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Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI)


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have not entered a major yet and I'm interested in the ENTI Minor. Can I start taking entrepreneurship courses now?
  2. I'm interested in entrepreneurship, but don't think I have time to complete the full ENTI minor. What should I do?
  3. I think I'm a fairly creative person, but not sure if the ENTI Minor or entrepreneurship is for me. Any suggestions?
  4. I want to start taking the ENTI Minor. What courses should I take first?
  5. I'm having a hard time deciding between the Technology-Based Entrepreneurship cluster and the Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation cluster. What should I do?
  6. Are any of the ENTI Minor courses offered online?
  7. Do I have to have an idea or a business to take the minor?
  8. If I already have an idea or business, how will the minor help me?
  9. Can I substitute a course in the minor for another that interests me more?
  10. I'm interested in social entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship in the non-profit or NGO (non-governmental organizations) sectors. What's a good path?
  11. Are there entrepreneurship student groups?
  12. What's the difference between the Business Liberal Arts minor and ENTI?
  13. Is there a way to double-count courses for both the ENTI Minor and to meet course requirements in my major?
  14. I think I may have a patentable idea. What should I do?
  15. I have an idea for a new product or service. Any suggestions for my next step?
  16. I have an idea for the new product or service, but I'm worried about sharing the idea because someone might steal it. What do I do?
  17. I'm a Schreyer Honors College (SHC) student, and would like to take the ENTI Minor and set up some honors option courses. Is this possible?
  18. I'm a SHC student and would like to do my thesis with entrepreneurial facet. Is this possible?

1. I have not entered a major yet and I'm interested in the ENTI Minor. Can I start taking entrepreneurship courses now?
Yes! We encourage students to start taking entrepreneurship courses as early as you are interested. This will get you introduced to the entrepreneurship and innovation resources around Penn State and your campus as soon as possible. Also, the earlier you start taking entrepreneurship courses or start working on a new product or start-up, the longer you'll have access to free Penn State resources...and free is good!

2. I'm interested in entrepreneurship, but don't think I have time to complete the full ENTI minor. What should I do?
There are benefits to taking even one or two entrepreneurship courses: you'll be developing valuable knowledge, skills and attitudes to help you in any career path. If you need suggestions on what courses to take, contact any of the ENTI Minor cluster directors or the overall ENTI Minor director. If you're at Penn State Abington, contact Dr. Gary Calore at gsc1@psu.edu. If you're at Penn State Berks, contact Dr. Sadan Kulturel at sxk70@psu.edu.

3. I think I'm a fairly creative person, but not sure if the ENTI Minor or entrepreneurship is for me. Any suggestions?
Before jumping into an entrepreneurship course, attend some entrepreneurship events. An entrepreneurship calendar for Penn State University Park is under development, and will be listed here ASAP. Penn State Global Entrepreneurship Week happens every Fall, with over a week of entrepreneurship activities. Each Spring is IST Start-up Week, with featured speakers and workshops.

At Penn State University Park, drop by New Leaf Initiative at 243 S. Allen Street, Suite 334. If you're enrolled at another Penn State campus, check out what's happening near you. Starting in the 2015-16 academic year, there are six new entrepreneurship centers located at Commonwealth campuses:

  • Penn State Abington: Abington Maker/Innovation Space Partnership
  • Penn State Erie, the Behrend College: Environment for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (ERIE) Lab
  • Penn State Harrisburg: The Center for the Next Step
  • Penn State Lehigh Valley: SEED Project
  • Penn State New Kensington: The Penn State Alle-Kiski Economic Generator
  • Penn State Wilkes- Barre: Entrepreneurial and Business Development Lab

At University Park, State College Downtown Entrepreneurship Center will be combining forces with New Leaf Initiative in January 2016, providing low-cost start-up office space and entrepreneurship training space open to students, faculty staff and community members. Drop in any of these locations and introduce yourself to the staff to get started!

4. I want to start taking the ENTI Minor. What courses should I take first?
Take MGMT 215, Entrepreneurial Mindset and ENGR 310, Entrepreneurial Leadership. These two courses are required core courses in the ENTI Minor, and are action-based learning courses. While taking these courses, you'll have the chance to consider which ENTI cluster best matches your interests.

5. I'm having a hard time deciding between the Technology-Based Entrepreneurship cluster and the Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation cluster. What should I do?
Technology Based Entrepreneurship: Primary focus on physical products that may include firmware as part of the offering, referred to as "technology-based" products. Emphasis on business models best suited for creating technology-based start-ups (i.e., entrepreneurship) or for creating new ventures within established companies (i.e., intrapreneurship). Makes extensive use of lean startup philosophy and methodology.

Digital Entrepreneurship & Innovation: Primary focus on virtual products that leverage the Internet, mobile devices, and information as a core component of the business model. Emphasis on digital business models and impact of IT-driven innovation as part of new start-up companies (i.e., entrepreneurship) or as part of new ventures within established companies (i.e., intrapreneurship). Makes extensive use of lean startup philosophy and methodology.

6. Are any of the ENTI Minor courses offered online?
Starting Spring 2016, ENGR 310, Entrepreneurial Leadership will be offered online for the first time. Plans are underway to offer more ENTI core and cluster courses online.

7. Do I have to have an idea or a business to take the minor?
No. Many students in the ENTI Minor enter the courses without an idea and very few have a business underway. Our goal is to help students develop their opportunity recognition skills to find a problem, need, or "pain" that they want to solve.

8. If I already have an idea or business, how will the minor help me?
The minor will help you develop skills that are important to move an idea to a solution, product, or venture. There are very, very few entrepreneurs who have all the skills and knowledge needed to be successful, so taking the entrepreneurship courses can be key to success.

9. Can I substitute a course in the minor for another that interests me more?
Probably not, but you can talk to your cluster director to present your case for a substitution.

10. I'm interested in social entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship in the non-profit or NGO (non-governmental organizations) sectors. What's a good path?
Check out the Social Entrepreneurship cluster and meet with Khajan Mehta, the Social Entrepreneurship cluster director. Check out www.facebook.com/PSUHESE and www.sites.psu.edu/khanjanmehta to view current and past projects.

11. Are there entrepreneurship student groups?
Yes! Student entrepreneurship clubs exist or are getting started at a number of campuses. Innoblue is the Penn State University Park student organization for student entrepreneurs. Penn State Berks and Penn State Abington are offering the full ENTI Minor and have, or are starting, entrepreneurship student groups. Penn State Altoona has the ENTR Minor and an active student entrepreneurship group. For more information, contact these faculty:

12. What's the difference between the Business Liberal Arts minor and ENTI?
Both are good minors. The BUS/LA minor includes traditional business coursework in economics, accounting, finance, marketing and management. The ENTI approach is more focused on mindset, leadership, innovation and the start-up process. There are no traditional business courses in ENTI. If you want business skills, major in business or minor in BUS/LA. If you want enterprising skills, ENTI might be right for you.

13. Is there a way to double-count courses for both the ENTI Minor and to meet course requirements in my major?
This question has multiple answers. The general guideline is simple: if there are courses in your major listed as technical electives or out-of-college electives or support of option, ENTI Minor courses may be able to be counted for both completion of the ENTI minor and your major. For example, for engineering students, ENGR 407 is a required course in the Technology-based Entrepreneurship cluster and can be counted as a technical elective in most engineering majors. Another example: Journalism majors who choose the New Media cluster may count up to 6 credits toward their major and ENTI. Arrange to meet both your major adviser and a cluster director to make sure all the courses you are planning to take meet minor and/or major requirements.

14. I think I may have a patentable idea. What should I do?
Three suggestions: 1) do a patent search to see if patents already exist that are similar to your idea. Penn State has a Patent Search Tutorial. 2) If you have done some searching and need help, contact Penn State's Patent and Trademark Resource Center librarian, John Meier, at jjm38@psu.edu. He's a wonderful resource, and likes helping students. 3) Determine a way to describe your potentially patentable idea in non-confidential way — meaning you don't reveal specific details, but you clearly outline the benefits and how it's better than the existing solution. Talk to 50 people and see if they are as excited as you. If they are, keep up the good work. If they are not as excited as you, listen to their feedback and use it to modify your idea, make it better, or perhaps drop it.

15. I have an idea for a new product or service. Any suggestions for my next step?
You have some great options. 1) For students at University Park, the Penn State SBDC (Small Business Development Center) has drop-in consulting hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-5 p.m. in Kunkle Lounge (Hammond Building) during the semester. This is free, confidential advice on early steps in deciding if your idea can realistically be a commercial product or service. If the consulting hours don't work for you contact Linda Feltman at lcf8@psu.edu or 814-863-4293. 2) Reach out to one of the ENTI cluster directors or the ENTI contact at your campus and set up a meeting to discuss your idea. Faculty will never "take" your product concept: they will be happy to be a mentor and advisor. 3) See the resources listed in question 3.

16. I have an idea for the new product or service, but I'm worried about sharing the idea because someone might steal it. What do I do?
Ideas are just that — ideas. It's not until you start moving beyond the idea to a sketch, prototype, or wireframe model and talk with people to find out if it's a needed product that it has any real potential. You can't be afraid to talk with people about your idea. You don't need to reveal the "secret sauce" or the proprietary concept when you talk with people. Find out if people want the solution your product provides.

17. I'm a Schreyer Honors College student and would like to take the ENTI Minor and set up some honors option courses. Is this possible?
Yes. In co-operation with the ENTI course instructor, any course can be made into an honors option course. Talk with the instructor during the first week of the semester about your request and follow the guidelines on the Schreyer Honors College website.

18. I'm a Schreyer Honors College student and would like to do my thesis with entrepreneurial facet. Is this possible?
Yes. At least eight SHC theses have been written with a entrepreneurship or innovation focus over the past decade. You should contact your potential Thesis Supervisor as early as possible and start the dialogue on your thesis topic.