By Alyssa Shields
The Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (ELC) is a program within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) with the initiative to bring entrepreneurship to universities across the state. The program is new to KU; however, almost all PASSHE universities have an ELC program.
One of their programs is their business competition on Nov. 21. Anyone who wants to participate may sign up online. The competition is a local option for students to test their initial business idea. This will be the third year for the local competition that provides students with an opportunity to enter a business plan and compete for startup dollars for the establishment of their future Entrepreneurial business. The local competition is underway and will culminate with the live business idea presentations on Thursday Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.
The ELC was started to create new academic entrepreneurial leadership courses and collaborative opportunities for university students and faculty through their interactions with each other as well as with entrepreneurs, industry and non-profit leaders in the region. Its goal is to provide an entrepreneurship web portal with links to online material and course content, supports a business plan competition, supports area Jump Start Incubators, engages in entrepreneurial curriculum development and supports the development of faculty and student consultancy teams. The center aims to redefine the meaning of entrepreneurship on campus.
In 2011, KU was given a three-year grant to develop courses about entrepreneurship. They are meant to engage both students and faculty in entrepreneurship. The curriculum development is intended to be ongoing, and new classes are offered for students. Some of the new courses this semester include Spanish for entrepreneurship, the age of enterprise, taxation and wealth creation for the new entrepreneur, nonprofit organizational management and personal fitness trainer. These classes differ in the number of credits offered. The money is used towards the curriculum, the offices located in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and other programs.
Like the SBDC, the ELC is open to any student who is interested in starting a business. Though the SBDC works with outside people, the ELC is open solely for students and extends further into the campus community. It helps to develop curriculum, work with faculty and encourage students to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice. The SBDC then plays a role once the student gets on the path for a career in business.
The ELC wants to show students that while they may be studying history, writing or biology, there are always career opportunities for them with entrepreneurship.
Peter Hornberger, a board member of the ELC, said, “The ELC is meant to show [there are] other pathways in your career involving entrepreneurship.”
There are internships that are offered, which are available to all students. These internships connect students with specific businesses that are looking for interns in all types of discipline.
“It gives students an opportunity to show off their skills,” said Hornberger.