The University of Georgia will offer a campus-wide certificate program for students who are interested in launching and growing businesses and nonprofit organizations.
UGA’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program, which will begin in fall 2016, will be housed in the Terry College of Business but is open to students from any major. Students in the program take three required courses — “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” “Entrepreneurial Finance” and “Managing the Entrepreneurial Venture” — as well two elective courses that are tailored to their interests and aspirations.
“UGA’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program allows students to complement the knowledge they gain through their major coursework with fundamental business principles that help them turn their ideas into innovations,” said Bob Pinckney, UGA’s director of entrepreneurial programs.
Elective courses in the Entrepreneurship Certificate program span the schools and colleges at UGA. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences offers elective courses such as software development and database management, while the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers electives such as public relations administration and digital communication strategies.
The campus-wide Entrepreneurship Certificate program extends the reach of the certificate program that has been offered to students in the Terry College and College of Family and Consumer Sciences since 2013, and Pinckney noted that it is part of a broader effort to promote entrepreneurship at UGA.
The university’s Bulldog 100 program has recognized the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni since 2010, and UGA’s Thinc. initiative was launched in 2013 to provide inspiration and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Earlier this year Thinc. launched a series of non-credit pop-up classes-such as coding classes for non computer-science students and design thinking skills for non-design students-and UGA students also have access to the MakerSpace in the science library, where they can design and fabricate products using 3-D printers, laser cutters and digital scanners.
On March 30, UGA will host its annual, campus-wide Next Top Entrepreneur competition in which students compete for prize money and potential venture and angel investment capital. Students who are ready to start or expand their business can apply to the university’s Accelerator Program, which provides a board of experienced, successful entrepreneurs, advisers and investors to help students succeed. In addition, the UGA Innovation Fund helps UGA students launch early stage ventures by providing funding and mentoring.
“Entrepreneurship is embedded into the University of Georgia’s culture,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten, “and we are committed to giving students the types of hands-on learning experiences that will enable them to thrive after graduation.”