Entrepreneurship program provides real-world experiences for MSU students

Posted at 8:25 AM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 08:25:52-04

Michigan State University undergraduate students can take knowledge gained in the classroom and apply it to firsthand experiences through a new offering this fall called the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Experiences Program.

Through small projects known as "E&I Experiences," students from any major can gain additional skills by adding entrepreneurial content to their coursework.

A companion to the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, E&I Experiences are completed during the semester and overseen by a faculty member. Successful completion will be recognized on a student’s transcript next to the course name.

“The E&I Experiences Program is, by design, inclusive of and applicable to all undergraduate students, regardless of their chosen majors or minors,” said Neil Kane, director of Undergraduate Entrepreneurship. “This program allows any undergraduate to add elements of entrepreneurship and innovation to their program – and to tailor those projects to suit their interests whether they are directly related to their major or not.”

Kane offered examples such as “a music major who wants to launch an Indiegogo campaign, a social science major who wants to refine a project to promote public health in Africa, an engineering student with an idea for a new technology to purify water, a business major who wants to form a data analytics startup or a graphic design major who wants to open an organic food restaurant.”

The program is designed by the student, with participation from a faculty member, to suit their ambitions. Students can also have E&I Experiences by participating in business plan competitions, going through entrepreneurial boot camps, as well as building and launching new companies. If students decide to launch a company, they can transition their work to MSU’s campus incubator, The Hatch, where they may receive funding and ongoing support.

“Ultimately, our goal is to see our students develop an entrepreneurial mindset and be well prepared professionally and personally,” Kane said. “Critical thinking, problem-solving, self-motivation, accountability: these are qualities that will serve our students well regardless of their career path and they all come from developing an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Kane added that the MSU campus and greater Lansing community offer an interconnected entrepreneurship ecosystem for students.

“It is that ecosystem that gives weight and support to the new E&I Experiences Program,” he said. “Students can fulfill the program’s requirements just outside their doors.”