Posted by Kara Kennedy on 2010-01-18

Birmingham, Ala. – Samford University’s Brock School of Business Entrepreneurship Program today was selected as the 2010 National Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).   USASBE, the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world focused on advancing entrepreneurship, created the award this year to recognize outstanding programs that have been in existence for three years or less. 

"This national recognition affirms the dedication of our faculty, students, and staff to create and support programs that stretch the boundaries of traditional business education”, said Beck Taylor, Dean of the Brock School of Business. “Hands-on experiences, such as the school's business plan competition and micro-venture fund, allow students to experience the thrill of starting enterprises far earlier in their careers than ever before. This is a great day for the Brock School and Samford University, and for our major benefactor, Harry B. Brock, Jr.” 

Officially launched in August 2007, the faculty at the Brock School of Business developed the Entrepreneurship Program as an integrated curriculum that trains future entrepreneurs to pursue a broad spectrum of opportunities.  Business students now may choose an Entrepreneurship Major that prepares them to start their own business, lead their family’s business, or enhance innovation in large corporations.  They also can choose a Social Entrepreneurship Concentration, to add to any Business Major and that will prepare them to lead non-profit organizations.  Non-Business students can add a Social Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit Management Minor to any major from across the University. 

“We are extremely honored for this national recognition,” said Franz Lohrke, who holds the Brock Family Chair in Entrepreneurship .  “Our strategic goal at the Brock School of Business is to build one of the top programs in the country for training aspiring entrepreneurs, and this award shows that we are well on our way to achieving that goal.  We have been able to build this program in less than three years to a level comparable to many older programs because of the hard work of our students, faculty, administration, and supporters.” 

Longtime Samford Trustee and Brock School of Business named benefactor, Harry B. Brock, Jr., noted, “Whether in a small business, a not-for-profit institution, or even an operating unit of a larger company, entrepreneurship is about managing one’s own destiny, or the destiny of one’s organization. This national recognition acknowledges the determined efforts, the entrepreneurship, of Dr. Franz Lohrke, Dean Beck Taylor and their colleagues to establish a leading comprehensive entrepreneurship program at Samford University’s Brock School of Business. I’m proud to be associated with it.” 

Criteria for the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program Award included a program’s innovativeness, effectiveness, comprehensiveness, sustainability and transferability to other universities.  “The judges seemed particularly impressed that we start our students in our Program during their freshman year, whereas many universities don’t make entrepreneurship classes available to them until their junior year,” said Lohrke.  “Other important program components that appeared to score well with judges include our establishing a division in the Regions New Venture Challenge business plan competition specifically for students enrolled in our Freshman Entrepreneurship Experience (BUSA 100) course, where they can win up to $2,500. Our ability to fund Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships from alumni and community support allows us to pay some of our best students $2,000 a semester to work in local non-profit and socially entrepreneurial organizations, which also was an important component of our school’s value proposition.” 

Judging for this year’s awards was extraordinarily rigorous according to Dr. Michael Morris, president of USASBE.  Seventy U.S. and international schools applied for various USASBE awards, making it an extremely competitive year.  

About the Brock School of Business at Samford University:
The renaming of the Samford School of Business to the Brock School of Business in December 2007 was a milestone achievement for business education at Samford, which has offered degrees in business and commerce since 1922.  In 1965, the School of Business was established to offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business.  Alabama’s first part-time master of business administration degree program was established at Samford, and the first MBA degrees were awarded in 1967.  The master of accountancy degree was approved in 1995.  The business school was fully accredited by AACSB International in 1999, a recognition earned by less than 10 percent of business schools worldwide. 
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.