Redesigned DU Entrepreneurship Program to Prepare Students for Futures Inside Existing Organizations as Well as New Ventures

The conventional view limits entrepreneurship to launching and growing your own business. The redesigned entrepreneurship program in Duquesne University's Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, starting this fall, will surpass that expectation by also offering students interested in joining larger corporations, government agencies and nonprofits a foundation in the entrepreneurial mindset.

"In today's rapidly evolving business environment, companies and organizations of all stripes and sizes desperately need employees with entrepreneurship skills if they are to survive, much less adapt and grow," said Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of the business school. "Students will experience what it's like to be a real entrepreneur under the guidance of outstanding faculty and mentors."

These experiences are not just academic, but actual business creation and operation, explained Dr. Jack Mason, director of the entrepreneurship program. "In their first course, new entrepreneurship majors will be working in teams, over two semesters, to conceive, launch, run and exit a micro-business," Mason said. "The school has secured donor funding to launch each team with $5,000-and we anticipate that this part of the program will be self-sustaining.

"These types of experiences will distinguish our program graduates as individuals who can recognize and maximize outstanding opportunities," Mason continued. "Entrepreneurship can be paired with any functional business major and will help set our graduates apart. Besides learning the mindset of an innovator within an existing company, students will understand all aspects of startups, serving those who plan new ventures or want to help grow a family business."

As part of the curriculum, students will engage with successful entrepreneurs, attend startup community events and have classes in accelerator and incubator spaces. They'll also be involved with BlueTree Allied Angels, an alliance of accredited investors interested in early-stage companies. Entrepreneurship majors attend BlueTree meetings and help screen applicants for funding. Best of all, they will also be able to invest real money, thanks to a generous donor.

These programmatic changes dovetail with the arrival of the school's inaugural holder of the Merle E. Gilliand Professorship in Entrepreneurial Finance. Dr. Peter Gianiodis, currently an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Clemson University, will step into the professorship on July 1. This new position is made possible through a special gift from the Gilliand Foundation.

"Dr. Gianiodis' experience in the banking industry, his research in tech commercialization, entrepreneurship and innovation as well as his impressive teaching experiences are an unbeatable combination. We are thrilled that Dr. Gianiodis is joining us to help jumpstart our newly redesigned program and connect to our efforts in entrepreneurial finance," McFarlin said.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.