Local colleges training young entrepreneurs
November 13, 2013
In today’s increasingly entrepreneurial economy, local colleges are broadening their efforts to train and connect budding business owners in their student populations. In the past few months alone, LIU Brooklyn, Brooklyn Law School, and St. Francis College have all launched new entrepreneurship centers in an effort to give their students a leg up when it comes to preparing for their postgraduate careers.
LIU Brooklyn’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies offers, among other resources, the path of pursuing a B.S. or a minor in Entrepreneurship. The school also has an ongoing Global Social Entrepreneurship Project, which works to provide relief in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Led by its new Business School Dean, Kenneth Colwell, an entrepreneurship expert who came from the University of Miami School of Business Administration, this September, LIU held an Entrepreneurship Week, which allowed students to meet and learn from a huge selection of executives and business owners.
Meanwhile, this week, Brooklyn Law School opens their new Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship, known as CUBE, with a day-long slate of events featuring a panel discussion from Brooklyn Law School alumni and information on just what students can expect when heading into a career in business. CUBE is, in part, an outgrowth of the pioneering work of the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy (BLIP) Clinic, the country’s first full service law clinic for tech startups.
“It’s essentially the next phase in Brooklyn Law’s effort to train lawyers in the ways of the entrepreneur and to work more closely with entrepreneurs. CUBE will have more resources, a broader purview, bring in Brooklyn’s Community Development and Real Estate Clinics, and will be more fully integrated into both academia and the startup community,” said Professor Jonathan Askin, who is Founder and Director of BLIP. “Our objective is to help Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs, while simultaneously training a new generation of lawyers to learn from, and to think like, entrepreneurs, so that our graduates are enablers, not roadblocks, to entrepreneurs.”
Brooklyn Law School’s entrepreneurial efforts are not limited to what’s happening here in Brooklyn. Professor Askin recently received a grant from the European Commission to create a network of startup law clinics, modeled after BLIP, with sixteen law schools throughout Europe.
“Students and I will be advising and working with the European law schools and their startup clients, and hosting global events on ways in which we might use innovation to improve the law and legal process and to use the law to advance entrepreneurship,” Professor Askin said. “I feel a little unpatriotic and plan to bring the concept back to America, but for now Brooklyn is working with the EU and serving as the advisor and US landing strip for startups.”
Like Brooklyn Law School, St. Francis College’s Center for Entrepreneurship will work to serve more than just their students, but Brooklyn as a whole.
“We want to be the clearing house for small- and medium-sized businesses in Brooklyn,” Dennis Anderson, Chair of the Department of Business Management and Information Technology and Executive Chair of the new Center, said in a press release. “Anyone looking to start a business or who already has one will be able to come to us to get the tools they need to be successful. They’ll learn things like which banks provide funding and who to contact, where to get legal advice, and how to take advantage of pro-bono services.”
St. Francis will also work on connecting their students to local businesses and entrepreneurs by expanding their internship and job-placement programs. The Center will help to formalize the existing partnerships the college has with local area businesses, such as the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, to really provide their students with the full range of opportunities available.
St. Francis is currently working toward offering a minor in entrepreneurship, after offering a class this fall on Entrepreneurship and Innovation that was met by students with enthusiasm. They plan on offering a broad spectrum of classes on the subject in the future, in areas from legal issues to social media.
“St. Francis of Assisi was the epitome of a social entrepreneur,” said Anderson. “We want to follow his lead and help create entrepreneurs who make giving back part of their mission.”