The Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University

03 November 2017

The Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University

Title:  The Entrepreneurial Experience

Authors: Dr. Ryan Van Zee, Executive Director, Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship

& Teresa Quinn, Assistant Director, Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship


The Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at Dakota Wesleyan University does more than talk about business ownership, we make business owners. Dr. Ryan Van Zee and Teresa Quinn are both professors at DWU, Executive Director and Assistant Director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship respectively, and co-authors of the textbook The Entrepreneurial Experience: Start Your Business. This textbook is a step-by-step guide which students follow to start businesses. Knowing students do not have extra money laying around to invest in their business, the textbook directs students on starting their small business with little to no start-up capital. Van Zee and Quinn have identified multiple free or reduced cost, services online for small start-up businesses. Each student enrolled in Van Zee and Quinn’s ENT224 classes – Entrepreneurial Leadership – starts a small business based on the principle of the book and the student’s own interests. This fall semester, we have 52 businesses, which will be showcased on October 24th at the DWU Entrepreneurship Mall in the Sherman Center. Products and services include lawn services, crafts, candles, clothing, and specialty DWU items.


The concept for this course came after years of frustration with traditional entrepreneurship textbooks that taught the theory of starting and running business, but with no real business ownership experience. Van Zee and Quinn also believe that business terms such as LLC, profit and loss, and economics belong at the back of the book, because people don’t really embrace the importance of these things until they are the student’s own terms. Thus, this class was designed for students to learn by doing, or by owning. Student’s learn the principles of business and business ownership by engaging in customer research, social media marketing, web development, sales, and other business ownership duties related to their business. This is the third semester of teaching this way, and Van Zee and Quinn have high expectations. The two initial semesters using this method, one ground and one online, produced 50 businesses!