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New introductory entrepreneurship course to be offered

The Keller Center will begin offering a new introductory entrepreneurship course, EGR 201: Introduction to Entrepreneurship, in fall 2014 to give students early exposure to entrepreneurship in their university career.

The course, which is co-taught by Keller Center professors John D. Danner, Chris Kuenne, Derek Lidow and Ed Zschau ’61, is designed to encompass the building blocks of entrepreneurship: value creation, finding and creating markets, business models, financials and financing and leadership.

“It was designed to be a survey course of the different flavors of entrepreneurship, whether it’s entrepreneurship to take the technology and create productions and value or whether it’s addressing social issues and global challenges,” Zschau explained.

The course, which will meet two days a week for an hour and a twenty minutes per day, will have students break down into teams and work on projects. Classes will include interactions with guest speakers in addition to discussions and lectures.

“It’s a hands-on, practical approach,” Zschau said. “This would put students in a position to take other entrepreneurship courses or pursue an internship or career in the area in the future.”

Cornelia Huellstrunk, associate director of the Keller Center, noted that these professors, who are already teaching higher-level entrepreneurial courses such as EGR 492: High-Tech Entrepreneurship, agreed on the need for a foundational, comprehensive course that would be open to students earlier on in their University careers.

“There needs to be an entry portal,” she explained. “We’re trying to instill an appreciation for entrepreneurship as a way of life, so it’s not necessarily about students starting startups but rather about understanding entrepreneurship as an approach to life.”

Danner said that the course could be a great window-shopping experience for students who may be curious about entrepreneurship. He said that despite the EGR title, the course is an interdisciplinary class in which students can explore the possibilities of what entrepreneurial adventures can do to advance economic development, to stimulate growth, to solve world problems and to be a challenging and worthwhile endeavor for people’s time and talent.

“It will be a campus-wide introduction to the landscape of entrepreneurship,” Danner said. “As such, it is intended to gear towards students from every possible department.”

Lidow said that the existing 400-level entrepreneurial courses focus on specific aspects of entrepreneurship and do not provide a complete picture. He explained that each of the four professors in EGR 201 will contribute to the new course’s diversity by bringing in their specific field of expertise.

“No two classes will be the same. There will be classes when all four of us will be there. There will be classes when one or two of us will be there,” Lidow noted. “We’re going to mix and match it up because ultimately we want the class to be very dynamic.”

Lidow said that dispelling the myths and distorted views on entrepreneurship and opening students’ eyes to a range of entrepreneurial opportunities is another goal of the course.

Both Danner and Kuenne mentioned that a number of students in their junior and senior years have expressed that they wish they had had exposure to the topic earlier in their time at the University.

Antoine Crepin-Heroux ’17 said he is seriously considering taking this course in the fall because it does not require prerequisites yet still seems to be a good overview of the subject of entrepreneurship.

Danner and Kuenne also noted that there was an expanding portfolio of entrepreneurial courses at the University.

“Princeton is at a critical juncture in terms of defining its role in entrepreneurial education,” Kuenne stated. “We believe that Princeton is uniquely qualified in creating its own version.”

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