The Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship at UIC is an interdisciplinary program that combines courses from management, marketing, accounting, finance, and information and decision sciences to provide students with a broad understanding of entrepreneurship.
Students will gain fundamental knowledge of business planning, financing, company valuation, marketing, management, information technology, and consulting as they relate to new ventures, small enterprises and family businesses.
Required courses are Introduction to Entrepreneurship, New Venture Planning, and New Venture Formation. A growing list of electives: Family Business Management, Entrepreneurial Consulting, International Entrepreneurship,and Social Entrepreneurship.
Students majoring in entrepreneurship will gain specific skills and knowledge in:
- Evaluating and writing business venture plans
- Techniques for identifying and screening potential entrepreneurial opportunities
- Analyzing economic conditions that affect young and/or smaller firms
- Designing and implementing cost accounting systems
- Understanding legal issues (establishing partnerships, incorporating, issuing IPOs, etc.)
- Consulting with business owners
- Managing family-owned businesses
- Understanding the importance of technology as it relates to entrepreneurship
- Creating and managing e-commerce companies
- Establishing marketing programs
- Planning and implementing hiring strategies
- Determining the valuation of new ventures
Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
UIC Business is home to the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, which supports the academic programs by connecting student with local business and entrepreneurs. All students majoring in entrepreneurship are required to participate in consulting projects with local entrepreneurs to help their businesses achieve stability and growth. Students also assist entrepreneurs in writing and editing business plans, and many students launch their own businesses while in the program.
IES supports the Entrepreneurial Student Team Program (464 Entrepreneurial Consulting), which provides upper-level undergraduates the opportunity to practice general business analysis in a real-world setting. Previous companies and projects for the class have included:
IES also sponsors Concept2Venture, a yearly business plan competition that takes place every December. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate student teams from any of UIC's 15 colleges, including teams made up from multiple colleges. The event provides students with an opportunity to pitch their business plans to potential investors and compete for awards exceeding $10,000 cash for their business ideas, plus in-kind services. A distinguished panel of experts including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investors and service providers will judge the entries and provide valuable feedback.
The Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies offers a certificate program for business owners and managers and a new program for veterans returning to civilian life called Veterans-to-Ventures (V2V), designed to provide knowledge and skills to related to starting a new business venture.
Entrepreneurs start new businesses. They identify problems and come up with new solutions. As such, they analyze a problem, determine a solution, develop and implement a plan, and assume the risk of failure if their plan does not succeed. Success requires passion, imagination, strategic thinking, organization, tenacity, and the ability to manage and respond to market conditions.
Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are passionate about their ideas and how their solutions can solve a problem in a unique way. They value independence to implement their ideas according to their vision. They wear many hats and are involved in all areas of business including strategy, marketing, production, finance, and customer service. In general, successful entrepreneurs exhibit the following skills and characteristics:
- Passionate, innovative risk-takers
- Obsessive and relentless in pursuit of their goals
- Hard working and self-reliant
- Able to strategize, communicate, and delegate
- Strong financial skills
- Able to market themselves and their business
- Maintain cutting-edge product and industry knowledge
- Adaptable to changing market conditions
- Able to initiate and follow-up
Types of Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs differ according to their goals and the type of businesses they develop and manage. One can distinguish between business entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs and between start-up entrepreneurs and small-business entrepreneurs. The business entrepreneur is more concerned about the goal of wealth creation whereas the social entrepreneur focuses on creating positive social and environment impact which may or may not be combined with a profit objective.
The student interested in entrepreneurship should ask him/herself what problems he/she is passionate about solving and take courses in all areas of business as well as in the liberal arts to be well-prepared.
According to the Kauffman Foundation, 2010 and 2011 saw the highest rates of entrepreneurship growth in the past 15 years. Advances in technology have enabled many to launch businesses with far less capital than in the past and to market their businesses to a broad audience through the use of internet technology and social media.
Women are also being drawn to entrepreneurship in increasing numbers as a way of utilizing their business skills while having greater control over their schedules. Forbes Magazine reported that women have been started business at a higher rate than men over the last 20 years with a tendency to create home-based and micro businesses (5 employees or less).
There are a number of ways to start your own business. These include:
- Start a new business concept
- Buy a franchise
- Buy an existing business
- Copy an existing business concept
- Become a one-person firm
- Start a “work-at-home” business
In a special report in January 2012, IBISWorld identified the following top industries for startups in three sectors based on contribution to the US economy, low-medium barriers to entry, technology change, average firm size and projected business growth:
Business Consulting and Services:
- Corporate Wellness Services
- Human Resources and Benefit Administration
- Economic Consulting Services
Technology and Software:
- Internet Publishing and Broadcasting
- Social Network Game Development
- Online Survey Development
- E-commerce and Online Auctions
Consumer Goods and Services:
- Wineries and Craft Beer
- Ethnic Supermarkets
- Mobile Food Trucks and Street Vendors
- Relaxation Drinks
Listen to short, exciting videos of successful Chicago-based entrepreneurs telling their unique stories of how they started and built their businesses at Crain’s Business, Chicago Entrepreneurs in Action. Get the inside scoop on how these companies got their start: Groupon; Homemade Pizza; Marbles: The Brain Store; Half-Acre Beer; TopGolf; Vosges Haut-Chocolates; Pastoral Artisan Cheeses, Bread and Wine; Total Attorneys, Eved; The 30Second Mom; and Skinny Pop, and more.