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Entrepreneurship Certificates Reach All UW–Madison Students

By: Katie Ginder-Vogel | Photo By: Alex André

Entrepreneurship Certificates Reach All Uw–Madison Students

Lauren Richards (B.S. ’15)

There’s more to starting a business than a great idea: would-be entrepreneurs must acquire business skills to grow their companies and achieve their goals.

That’s why the Wisconsin School of Business developed two certificate programs in entrepreneurship: one for UW–Madison undergraduates outside the BBA Program, and one for MBA and graduate students from all departments, who can earn certificates in strategic innovation as well as entrepreneurship.

"This program helps students decide if entrepreneurship is right for them, and helps those who are ready to launch companies," says Jon Eckhardt, the Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development at the School and academic director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. "Most are very creative and have a lot of ideas, but they often wonder how to take the next steps to sell a product or service."

In the certificate programs, students learn about venture creation, growth management, and the role of entrepreneurship in bringing new technologies and services to society. They often work with alumni mentors, gaining real-world perspective and making valuable connections. Nearly 55 students earned the certificate last spring, signaling strong growth for the program.

Lauren Richards (B.S. ’15), an art major in the School of Education, enrolled in the undergraduate certificate program after a graphic design mentor told her that business skills were the one thing missing from his undergraduate education. "It makes freelancing more realistic and attainable," Richards says. "Now I know how to run spreadsheets and present clients with a great design."

"This program helps students decide if entrepreneurship is right for them, and helps those who are ready to launch companies." — JON ECKHARDT, ACADEMIC DIRECTOR OF THE WEINERT CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Students are encouraged to participate in entrepreneurship immersion experiences, such as competitions and student organizations, and have regular opportunities to meet successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business executives. In addition to immersion experiences, friends of the Weinert Center are actively involved in training and mentoring the students.

"We’re proud of the involvement of our alumni in delivering our top-tier program for our students. We hope that the high demand for our courses and programs, along with alumni involvement, are indications that we are on the right track," says Eckhardt.