Students Learning Value of Entrepreneurship Skills

Today’s marketplace is demanding that graduates not only master the requisite subject matter but also know how to navigate a business environment to get their ideas into action.

That’s the reason why entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing majors/minors in higher education. And it’s why Eastern Kentucky University students are finding the value in Innovation and Entrepreneurship classes and in the entrepreneurship major and minor offered through the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business.

On the first day of Dr. Scott Dust’s class in EKU’s School of Business, students are given $5 of seed money and one simple instruction: go make money. Many students do, in fact, make a modest return, but some truly grasp the big take-away from the exercise: that it’s not simply about the $5 but, rather, leveraging their knowledge, skills and abilities to generate a return.

One student, Daniel Marifjeren of Richmond, recently took that lesson to heart, combining his computer science knowledge with his newfound entrepreneurial savvy to develop a video game for Richmond Underground, a local laser tag arena. Not only did Marifjeren raise the most money in the class; a few weeks later, the firm hired him as its new web developer.

Marifjeren, who’s set to graduate in December, then set out on another entrepreneurial adventure, one focused on corporate branding of information technology products. His first product was an EKU-branded USB bracelet for EKU’s computer science program.

“The computer science department taught me how to create things like websites and videogames,” Marifjeren said, “but the entrepreneurship classes taught me how to actually make a profit from my ideas. I still can’t believe how only one course led me to make money, and get a new job.”

The Kauffman Organization said the recent economic downturn “has only encouraged this perspective. Many young people saw their parents being laid off and their peers having trouble launching traditional careers. Partly out of necessity, today’s students increasingly look to their own talents and ‘personal brands,’ not to corporate paychecks, as the basis for a sturdy future. Among young people, the word has gone out that those without self-starting skills may be at a permanent disadvantage.”

Students interested in the entrepreneurship major or wishing to complement their current major with an entrepreneurship minor can learn more at www.management.eku.edu.

Published on May 16, 2014