Published on October 28, 2009 by Kara Kennedy  

Samford University’s Brock School of Business Entrepreneurship Program today was selected as one of three national finalists for the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).   USASBE, the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world focused on advancing entrepreneurship, created the award this year to recognize outstanding programs that have been in existence for three years or less.

“We are extremely grateful for this national recognition,” said Franz Lohrke, Samford’s Brock Family Chair in Entrepreneurship.  “One strategic goal at the Brock School of Business is to build one of the top programs in the country for training aspiring entrepreneurs, and this award validates our efforts, to date.  It is impossible to go from offering a single course in entrepreneurship in 2006 to being recognized as an outstanding national program in 2009 without the exceptional efforts of our students, faculty, administration, and supporters.”

Beginning with a single entrepreneurship course in 2006, the faculty of the Brock School of Business has developed the entrepreneurship program into an integrated multi-course curriculum that trains future entrepreneurs to pursue a broad spectrum of business opportunities.  Business students may now choose an entrepreneurship major and/or a concentration in social entrepreneurship, and all non-business students can add a social entrepreneurship as a minor to any major.  As part of the major, students participate in a $20,000 business plan competition and receive micro-business funding to start up small businesses while in college.

“With the renaming of the school of business in 2007, we launched a comprehensive entrepreneurship program in part because of the legacy of Harry B. Brock, Jr. and his successful career as an entrepreneur,” said Beck A. Taylor, dean of the Brock School of Business.  “Because family-owned and small businesses are at the heart of the American economy we also wanted to offer students a mechanism to gain the knowledge and skills needed to start their own businesses.”

Building on the initial successes of the first entrepreneurship course three years ago in encouraging graduates to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, the faculty decided one primary focus of the new program should be to help students build the skills necessary to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in new ventures, small businesses, family firms, and large companies.  In addition, they concluded that, given the university’s and business school’s missions, that they should dedicate significant effort to building a social entrepreneurship curriculum as part of the program to train students to use their business skills in non-profit or socially oriented for-profit organizations to help reduce societal problems such as illiteracy and poverty.  This program was recognized by Ashoka®, a leading social entrepreneurship organization, as one of only 28 such programs in the world in 2008.

Other finalists for USASBE’s Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program include the University of Rochester for their MBA program with an Entrepreneurship concentration and Creighton University’s Entrepreneurship Program.  The top national program will be selected at USASBE’s annual conference in mid-January 2010. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.