UCCS creating entrepreneurship minor

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Next semester, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will offer students a minor in entrepreneurship.

The move is designed to spur regional economic development.

Tom Duening, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and El Pomar Chair of Business and Entrepreneurship, will lead the College of Business-based program. Duening came to UCCS in 2009,  with a long history of entrepreneurial efforts and education.

“We are motivated by the belief that entrepreneurship is the next-generation social force,” said Venkat Reddy, dean of the College of Business. “The more entrepreneurs we create, the stronger the force becomes.”

Startup companies in the United States are creating an average of three million jobs annually, according to Duening. In contrast, large companies are decreasing their U.S. workforces.

“If we want to dig out of this lingering jobs recession, we have to train, encourage, and assist startup ventures in our community and country,” Duening said.

The new minor can be paired with any UCCS major and includes core business courses as well as courses specific to the development of entrepreneurs. The program will begin in fall 2011.

Duening will teach an initial course “New Venture Creation” to introduce students to opportunity identification, evaluation, and feasibility. Students who continue in the program will learn issues surrounding venture creation including funds needed for launch, growth, and exit. Students will prepare business plans and will present their plans to groups of seasoned investors.

The new minor in entrepreneurship is unique in Colorado Springs and is part of a larger effort undertaken by the Center for Entrepreneurship to build southern Colorado.

“The region is a perfect laboratory for experiments in new venture creation,” Duening said. “It has tremendous untapped potential and is certainly a must-go destination for entrepreneurs outside the region as well. I’m really excited to begin teaching in this new program.”

Duening directed entrepreneurial programs at Arizona State University from 2004 to 2009. He also launched the Arizona Technology Investor Forum and previously directed the University of Houston’s Entrepreneur and Venture Development Center and was assistant dean for administration and executive programs in the UH College of Business. He also served as president of U.S. Learning Systems and vice president for content development for Edgia, Inc. He is the author of 12 books on entrepreneurship, including, “Technology Entrepreneurship.”