Press Release: Samford's Brock School of Business Students Generate Innovative Ideas in New Entrepreneurship Class

2013-09-23

Birmingham, Ala. – This summer, entrepreneurship students at Samford University’s Brock School of Business had the opportunity to take a new class focused on generating innovative business ideas.  During the “Opportunity Recognition” course, students examined emerging trends in several industries, wrote analyses about what they considered important social and technological trends, and participated in online discussions to help them generate ideas for a new business.  They also received $25 each to invest in a start-up business ideas through crowdfunding websites that they thought were capitalizing on important trends.

“Successful entrepreneurship happens when people identify opportunities, decide these opportunities are viable, and then put together the resources needed to start a new business,” said Franz Lohrke, Brock Family Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Brock School of Business.  “Entrepreneurship courses at many universities, though, focus just on the last two steps in the process, like guiding students through the process of writing a business plan to evaluate their business ideas and then help raise money.  This course provided students an intensive experience with the first step by helping them generate innovative ideas for new businesses.”
 
Students researched, discussed and found connections among trends including wearable computing devices, on-line privacy, government product regulations, healthcare and workplace design.  Many decided to invest in crowdfunding projects related to these trends as well as social entrepreneurship projects providing digital access to libraries for people in developing countries or promoting sustainable farming.
 
Emily Miller, an entrepreneurship major from Pavo, Ga., commented “The course gave me the opportunity to research and invest money in start-up businesses through Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  I realized multiple business opportunities exist in different markets, not only in the U.S. but around the world.”
 
Given its innovativeness, professors at other universities have been interested in how the course was taught.  One indication of this interest came when Lohrke posted a link to the course syllabus on a discussion board for entrepreneurship professors, and more than 650 professors around the world clicked on the link.  Many also provided positive feedback or asked for additional information about the course.

“To train our students to be entrepreneurs and business leaders, we need to offer them relevant and innovative classes,” said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business.  “Especially in fields like entrepreneurship, business schools need to offer cutting edge courses to keep up with rapidly changing trends.”

About the Brock School of Business:
Samford University’s Brock School of Business has a long history of achievements in business education. The university has offered degrees in business and commerce since 1922. In 1965, the School of Business was established to offer both bachelors and masters degrees in business. It was formally named the Brock School in 2007 for Birmingham banker and Samford trustee Harry B. Brock Jr., reflecting his long career in business and his commitment to high quality business and entrepreneurship education. The Brock School of Business holds AACSB Accreditation, the benchmark of quality worldwide and the most widely sought after standard of excellence by U.S. business schools.