Entrepreneurship and innovation minor graduates record number of students

Sean Yoder
May 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The intercollege minor in entrepreneurship and innovation (ENTI) continues to spread its influence as it graduates its largest number of students this spring with 153 expected graduates across eight clusters. 

ENTI Director Anne Hoag and Assistant Director Jamey Darnell will be looking to gather more detailed information on how one of Penn State’s most popular minors is helping students achieve their career goals, and for ways to self-evaluate and improve upon the program’s existing successes.

“The minor has experienced phenomenal growth,” said Darnell, who is also director of the New Ventures cluster. “Over the last five years we have had more than 5,000 students take at least one course offered in the program and by the end of this term we will have had over 800 students complete the program since it launched in 2012.”

The New Ventures cluster will expect the most graduates this spring semester with 58. There are 27 expected graduates from the New Media cluster, 19 from Food and Bio-Innovation, 14 from Hospitality, 12 from Digital Entrepreneurship, 11 from Technology and three from Social Entrepreneurship. There were no graduates from the Entrepreneurship as Advocacy cluster this semester, and the 10th cluster in the ENTI minor, Bio-Tech, was launched in January.

“While these numbers are impressive, we want to ensure that we are making a real positive influence on the students educated in the program,” he said. “To that end we are now engaging in an extensive research effort to measure the program’s impact. We first piloted an exit survey to graduates in the fall of 2019, and are now using it to survey our large group of spring graduates.”

Darnell said initial findings from the fall 2019 survey show that a majority of graduates referenced their ENTI minor in job interviews.

“Many indicated that they thought the ENTI minor actually had helped them get that post-graduation job,” he said. “One might think that the majority of undergraduate entrepreneurship students will work on a startup immediately after graduation, but the national statistics show the opposite.”

This holds true for Penn State students graduating from ENTI as well, he said, who were more likely to acquire a corporate-type job, with a small minority starting a business immediately after graduation.

“Entrepreneurship is very iterative, requiring constant engagement with the target segment to facilitate pivots improving the venture,” Darnell added. “We hope to continually improve the ENTI minor program.”

Also included in the spring semester survey will be questions related to COVID-19’s impact on students' education and interests related to entrepreneurship.

The ENTI program lives under the banner of the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship, founded in 2009. It is currently led by Hoag, who is also the director of the New Media cluster and an associate professor of telecommunications in Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. The Lion LaunchPad (LLP) was established in 2011 as a co-curricular bundle of programs for events, speakers, a student accelerator and micro-grants.

The ENTI minor launched in 2012 and saw rapid growth in subsequent years and an expansion of the number of clusters. The LLP Makerspace and Dorm was founded in 2017 as a special living option that also provided a workshop for entrepreneurial-minded students from all majors. 2018 saw the minor’s study abroad experience added. In 2019, ENTI became the third most popular minor at the University.

Though each cluster provides education in different sectors, ENTI students all take three core courses: MGMT 215 Entrepreneurial Mindset, ENGR 310 Entrepreneurial Leadership, and MGMT 425/ENGR 425/IST 425 New Venture Creation. Each cluster requires then requires nine or more other credits. Students are able to declare the minor themselves in LionPATH in their third semester.

The entrepreneurship and innovation minor is a part of the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship, which is housed in Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.


Last Updated May 11, 2020