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September 24, 2022

SFC Introduces New Degree in Entrepreneurship and Organizational Innovation

By Lois Elfman
B.S. in Entrepreneurship and Organizational Innovation

The recent move by St. Francis College (SFC) to a new campus makes this the perfect time to introduce a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and Organizational Innovation (E&OI). There is a MakerSpace equipped with 3D printers and other cutting-edge technology that will give students, individually and in teams, a chance to bring their ideas to life.

“The MakerSpace provides collaborative spaces for students to work and share ideas,” said Dr. Jennifer Lancaster, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. “It’s designed to be a space where we can hold these entrepreneurial kinds of courses and students can take a product as a start-up — from design, business plan — all the way through to implementation of prototypes, in some cases, by using the technology that’s available in that lab.”

The major in entrepreneurship is not singularly focused on grooming students to be entrepreneurs, business owners or start-up founders, although that is part of the program. Overall, it is meant to prepare students to apply an entrepreneurial mindset as leaders of innovation within organizations, whether those organizations are small-to-medium-sized enterprises, multinational corporations or non-profit organizations. Dr. Eda Sanchez-Persampieri, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said the program’s curriculum centers around developing creativity, resilience, collaboration, negotiation, risk analysis and communication skills.

“All necessary building blocks of the entrepreneurial mindset,” said Sanchez-Persampieri. “Further, a key program learning outcome leads to students applying social responsibility, access, justice, diversity, equity and inclusion considerations to their decision making and to evaluate all business decisions through the lens of the triple bottom-line — people, planet and profit.”

It is anticipated that graduates of the program will take their grounding in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into their future workplaces. Also, many organizations are recognizing the importance of innovation at the core of their business models. Companies such as Walmart, Pitney Bowes, Kohl's, Coca-Cola, Lowe's, Capital One and Verizon have established innovation divisions and/or labs. Using an entrepreneurial mindset, E&OI will prepare students to be successful within a modern workplace.

The E&OI program had a humble beginning as one introductory course in the Fall of 2015 that grew into several different courses each semester. There has been a change in who takes these courses. Initially, it was approximately 60% to 70% students who were majoring in programs offered through the College’s Management Sciences division (recently renamed the Business, Accounting and Entrepreneurship division). Recently, that has shifted to 60% to 70% of enrollment in entrepreneurship courses being from majors outside of the division.

“We have specifically observed a growing interest in social impact, and through this student demand our Social Entrepreneurship course has increased to being offered each semester,” said Sanchez-Persampieri. “We have also seen similar growth driven by student demand for our Design Thinking and Innovation course, which includes social impact in its curriculum.”

The MakerSpace will be used as a classroom for select courses, as a co-curricular tool and for extracurricular programming.

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