Bryant University's College of Business has announced it will offer a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship degree starting in Fall 2022.
Building on Bryant’s distinctive academic curriculum, which integrates business, the liberal arts and STEM, and with an emphasis on real-world ready preparation and a global mindset, the new Entrepreneurship Program will prepare and empower highly skilled graduates to meet the demand for entrepreneurship in the U.S. and beyond, as well as corporate demand for entrepreneurial leaders. The new degree program is one of several academic initiatives within Bryant University’s Vision 2030 strategic plan, which affirms Bryant’s commitment to education for 21st century skills, knowledge and emerging career opportunities.
“Changing consumer and societal needs, in combination with technological shifts and global challenges, have created unique opportunities for entrepreneurship.”
Entrepreneurship, an important driver of the economy, is expected to grow in the U.S. and in areas around the globe. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of self-employed workers will grow faster than the average for all workers; the U.S. Census Bureau says that more than 4.3 million entrepreneurs filed paperwork to start businesses in 2020, the most since tracking began and a 24% increase from the previous year. Further, studies note the crucial importance of entrepreneurial skills for the future of work in nearly all industries and organizations.
“Changing consumer and societal needs, in combination with technological shifts and global challenges, have created unique opportunities for entrepreneurship. Whether you’re looking from a startup perspective or a corporate perspective, entrepreneurship skills are in the future,” says Wendy Samter, Ph.D., Bryant’s Interim/Associate Provost. “This is why our new entrepreneurship degree prepares graduates with the skills and knowledge they need for success in both the startup and corporate worlds, and as both entrepreneurs and employees.”
“Our new, distinctive entrepreneurship program prepares graduates with the knowledge and 21st century skills they need to solve problems as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial leaders, and is another example of how our business education is very student-focused, and value-enhancing.”
A distinctive program
“Business school graduates need an education that develops, among other things, an entrepreneurial mindset in order to succeed in today’s demanding environment, which also offers great opportunity for them to design and build their own creative new ventures,” says Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Business. “Our new, distinctive entrepreneurship program prepares graduates with the knowledge and 21st century skills they need to solve problems as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial leaders, and is another example of how our business education is very student-focused, and value-enhancing.”
The University conducted interviews within the Bryant community and surveyed over 50 entrepreneurship programs to help design the degree. “This program is its own formulation, unique to anything I’ve seen,” says Assistant Professor of Management and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program Isil Yavuz, Ph.D., who helped survey demand and shape the new program curriculum. “Bryant students are very entrepreneurial. And, many students report their own business or a family business.”
In the new degree program, students will major in entrepreneurship and choose a functional concentration area among finance, information systems or marketing. Students will learn in cohorts starting in their first year and move through their studies together, which will help students learn better while they bond with other entrepreneurship program students and potential co-founders. Combined with the hallmark Bryant business training and a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences, graduates of the program will be uniquely prepared to excel as entrepreneurs—as well as employees in organizations, whether they be corporations or startups.
“Our goal is to ensure that our graduates are exceptional candidates for starting their own businesses as well as dynamic potential members of any team.”
“Our goal is to ensure that our graduates are exceptional candidates for starting their own businesses as well as dynamic potential members of any team needing functional expertise in finance, marketing or information systems, which are also the 3 critical areas needed to make any venture successful,” says Yavuz.
These strategic concentrations, says Yavuz, combined with the fact that the program covers entrepreneurship “from the corporate side, in addition to the startup side” is what provides entrepreneurship graduates enhanced skills and options for working in corporations, which may be their objective after graduation before starting their own businesses, in order to network and gain experience first. “Corporations look for your concentration area, and they also want people with a more entrepreneurial mindset who are able to come up with new innovations—all areas this program covers,” says Yavuz.
Several more features that make the program distinctive include:
Experiential courses integrate knowledge with practice. In an Entrepreneurship Practicum, students learn while they work in teams and help existing startups in University partnerships, forged in part through a planned Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, a new resource detailed in Bryant’s Vision 2030 strategic plan.
An Incubation Program Practicum helps students apply knowledge and learn from others while launching their own business or a fellow student’s; course also provides support and matched mentorship, both internally and externally sourced, for student businesses.
Required coding course teaches skills in computer programming languages such as Python.
Academics and student life connections enhances learning, including through the current student club and startup accelerator Bryant Ventures.
A planned Makerspace, a new resource detailed in Bryant’s Vision 2030 plan, which will include 3d printers, laser cutters, sealing tools as well as computer programming tools for the creation of physical prototypes and for creating AI (artificial intelligence) prototypes.
Active alumni participation further provides rich opportunities in shadowing, mentoring and internships.