New entrepreneurship minor starts this fall

Nicole Stuessy

Students looking to create, collaborate and especially get in on Austin’s startup sector can now pursue a minor in entrepreneurship. 

Launched this fall, the minor started as a partnership between McCombs School of Business and the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, and requires 15 hours of coursework throughout various colleges.

“This has been in the works for a couple of years, but this is the first semester where it has officially kicked off,” said David Platt, associate dean for undergraduate programs at McCombs. “You have to have things come together in order to have the right resources in place to start a new minor.”

According to the minor’s website, registration is closed for this semester, and applications for next semester are due Oct. 1. 

Platt said one of the main resources was the Herb Kelleher Center’s business connections it provides students.

“It’s one thing to learn how a company works, but it’s another thing to actually interact with people who have done it and learn the on-the-ground skills and techniques that are required to get a company rolling,” Platt said.

Although the minor is through McCombs, the program is offered to all undergraduate students, Platt said.

“By design, that seems like a ridiculous idea to have an entrepreneurship program where everyone in it is only on the business side of things,” Platt said. “More often than not, you’re going to find that the core of the interesting idea is going to come from someone in engineering or natural sciences, or even someone who is in liberal arts.”

Ashley Jennings, Herb Kelleher Center’s program administrator, said of the 109 students enrolled in the minor this fall semester, only 41 of them are business students.

“We also have professors in anything from advertising to fine arts to history to marketing to (radio-television-film),” Jennings said. “Every college has classes that are a part of the minor curriculum.”

Electrical engineering sophomore Shawheen Attar is pursuing the minor and said being around students from different majors is helpful when collaborating in groups.

“Most of my last year, at least within my (electrical engineering) classes, I spent a lot of time with people who were very technical,” Attar said. “But being able to spend time with business majors or people in natural sciences, they just sort of think differently and apply things in different ways.”