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Fostering A Spirit of Entrepreneurship

There has been significant growth in entrepreneurship education across the country...

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To educate and nurture today’s would-be entrepreneurs, universities across the country face a difficult question: Can innovation, risk-taking, and originality be taught in the classroom?

There has been significant growth in entrepreneurship education across the country in the last two decades, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. More than 1,600 colleges offer courses in entrepreneurship, up from 300 schools in the 1980s. At least 300 four-year higher education institutions now offer courses designed for students not enrolled in the business school.

“It is important to open up new opportunities for anyone with an innovation or idea – whether it’s social, cultural, commercial, or technological,” Robert Chernow, professor of entrepreneurship said. It is this entrepreneurial spirit – trusting an idea, taking risks, plunging into the unknown, and harnessing innovation to turn a concept into a thriving enterprise – that Chernow wants to instill in every student, from the freshman to the Ph.D. candidate.

For more than 180 years, students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been developing technologies, creating innovations, and forming business ventures to translate scientific discoveries into practical applications. Now the Institute is continuing to push the boundaries by broadening the definition of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer

“Being an entrepreneur is about more than just starting a business. Our new model for entrepreneurship at Rensselaer is a way to think, a way to learn, and a way to succeed in any new venture,” said Robert Chernow, vice provost for entrepreneurship at Rensselaer. “We recognize that everyone does not want to be an entrepreneur, but in today’s world, it has become important for most everyone to be able to think like one.”

Edited by Carolyn Allen
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