MSU doubles down on student entrepreneurship

Posted at 10:29 AM, Nov 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-18 10:29:05-05

Michigan State University is doubling down on its commitment to student entrepreneurship by joining the Clinton Global Initiative University and offering a campuswide minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

The announcement comes during Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 16-22) and on the eve of former President Bill Clinton’s Wednesday visit to MSU. Clinton created the CGI U to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

“Michigan State is committed to creating an entrepreneurial culture on campus and preparing our students to solve the world’s most pressing problems in innovative ways and to embark on careers that won’t resemble those of the past,” said Neil Kane, who started July 1 as MSU’s first director of undergraduate entrepreneurship.

Commitment to action

The CGI U Network is a consortium of colleges and universities that provides support, mentoring and seed funding to student entrepreneurs. Students develop a “commitment to action” to explain how they might solve a social problem in areas such as education, environment and public health.

Select students are chosen to attend the CGI U’s annual meeting. By joining the initiative, MSU pledges to financially support students invited to the meeting, which next takes place April 1-3 at the University of California, Berkeley.

Raeuf Roushangar, an MSU doctoral student in biochemistry, attended the CGI U at Washington University in St. Louis in April 2013. As part of his commitment to action, Roushangar formed a nonprofit organization that to date has donated more than $1 million worth of medical supplies to the developing world. A 2015 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, Roushangar is working to create new computational methods to track responses to diseases. His goal, he says, is “to help revolutionize medicine.”

At least two MSU students have applied for next year’s CGI U: a neuroscience freshman from Ghana who is creating a mentoring program similar to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and a computer science sophomore from Ethiopia who is working on a software application to make college more accessible to students in Ethiopia. Both students are part of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, another global education initiative at MSU.

MSU students interested in making a commitment to action for the CGI U can contact Kane at (312) 404-3507 or

Commitment to education

With the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which starts in the spring semester of 2016, MSU establishes a way for students to develop entrepreneurship skills whether they aspire to start a business or become more competitive candidates for traditional employers.

Required for the minor are 15 credit hours consisting of two core courses and an assortment of electives that allow students to tailor the curriculum toward their interests. The minor signifies that entrepreneurship is not just a business discipline. It applies equally well to musicians, journalists, lawyers, theater majors and engineers.

“A university is an ideal setting for students to experience the entrepreneurial journey because there is no financial or professional risk in trying,” Kane said. “Once students leave campus, the cost, which is measured in many ways, goes up a lot.”

The minor is an additional part of MSU’s resources for entrepreneurship and innovation. Other resources include the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which teaches students about entrepreneurship; the Hive and the Hatch, both student idea incubators; and Spartan Innovations, which turns MSU research technologies into businesses. MSU is creating a portal for its entrepreneurship resources at

MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt noted that innovation often occurs at the intersection of disciplines.

“The new Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation represents another significant step forward in a series of commitments MSU is making to develop learning environments that foster multidisciplinary entrepreneurship,” said Youatt.

Source: MSU Today