Entrepreneur program receives recognition

Desiree Mahr

EntrepreneurEDU.org, a Web site designed to highlight the top entrepreneurship programs in the nation, has selected UA’s entrepreneurship program to be featured as an Undergraduate Model Program.

Lou Marino, professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management, said the entrepreneurship program has earned a lot of respect in the past.

“We’ve been consistently recognized as one of the leading entrepreneurship programs in the world,” he said.

He said Entrepreneurship.com and the Princeton Review have ranked the program in the top 25 in the last five years.

Part of what makes the program successful, he said, is the group of students who are enrolled in the program.

“The quality of students we get to work with helps make this program great,” Marino said. “They’re bright, creative, innovative and driven. In fact, I’d put our best students here against the best entrepreneurship students anywhere in the world.”

Support from the entrepreneurship department head, the dean’s office and the University has made the program’s success possible.

“You can’t have a world class program in any discipline without support in all levels. We’ve been fortunate to have that,” Marino said.

In addition, alumni and the external board for the program influence the way students in the program learn and develop in entrepreneurship, Marino said. He said these individuals will dedicate time in their day to any students who may need help.

“High quality executives believe in what we’re doing and are willing to donate time to see it happen. They’re generous with their time, talent and treasure to support our work and our students’ efforts,” Marino said.

Marino said UA students will see rapid growth in the entrepreneurship program in the coming years, including an increase in the number of enrolled students, in the number of professors and in how entrepreneurship is fostered and facilitated on campus.

David Ford, clinical professor in management, said the financial support from the University has been helpful in the planned growth of the program.

“Everyone is realizing how important this is, so we’re finally getting the money we need to make this great. Some of it is being funded by the Provost’s office,” Ford said. “It’s an exciting time to be involved in all of this.”

The task of making the entrepreneurship program successful does not lie only within the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. Ford said it is spread among all of the colleges on campus. Working with the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the law school are among the cross-campus collaborations.

“We try to foster entrepreneurship and what it brings for all professions,” Ford said. “So many people are entrepreneurs but they don’t really think about it. What we try to do is spread that knowledge of entrepreneurship.”