What does it take to encourage entrepreneurship?

Today I had the opportunity to grab lunch with Howie Rhee, the Managing Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University and talk about what the university is doing to encourage entrepreneurship. Stepping foot on Duke’s campus a dozen years ago as a student, I wanted to get involved with entrepreneurship programs, only to find that the university lacked them. That’s right, there was almost nothing related to entrepreneurship on campus. Thankfully, that has changed. Here are the top six entrepreneurship programs at Duke, according to Howie:

  1. Duke Start-Up Challenge – annual business plan competition with $25,000 grand prize to the winner
  2. Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club – I would argue these should be two separate clubs but it is successful as-is, and is one of the strongest clubs on campus making it a winner
  3. Duke Entrepreneurship Education Series – weekly guest speaker every Thursday of the school year
  4. Entrepreneurship Week at Duke University – one full week annually filled completely with entrepreneurship events
  5. Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network (DukeGEN)LinkedIn group for Duke alumni with 1,700 members
  6. DUHatch Student Business Incubator – on campus incubator for student-run businesses

I must say I’m impressed with the progress and I look forward to seeing even more encouragement of entrepreneurship.

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