Innovation and entrepreneurship are often used in association with each other when describing an organization’s efforts to try new things. Entrepreneurship is one of our flagship programs here at the College of Business; its core principles – creativity, strategic risk-taking, and perseverance – appear in many of our programs. Building the requisite attributes and skills to produce entrepreneurs—better yet—innovative and opportunity-oriented thinkers improves the lives of our graduates and achieves our mission.
Our renowned Entrepreneurship Minor and the Entrepreneurship MBA demonstrates our enthusiasm for teaching these skills. Entrepreneurship education as an analytical and creative endeavor requires teaching innovative thinking and calculated experimentation from a solid business foundation. This entails more than classroom instruction; students also need practice and hands-on involvement. By encouraging off-campus participation in Louisville’s startup community and developing programs including VetStart and LaunchIt Louisville, we are supporting a local ecosystem for innovation and economic growth. LaunchIt presents new venture creation concepts to beginning entrepreneurs and encourages further learning. VetStart aids former military service members by developing their entrepreneurial business skills as they transition to civilian life.
Each year, our Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship brings together the best MBA student business plan teams from universities around the world to compete in the Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge. This robust test of skill, analysis, and creativity begins the annual spring business plan competition circuit. The winners of the Cardinal Challenge go on to compete in competitions sponsored by other universities giving students valuable experience presenting their new-venture ideas to investor judges. Teams compete as part of the MBA curriculum and for the possibility of winning cash and awards for their startups.
We are proud of the many entrepreneurship graduates who have successfully launched businesses in our community. Much, in fact most, of these successes can be attributed to foundations laid by Professor Van Clouse. Van came to UofL in 1986 and has transformed the entrepreneurial offerings at the college and created the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship. The Forcht Center rigorously prepares students for successful ventures and careers with essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes for identifying and evaluating important opportunities. Our successful alumni make a long list and represent companies of all sizes and in many industries. Some of them include Acion, Bluegrass Barrels, Credit Fair-E, Cuddle Clones, Edj Analytics, Flying Axes, InScope Medical Technologies, Meta Construction Technologies, Mobileserve, Super Fan U and U.S. Chia.
As you can see in our featured articles this month, we have successfully passed on our passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. We are continually making changes and improvements to better our campus and community. We invite you to follow our lead as we try to better lives and change the world.
Dean, University of Louisville College of Business