WUSTL named top entrepreneurship school

Washington University in St. Louis has been ranked among the top schools in the nation for entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Princeton Review report.

The annual survey names the schools with the top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate entrepreneurship programs in the nation.

WUSTL ranked No. 5 in undergraduate programs and No. 6 in graduate programs.

The full list is available online at entrepreneur.com/article/224441.

“The culture of innovation and entrepreneurship continues to grow at Washington University,” says Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “The innovation and entrepreneurship initiative is one of the pillars that guides the university’s vision. All students may participate in entrepreneurial coursework and co-curricular programs are open to both student and community entrepreneurs.”

Recent news on campus and in the community illustrates the value of interdisciplinary entrepreneurial collaboration that connects students and faculty to the region’s entrepreneur community.

In May 2012, Arch Grants announced 15 winners in its inaugural global business plan competition. Winners included 11 Washington University in St. Louis-affiliated entrepreneurs, including five alumni, four faculty members and two current students.

The YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition continues to grow, with the Regional Arts Commission joining other sponsors this year for a total of $150,000 in grants available to social ventures, in addition to in-kind services the winners will receive. The RAC Award for $30,000 will go to one or more nonprofit organizations that produce or present art for entrepreneurial projects that address creative community building.

In summer 2012, Answers, a company founded by Washington University alumni and headquartered in the University City Delmar Loop, hired a dozen interns, with plans to increase that number in summer 2013. The Answers interns joined an existing group of 22 Skandalaris interns working in early-stage social and commercial ventures in St. Louis.

In September, Ralph S. Quatrano, PhD, the Spencer T. Olin Professor and dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, announced the launch of the Discovery competition for undergraduate engineering students to promote new and innovative discoveries. The competition promotes cross-campus collaborations, as teams must include one engineering student and one student from another school.

“I am pleased to see that our enhanced activities around innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the university at all levels are getting national recognition,” says Quatrano. “We are especially focused on engineering undergraduates by offering an undergraduate seminar course covering the process of bringing new technologies from concept to market, mentoring of our undergraduate students interested in starting businesses by alumni entrepreneurs, and sponsoring the Discovery Competition aimed at fostering opportunities to start companies.”

“We should credit our student entrepreneurs for our wonderful showing in the entrepreneurship rankings,” says Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Olin and professor of the Hatchery course. “I am consistently impressed by their motivation and industriousness and I am tremendously proud of the innovative businesses that they are launching and running.”

“Entrepreneurial thinking extends into many disciplines, and students at the Brown School have enthusiastically embraced our 12-credit specialization within the master of social work program,” says Tonya Edmond, PhD, associate professor at the Brown School. “The cross-disciplinary collaboration between social work and business is unique and fundamental. Our students are going to think about problems from different perspectives and create innovative solutions to complex social issues.”

Harrington concludes, “This is an exciting time for innovation and entrepreneurship at Washington University. We continue to see new cross-campus collaborations and relationships with the community that grow the culture and the support system for entrepreneurs.”