Owning your own company is a dream that many students at Weber State University share. The new entrepreneurship minor that is available to all students regardless of their major can help students achieve this dream.
According to Dave Noack, director of the entrepreneurship program at Weber State, the state of Utah is in love with entrepreneurship and estimates that over half of the students at WSU are interested in starting their own business.
Noack says that the goal of the minor is to offer an environment where students can take risks and think creatively without the fear of complete economic ruin or failure.
“If people know about the minor, they usually don’t know it’s available to any major. This money, opportunity and learning experience is available to anyone,” Noack said.
The minor started in August 2013 with the first group of seven graduates finishing the minor in December 2014. Out of that first group of graduates, five received funding totaling $40,000.
Thanks to the Alan E. Hall donation of $3.5 million, twice a semester students can pitch their business ideas to mentors and receive upwards of $15,000. This money provides capital for their ideas without giving up equity in the company.
Zach Thurston was one of the first graduates of the minor last December and was one of two students to receive full funding of $15,000 for his business idea. Thurston highly recommends the minor, saying that it teaches you to “mitigate risk and find your niche market.”
“If you are unsuccessful at entrepreneurship, the information you will learn can apply to any business you choose to be a part of,” Thurston said.
Amy Hirschi started the minor program last semester and is the vice president of the entrepreneur club at Weber State. When asked about the minor, Hirschi explained how it has opened many doors for her in progressing towards a career in business.
“Before being a part of this program, I didn’t network much, and I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go in life. This has given me so much direction and connections,” Hirschi said.
Hirschi explained that even if students can’t participate in the minor for various reasons, there are many ways for individuals to get involved with the program. Once a month, the Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center holds the Young Subaru Entrepreneurship Lecture Series and various business competitions throughout the semester.
Currently, 34 students are enrolled in the minor, and it is “growing at a great rate,” according to Noack. The program’s enrollment is now robust enough to start offering every class every semester.