The establishment of a UNCG campus-wide Center for Entrepreneurship will build and
improve upon the Building Entrepreneurial Learning for Life (BELL) initiative
undertaken this year. The mission of BELL is to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit, thinking
and actions of students and faculty. It is a campus-wide collaboration involving the
College of Arts and Sciences, all of UNCG’s six professional schools and the office of
Research and Public/Private Sector Partnerships. One of BELL’s principal objectives is
to promote student and faculty entrepreneurship, which is defined as the process of
creating new enterprises, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, that are sustainable and
build value, whether economic, social, artistic, cultural, educations, or intellectual.
Recognizing that the level of student, faculty and staff engagement in entrepreneurship
varies widely, BELL offers or plans to offer a range of educational, research and outreach
There is widespread agreement that:
• the driving forces underlying advanced and advancing economies have shifted
from manufacturing to the creation of knowledge and new ideas, and from
corporations to individuals, entrepreneurs, to actualize these new ideas,
• innovation has become the way to take advantage of globalization’s opportunities
rather than being victimized by it—and the entrepreneur is the key to innovation,
• the four year universities, especially research universities, are the central
institutions in society for scientific research, innovation, and knowledge
generation as well as cultural and social thinking,
• entrepreneurship and related innovative action are increasingly seen as key
attributes of the 21st century university, and
• entrepreneurism is increasingly a critical success factor and prerequisite for
individuals to be successful, whether in a for-profit commercial organization or a
not-for-profit social enterprise.
A campus-wide Center for Entrepreneurship would support and enhance the multi-
disciplinary programs and activities envisioned in the UNC Kaufmann grant proposal
presented by UNCG fall 2006. The Center would focus UNCG’s efforts to use
entrepreneurship as one way to meet the educational needs of our students as they enter
the increasingly globalized society of the 21st century, and to meet the economic
development needs of our state and region. It would serve as the organizational unit
responsible for promoting entrepreneurship in education, research, and outreach. For
example, the Center would develop new entrepreneurship courses and programs as well
as new methods of delivering existing courses and programs to improve access to higher
education, especially for non-traditional students and life-long learners. It would provide
strong faculty and student research support and expertise to the Gateway University
Research Park, Greensboro Partnership, the Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurship Network,
the Piedmont Triad Partnership, the North Carolina Rural Center, the North Carolina
Wine Growers Association, and the NC Department of Commerce to meet their
respective entrepreneurship related economic development goals, especially those related
to emerging industries in the rural and underserved areas of the state and those related to
the arts and cultural enrichment. It would play a critical role in UNCG’s Institute for
Community and Economic Engagement.
A UNCG Center for Entrepreneurship would have especially strong connections with the
following UNC Tomorrow components:
A.1. Global Readiness: 21st Century Skills
The connection of entrepreneurship to the 21st Century Skills and general education is
clearly articulated by the following quote from the article titled, Liberal Education and
the Entrepreneurial Mindset A Twenty-First-Century Approach, by Leo I. Higdon, Jr. in
the Winter 2005 issue of Liberal Education, “in clearly defining what we mean by the
entrepreneurial mindset, we can understand why its study as an integrative discipline
within liberal education is so important, particularly given the changing expectations of
the career-driven graduates of the twenty-first century.” Our view of the entrepreneurial
mindset is that it is consistent with and supportive of the development of all of the “21st
century skills” identified in this component.
The following strategies will be pursued:
• Expand entrepreneurship related student internships, undergraduate
research, course projects and other experiential learning opportunities
across all majors on campus.
• Develop incubator and hatchery opportunities for students to start-up
enterprises on campus.
• Provide faculty development grants to create new entrepreneurship
courses and course modules that are focused on the discipline.
• Develop an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship open to all majors on
• Offer entrepreneurship boot camps for students and faculty. Expand use of
entrepreneurs as executives-in-residence.
A.2. Global Competitiveness
The following strategies will be pursued:
• Expand our partnerships with international universities to increase student
and faculty exchange opportunities
• Expand faculty research on entrepreneurship issues including public
policy in the global context.
B. Increasing Access to Higher Education
The following strategies will be pursued:
• Expand our current articulation agreements and explore opportunities for
collaborative programs or additions to planned branch (or “satellite”)
campuses in entrepreneurship with community colleges.
• Develop distance and/or online programs including: an entrepreneurship
minor open to any undergraduate major, a major in entrepreneurship, and
certificate programs in entrepreneurship.
• Work with middle and high public schools to expose students to
entrepreneurship opportunities at UNCG.
D. Economic Transformation and Community Development
The connection to the economic transformation of this region could not be more clearly
stated than the following statements from the Final Report of the Entrepreneurism
Committee of the Greensboro Partnership Fall 2007:
“The role of entrepreneurism in Greensboro and Guilford County has never been more
important than it is right now. Entrepreneurism is a crucial piece of the economic
development puzzle, especially for communities like Greensboro that are having to
replace their traditional industry sectors. Entrepreneurs are the leading engine of job
creation nationally, and locally generate jobs and taxes with little or no investment by
city or county governments. …our challenge is to build on and integrate these and other
programs into a comprehensive system of support for all entrepreneurs…The Committee
recommends that the Entrepreneurship Director coordinate activities, and develop
participation of entrepreneurs in, the Building Entrepreneurial Learning for Life
(“BELL”) program at UNCG.”
Beyond the educational programs cited above producing more graduates with
entrepreneurship knowledge, we envision the following engagement programs and
• Student internships, course related projects and student and faculty
research projects for for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and
agencies to increase the capacity for transforming their organizations to
meet the challenges of the 21st century. (Also G. below) Special attention
will be given to expanding our:
• student internships with the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship,
Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurship Network, and other entrepreneurship
• student internships with arts and cultural enterprises,
• student internships with for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises,
• our services and engagements with the wine industry, which is the
largest emerging industry in the state and whose businesses are located
in mostly rural counties.
• Public forums, lectures by visiting experts, and workshops, symposia, and
panels to educate the campus and community about entrepreneurship.
(Also G. below)
G. Outreach and Engagement
Units of UNCG provide virtually all of the eleven services North Carolinians want UNC
to maintain or increase identified in the UNC Tomorrow Commission Final Report. The
proposed Center for Entrepreneurship incorporating the activities and programs identified
above will build on and expand further many of these services, most notably the
• Distance/online education
• Professional development
• Continuing adult classroom education
• Research and data sharing with community
• Economic development assistance
• Business start-up assistance
• State-level assistance with public policy development and problem-
The UNCG Center for Entrepreneurship could be established by fall 2009. The
Executive Director and administrative support positions could be filled by fall 2009.
During the academic year 2008-2009, an operational plan for the Center would be
developed outlining the programs and activities, funding sources and responsible parties
for 2009-2010 and a preliminary operations plan the next two years.
The UNCG Center for Entrepreneurship could be housed in the Bryan School of Business
and Economics with new courses, programs and activities housed in appropriate
classroom facilities for existing departments and programs, or it could be established as a
University center. A new non-teaching faculty position for the Executive Director of the
Center and a new administrative support position would need to be funded and recruited
during 2008-2009. The Bryan School is currently searching for a Distinguished
Professor in Entrepreneurship who could serve as the academic leader of the Center.
Additional faculty lines across campus would be funded from additional student credit
hours generated by enrollments in existing and new courses. Additional office space for
new faculty is already in the master facility plans of the University. Non-state resources
from fund raising and grants and contracts are expected to fund most of the extra
curricula, research and outreach programs and activities.