Like most people, I used to think that entrepreneurship was narrowly defined as the process of starting a new business. Like most people, I could not have been more wrong.
The truth is that the talented artists, biologists, sociologists, computer scientists, social workers, education majors, and quite literally every other discipline on campus have as much to offer the field of entrepreneurship as do our business students and future entrepreneurship majors.
Business students and self-identified entrepreneurs are critical, but we also need the artists’ ability to create something out of nothing. We need the biologists who are consummate systems thinkers with an inherent grasp of the complexity that drives innovation. Recognizing that, at its core, business is about leveraging existing behaviors to create new ones means our sociologists are invaluable to CX, UX and UI design. When paired with our anthropologists that are trained to observe people in context and rigorously document their insights, you get results that are greater than the sum of its parts. We need our computer scientists to translate the non-technical founder’s ideas into functional applications and the communication skills of our education majors who know how to connect people to new ideas. And last but certainly not least, we need our social workers who are driven by person-centered values to uncover the root causes and complex social contexts of problems.
Without a doubt, we know now that students of any discipline bring value to the entrepreneurial process and are equally confident that students of any field will derive personal and professional value from participating in even a single entrepreneurship course. With that in mind, the courses that make up UMSL’s new Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Certificate are grounded in the understanding that students of all disciplines have key roles to play under the “big tent” being built in real-time by our entrepreneurship faculty and staff. Of course, the 10% or so of students enrolled in entrepreneurship courses on campus who do want to launch their own businesses are as well supported at UMSL as they are anywhere else in the country and we’re proud of the fact that the faculty teaching the courses that make up the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Certificate are all practicing entrepreneurs with decades of combined experience in launching a wide range of ventures – by our very nature, each of us are passionate advocates for every student founder with whom we have the honor of working.
As a result, the range of problems we can now tackle, the intentions beyond profits we bring, and the appreciation that collaboration – whether between disciplines, between producers and consumers, or between sectors of the economy – makes entrepreneurship a unique space in the university where students of all backgrounds and interests are valued and welcome. Whether a student decides to launch a venture or not or pursues a career in the private, public, or social sectors, we’re confident that the ones equipped with the tools of entrepreneurship and innovation will be the future MVPs of any organization or business.
If all that isn’t enough to convince a student to check out Introduction to Entrepreneurship (ENT 1001), Social Entrepreneurship (EDUC 2002), or any of the dozen or so classes taught across the university, the fact that these classes have no tests, no midterms, and are fast paced, engaging, and a ton of fun hopefully will.
To find out more about the ever-growing number of entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities both in and outside of the classroom, please contact your trusted academic advisor or the welcoming staff of UMSL Accelerate!