Since the entrepreneurship major has been brought to UT, students have reportedly lacked the right exposure to the resources needed to communicate with their fellow entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurship Center at UT is trying to change this, with a few substantial adjustments in its programs and events in the upcoming 2015 school year.
James Zebrowski, a UT alumni and staff assistant to the chair of the Entrepreneurship Center said, “We’ve (faculty) noticed that our students are terrified of the word ‘networking.’”
To bring less fear and more excitement to the idea of networking, the center has organized some locational and departmental changes. Beginning in the upcoming Fall semester, all incoming entrepreneurship majors living on campus will be placed in the same dorm and automatically placed in an Entrepreneurship 101 course.
“I think these changes will bring more confidence to the freshman entrepreneurship majors, which is what you need in this field,” Holden Laquerre, senior entrepreneurship major said. “I didn’t really start meeting other kids with my same major until my upper level courses. Introducing them young will get them ahead of the game, it’s all about networking.”
The department has attempted to increase networking in the past, but it hasn’t always gone so smoothly. During the Fall semester of 2014, there was a summit event, which brought in several business professionals to present to the students information on their specific careers. Several scheduling conflicts came up during the process and the event had to be cancelled, limiting student’s exposure to interaction in the local entrepreneurship community.
However, there have been some recent successes. In February of this year, the Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (SEEC) was held here at UT. Students were able to participate in the national conference and interact with peers, as well as gain insight from professionals in the community.
“Business professionals love meeting students,” Zebrowski said. “It’s the biggest advantage students have and should take advantage of to get ahead.”
In the upcoming months, the Entrepreneurship Center has set up several events to make these professionals and students more readily available to one another. One of these is the Spartan Accelerator program, an event series designed to help current students and recent alums grow their business ideas, which will take place May 1.
For next semester, entrepreneurship students can look forward to many more events and extracurricular activities. More information on these events can be found on the event calendar under the Entrepreneurship Center section at the UT website, as well as the Entrepreneurship Center’s UT webpage.
Hannah Sampadian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org