Penn State Behrend launches new entrepreneurship and innovation minor

ERIE, Pa. — A billion-dollar idea isn’t worth the napkin it’s written on if the inventor doesn’t know what to do next. A new minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will teach students of all majors how to advance an original idea by solving problems, recognizing opportunities and learning from failure while launching a start-up or innovating within an existing company.

The ENTI program is an intercollege minor with online and in-person instruction. The program’s core courses help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset, along with the leadership and communication skills needed to support that style of thinking.

Penn State Behrend will offer a specialization in New Ventures — teaching students to develop markets, manage intellectual property and balance limited resources. The program supports the college’s open-lab initiative, in which business leaders, faculty members and students engage in research and product development as teams. The problem-based learning curriculum will prepare students to adapt to changing market conditions and take advantage of entrepreneurial resources, including the Innovation Commons lab, the Ignite Erie Industry+University Business Acceleration Collaborative and Invent Penn State, which offers business start-up training and incubation and support for University-community collaborations.

“The ENTI minor is a wonderful fit for our business outreach initiatives,” said Greg Filbeck, director of the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend. “It speaks to Penn State’s mission as a land-grant institution, and it advances our vision of working with businesses in Erie and across western Pennsylvania.”

Some of today’s most successful companies were launched by student entrepreneurs. Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room. Google began as a Stanford research project. FedEx first took shape in a University of Texas term paper. The ENTI program will prepare students to fully develop their own business ideas, or to innovate within an existing company.

“Businesses survive over time only if they continue to innovate, adapt and reposition themselves in evolving markets,” said Diane Parente, chair of interdisciplinary programs in the Black School of Business. “The ENTI minor will prepare our graduates to create businesses, manage those changes and continue to expand with the market. They skills they learn will impact both new and existing businesses in and beyond Erie.”

ENTI is an 18-credit program open to students of all majors. Courses in the New Ventures cluster will be offered at Penn State Behrend beginning this fall. For more information, contact Linda Hajec, lecturer in accounting, at [email protected].