Entrepreneurial Opportunities at SDSU

20 October 2017

Entrepreneurial Opportunities at SDSU

Barb Heller, Entrepreneurial Studies Coordinator, SDSU

The Entrepreneurial Studies program at South Dakota State University (SDSU) was launched in 2004, and has since helped hundreds of SDSU students, and other stakeholders from across the State and region, explore and experience many entrepreneurship-focused offerings.

Today, SDSU students can engage in Entrepreneurial Studies through the major or minor programs, or through individual entrepreneurship courses. More than 130 students currently study in the major program.   In addition to these academic options, many co- and extracurricular activities are also available.

In the classroom, students learn how to think creatively, recognize opportunities, and identify the resources needed to productively pursue their own ideas.  Much of the curriculum emphasizes experiential learning, and the importance of developing ideas into new ventures by first starting with individual interests, abilities, experiences, and social and professional networks. Guest speakers are regularly invited on campus to share their entrepreneurship stories and experiences with students.

Outside of the classroom, SDSU students have the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurially-minded individuals through involvement in two different student organizations: Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and SDSU Change Makers. CEO’s mission is to inform, support, and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial, and seek opportunity through new enterprise creation, networking, and leadership development. CEO regularly hears from invited speakers, tours local businesses, and attends regional and national conferences. The SDSU Change Makers organization brings together an interdisciplinary group of students to promote creativity, problem solving, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Through the SDSU Entrepreneurial Studies program, students also have the opportunity to compete in one or more idea, prototype, and business plan competitions. For example, the First Dakota National Bank New Venture Plan Competition invites students from any discipline on the SDSU campus to submit a new venture plan of their own creation that describes the opportunity/business model, the market need, and the operating requirements for the new venture. Cash prizes totaling up to $10,000 are awarded to the winners.

The SDSU Entrepreneurial Studies program also hosts an annual, statewide entrepreneurship education conference called “Launch” during the third week of February. Launch is a one-day event that advances entrepreneurship education throughout South Dakota by providing a platform for students, educators, economic development professionals, and community leaders to come together to hear from local and national entrepreneurship experts and discuss best practices. More information about Launch can be found at sdlaunch.com (with exciting details about the 2018 event coming soon!).

If you have questions about, or would like additional details on the SDSU Entrepreneurial Studies Program, contact Barb Heller at barb.heller@sdstate.edu.