two classes, ENTR 110 “Creativity and Idea Development” and ENTR 215 “Start-up Basics” classes will provide students with valuable skills regardless of how far they progress in the minor.
“Creativity is the number one skill that CEOs are looking for in employees today, the ability to think of new ways to solve existing problems,” Baum said.
During the kick-off event, select students presented to the audience through a series of quick “elevator pitches” to sell their idea for a new business or innovation.
Three students, international business major Jiali Chen, computer science major Camy Chhetri and business major Amir Choe presented their vision for a new application called “Eyesee.”
Eyesee would allow students to browse and get notifications for campus events, as well as allowing club officers to manage their clubs more efficiently by adding specific meeting and event information. The creators of Eyesee believe it is innovative ideas like theirs that businesspeople are always looking for.
“Businesspeople have so much to invest and they are always craving new ideas, so why not show them what we have, and if they’re interested, they’ll invest,” Chhetri said.
Sophomore business administration majors Megan and Meredith Price, who founded Café Enactus in Stephens Hall, also attended the kick-off.
They saw a need and an opportunity to create such an establishment in Stephens, as there had previously only been vending machines. The cafe’s stock includes iced and hot coffees, muffins, salads, wraps and other quick meals.
Megan and Meredith Price started their business plan in Fall 2014 as freshmen. The namesake for the café comes from their club, Enactus, which is derived from the words “Entrepreneurial,” “Actions” and “Us.”
“It’s a social entrepreneurship club, so you solve problems in the community and try to find sustainable solutions to help empower the people affected by those problems,” Price said.
Baum reinforced that students from every discipline are encouraged to take classes and take on the minor, saying that many students have the skills to be marketable without the know-how of how to market themselves.
“The entrepreneurship minor will help any student in building their own business rather than relying on what’s out there,” Baum said. “This is a chance to chart your own course.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier edition of this story incorrectly listed University System of Maryland Chancellor Bob Caret as helping to spearhead the program. This mistake has been corrected.