10 cool colleges for entrepreneurs

These universities offer some of the most innovative programs for fledgling business owners.

By Patricia B. Gray, FORTUNE Small Business contributing writer

NEW YORK (FORTUNE Small Business) -- Business schools such as Babson (see cover story) and Stanford have long offered many excellent entrepreneurship programs. Here's a sampling of 10 cutting-edge programs for budding entrepreneurs.

DePaul University, Chicago

At DePaul's Ryan Center for Creativity, entrepreneurship students, local business leaders, and alums learn better ways to brainstorm new business concepts in sessions led by experts on creative thinking.

Florida International University, Miami

Claiming the largest minority enrollment of any institution in the U.S., FIU has brought diversity to the world of student startups. Courses on international trade emphasize starting ventures that aim to trade with South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard has 17 endowed chairs in entrepreneurship. All 900 MBA students are required to take an entrepreneurship course in their first semester. To teach new-venture development, Harvard uses its classic case-study format -- with a twist: CEOs of the companies under discussion are invited to participate. Recent visitors: David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, and fashion designer Kate Spade.

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

All incoming students must participate in Entrepreneur's Boot Camp during orientation. In the eight-hour course they study, among other things, financial self-discipline and the history of black enterprise in the U.S. A $3.5 million grant helped establish a new minor in entrepreneurship this year.

Simmons College, Boston

The only women's business school in the U.S., Simmons last year instituted a six-month entrepreneurship program tailored specifically to women. Candidates must have an MBA; most have a decade of work experience.

Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, N.D.

One of the first tribal colleges in the U.S. when it was founded in 1973, Sitting Bull has launched a pioneering program to teach entrepreneurship to Native Americans. A key goal: to create jobs on the Standing Rock Reservation (pop. 12,000), where unemployment is at 76 percent. Educators seek to emulate the economically and culturally independent Amish.

University of Arizona, Tucson

Started in 1984, the university's entrepreneurship program is one of the oldest and most competitive in the U.S. Only 100 graduate and undergraduate students are accepted each year. To sharpen the focus on high-growth sectors such as biotech, the program has recruited new faculty.

University of Colorado, Boulder

A leader in "green" entrepreneurship, this program specializes in helping students create companies that are eco-friendly and socially progressive. Leaders of Boulder's organic and natural-products industry offer support.

University of Texas, Austin

To speed the creation of new startups, UT offers students office space, technology, and access to advisors at its business incubator. Of the 62 companies that have been launched to date, four are listed on Nasdaq. In 1999, Motorola paid approximately $98 million to acquire one of them, Metrowerks, a creator of hardware and software. The university also hosts Moot Corp., a prestigious international business-plan competition offering the largest prize -- $183,500 -- of any such contest.

University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.

The university has embedded entrepreneurship courses in virtually every department on campus -- including computer science, engineering, religion, and music. Engineering students are working with those in anthropology to design a nonpolluting bus for the city of Rochester.

More from FORTUNE Small Business's cover package:

- Do you need school to succeed? Click here to find out.

- Are kids too young to learn balance sheets?

- Gates: What I wish I'd learned in school

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Ultimate college guide Top of page

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