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Four-Course Certificate in Entrepreneurship to be Offered at ODU Starting This Fall

By Brendan O'Hallarn

An entrepreneur can come from anywhere.

That was the thinking behind the creation of Old Dominion University's Entrepreneurship Certificate, which will be available to all undergraduates at the University, starting this fall.

The four-course module includes a core course in the foundations of entrepreneurship, courses to provide functional expertise that complements and strengthens the student's disciplinary knowledge, and a hands-on capstone style course or internship.

"No matter what it is you get involved in after you graduate, the entrepreneurial principles covered in these classes can serve as building blocks," said Karen Eagle, management lecturer and faculty director of the Entrepreneurship Certificate in the Strome College of Business. Eagle was an entrepreneur in the fashion industry for nearly 20 years before coming to Old Dominion to complete her doctorate.

Anil Nair, chair of the Department of Management, stressed that the Entrepreneurship Certificate was created for the entire University, not simply "tucked away" in the Strome College of Business. Several faculty members in the Department of Management teach entrepreneurship courses, and publish in leading academic journals. Several students have worked on doctoral dissertations with an entrepreneurial focus.

However, Nair added: "The whole vision for entrepreneurship at ODU has to be a University-wide concept. Thus, the initiative has evolved into an interdisciplinary, intercollegiate partnership."

As a result, courses that count toward the Entrepreneurship Certificate include such diverse offerings as Interpersonal Communication, Negotiations and Change Management, and Decision Techniques in Engineering, offered by the Colleges of Arts & Letters, Business and Engineering, respectively.

Nair said students who leave Old Dominion with the Entrepreneurship Certificate will have formal recognition of skills and knowledge vital to starting a new venture in the public, private or non-profit sector, or simply bringing innovation into their future workplace.

"An entrepreneurial mindset is important in the 21st century economy, no matter where a graduate works," Eagle said.

Nancy Grden, executive director of the University's Strome Entrepreneurial Center - created in 2014 to be the hub of entrepreneurial activity on campus - said the certificate represents a critical component of the University-wide effort.

"It provides an opportunity for students to learn about entrepreneurship through classwork, experience it hands-on with their own enterprise, and receive resources and support from the Strome Entrepreneurial Center," Grden said. "The certificate being open to students from any of ODU's colleges reflects the belief that entrepreneurship and innovation are inspired everywhere."

There is no additional tuition required to receive an Entrepreneurship Certificate from Old Dominion. The certificate is open to all undergraduates from all departments and majors as well as non-degree-seeking students. Courses already taken on the list of approved electives can be applied toward the certificate.

More information is available from academic advisers in every college, or by contacting Karen Eagle at keagle@odu.edu.

Old Dominion University's entrepreneurial initiative was sparked in 2014 by an $11 million gift to the University by alumnus Mark Strome '78. Strome sought to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem at Old Dominion through the gift, reaching everyone from admitted freshmen to the University faculty.

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