A freshman entrepreneurship course in Samford University’s Brock School of Business -- BUSA 100: World of Business – has been selected as a finalist for the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s (USASBE) “Entrepreneurship Education Innovation Award.” USASBE, the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world focused on advancing entrepreneurship, will give this award during its national conference in New Orleans in January. Other finalists include the University of Utah, University of Texas-Dallas and the South Dakota Launch Entrepreneurship Education Conference.
“We are extremely grateful for this national recognition,” said Howard Finch, dean of Brock School of Business. “Entrepreneurship requires innovation, and entrepreneurship courses need to adopt this innovative focus to provide students with the best training possible. One of our major strategic goals in the Brock School is to challenge our students with a quality, global, and relevant curriculum supported by innovative teaching methods, and this recognition shows that we are succeeding in attaining this goal.”
Faculty redesigned BUSA 100 in 2007 when launching the School’s entrepreneurship program. Students now write a preliminary business plan as their major assignment, and the top six teams compete in the Regions New Venture Challenge each April, where students can win up to $2,500 in the BUSA 100 Division.
“As we built our entrepreneurship program, we benchmarked against top programs in the country,” said Franz Lohrke, Brock Family Chair in Entrepreneurship. “We quickly realized that one important part of training future entrepreneurs was to expose them to critical issues related to starting a business early in their college experience. We redesigned BUSA 100 with this in mind, and we are now one of the few business schools in the country where students can take an entrepreneurship course and compete in their own division of a business plan competition during their freshman year. Most schools offer these opportunities to students once they have been admitted to the business school during their junior year. The USASBE judges remarked that they thought we were taking a risk (in a good way) by offering this course to freshmen.”
Along with learning about entrepreneurship in BUSA 100, students are introduced to other foundational business functions of including accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing. They also interact with Brock School Advisory Board members and alumni to learn about business and career issues.
“When redesigning BUSA 100, we had to keep in mind that this would be the first business class most students majoring or minoring in Business would take,” said Barbara Cartledge, director of undergraduate studies in the Brock School. “Thus, we developed class assignments and activities to expose them to important business ideas, help them develop critical skills, and provide them essential networking opportunities that they will need as they move through their business program and into their careers.”
When asked about his BUSA 100 experience Brock School alumnus Patrick Wells, national sales director for a newly launched company, said, “BUSA 100 was one of my favorite classes because it gave real life application and hands-on experience in writing a business plan. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the winning team in the first Regions New Venture Challenge. We presented our business plan in front of judges at multiple stages and concluded in front of a large crowd, downtown at Regions Bank. Since leaving this class and graduating Samford University, I am trying the whole entrepreneur thing out in real life. It's not for the faint of heart but I draw daily on the things I learned from BUSA 100.”