inspirational tales of Horatio Alger to the real-life accomplishments
of Henry Ford, the spirit of enterprise exemplifies the American
work ethic. The contemporary successes of such entrepreneurs
as Bill Gates and Michael Dell have reinvigorated the traditions
of innovation, independence, and calculated risk-taking upon
which this nation was built. Recognizing this power, Syracuse
J. Whitman School of Management will soon launch a bold,
new venture of its own: the Syracuse Comprehensive Entrepreneurship
Initiative (SCEI), a University-wide entrepreneurship program.
School already offers an undergraduate major in entrepreneurship
through its Program in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises
(EEE), which recently was ranked by Entrepreneur magazine
among the nations top 24 such programs. SCEIs
development is being shepherded by Professor Michael Morris,
who holds the Witting Chair in Entrepreneurship. A former
Fulbright Scholar who has taught entrepreneurship at universities
around the world, Morris also has been a principal in four
business start-ups. His goal for the program is to extend
the entrepreneurial mindset beyond the confines of the management
school to all the Universitys schools and colleges.
SCEI, Whitman faculty will work with colleagues from across
campus to design teaching modules that integrate entrepreneurial
concepts and perspectives into a variety of courses. This
will provide opportunities for students from different disciplines
to interact with one another on entrepreneurial issues and
projects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Morris
also envisions additional entrepreneurship-based programs
within the Whitman School that will bring students from across
the University together to collaborate on projects and activities.
He hopes to have the entire SCEI program up and running within
three years, though significant elements should be in place
as early as this fall.
program enjoys strong support within the Whitman School. Entrepreneurship
is our signature theme, explains retiring Dean George
R. Burman. We believe the study of entrepreneurship
and the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set not only
offer our graduates the strongest preparation for successful
careers, but also a philosophy of problem solving and a can-do
attitude that are useful in other aspects of their lives.
wants SCEI to be a comprehensive program with the potential
to touch every student on campus, both in the classroom and
through extracurricular activities and open programs. Among
the initiatives already in place are the Syracuse Entrepreneurial
Competition, a campus-wide student business plan competition
hosted by the EEE program; START-UP: The Syracuse Entrepreneurs
Bootcamp, a course tailored for those aspiring to start businesses
in the area; and the Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Conference, a one-day symposium held last spring that was
sponsored by SUs Michael J. Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship.
The purpose of SCEI is not to get all students on campus
to start businesses, Morris says. The issue here
is more about bringing an entrepreneurial perspective to their
work, and, most importantly, to their lives.
of the entrepreneurial philosophy is not lost on the students.
Angelique Darling 03, who earned a bachelors degree
in marketing and received the EEEs 2003 Outstanding
Entrepreneurship Student Award, has observed a growing interest
in entrepreneurship among her classmates. Entrepreneurship
pushes you to try new things and pursue new interests,
she says. It really complements other majors.
the entrepreneurial spirit across campus, Morris intends to
go door-to-door to all the schools and colleges to meet with
interested deans and faculty members. Entrepreneurship,
more so than just about any field, is inherently cross-disciplinary,
he says. It requires the study of economics, psychology,
marketing, and finance, which makes it the most natural area
for an interdisciplinary program.
study, a cornerstone of SUs Academic Plan, already has
been established as critical to the Universitys future
success. The Academic Plans Strategic Partnerships for
Innovative Research and Education (SPIREs) are designed to
remove barriers that hamper collaboration among students,
faculty, and staff, and to establish priorities for investment
in research and graduate training. SCEI carries the spirit
of the SPIREs forward on a new level. Entrepreneurship
is an ideal platform for cross-disciplinary study, says
Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. I appreciate
that the people behind this program have taken the initiative
to independently identify an opportunity to advance interdisciplinary
of venture capitalism already has broken out of the traditional
confines of business and management classes at such universities
as Duke and Harvard, both of which offer courses on social
entrepreneurship. Morris notes that many business schools
have shifted from the old, functional silo model,
in which academic disciplines existed in mutual isolation,
to an interdisciplinary approach. Babson College in Massachusetts
provides an example. Traditionally centered on business, Babson
has formed a strategic partnership with a new engineering
school, the Olin College of Engineering. Their focus
is the connection between the new engineering school and their
entrepreneurship program, and especially with commercializing
new technologies through entrepreneurial ventures, Morris
says. Similar collaborations are taking place on other campuses,
including Stanford, where an entrepreneurship program is housed
in the engineering school; and the University of Colorado,
where a strong link has been forged between the entrepreneurship
program and the music school.
believes SU can take the lead in pairing entrepreneurship
with other programs through its comprehensive, University-wide
approach. The engineering school or the law school may
have courses where we can help add modules and material,
he says. Morris and law professor Ted Hagelin see a mutually
beneficial connection between entrepreneurship and the College
of Laws Technology Transfer Research Center (TTRC).
The center already brings together cross-disciplinary teams
of science, engineering, and law students to focus on intellectual
property issues, due-diligence research, and market assessments.
It would really benefit students [with law, science,
and engineering backgrounds] to get more exposure to what
is happening on the business side in the entrepreneurship
program, says Hagelin, who directs the TTRC program.
its purely educational benefits, SCEI promises other dividends
as well, particularly in the realm of research. An example
of such an opportunity is already in the works: a proposal
for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for the Syracuse
Technology Cluster Commercialization program. The proposal
involves a partnership with the Whitman School of Management,
the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science,
SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the SUNY College of Environmental
Science and Forestry. It outlines an entrepreneurship model
designed to accelerate the commercialization of innovations
from niche areas of technology. We plan to focus on
interdisciplinary clusters, such as environmental science
[which encompasses such fields as biology, engineering, and
chemistry], and identify emerging technologies, says
Nola Miyasaki, executive
director of the Falcone Center. The program would then assign
students to cross-disciplinary teams to help develop commercialization
plans for those technologies.
of SCEI has also been chosen as 1 of 15 finalists for a $5
million Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant. As a
finalist, we received a $50,000 grant to work on fleshing
out our proposal, Morris says. Chancellor Kenneth A.
Shaw will accompany Morriss team to Kansas City in December
for the competitions final phase. Weve gotten
a lot of University encouragement as a result of developing
this proposal, Morris says. Every dean on campus
signed off on a letter of support.
to create a new awareness of the resources available to all
SU schools and colleges. One idea we really want to
convey is how entrepreneurship can serve people, departments,
faculty, and students, Morris says.
its the value the program brings to students that counts
most. Entrepreneurship is about being different,
says School of Management graduate Kalen Pascal 03,
who served as president of the Entrepreneurship Club on campus
and was the recipient of EEEs 2003 Entrepreneurial Leadership
Award. For his senior project, Pascal helped create a business
plan for an etiquette school for college graduates. The school
would teach such things as table manners, how to dress, and
how to prepare for a job interview. I feel confident
I can succeed because I know how, he says. Entrepreneurship
teaches you to look at one thing from several angles. It helps
you focus and guides your thinking in a unique way that gives
you a leg up on everybody.