Are you interested in opening your business? Maybe you want to open your own medical clinic, or a hobby store, or even a website like Uptown Pokies. Traditional business degrees focus on what a student needs to know in order to run a large corporation. But a BS in Entrepreneurial Studies teaches a student what they need to know in order to run a small business.
In fact, 99% of US businesses are small businesses. 88% are microbusinesses and employ less than 20 employees. 40% have less than $100K in revenue each year.
In reality, for a person interested in running a business, it is more likely that a person would be running a small business or microbusiness rather than a large corporation. So why do so many business major programs focus on large corporations? I do not know the answer to that question. I can just provide some insight into what you would learn if you chose to study in Entrepreneurial Studies.
The main difference between a certification program and a degree program is that in a certification program, a student just studies the courses in their major. In a degree program, a student studies both the subjects in their major as well as general studies (English Composition, Humanities, etc.). In this article, I am just going to focus on the courses that are specific to this major. Also, different schools will call these by slightly different names, but the general content should be similar.
The example program I describe below is from a US Community College (two-year program), but the knowledge that should be learned would be the same in a similar college or university in Africa as well.
Associate of Sciences in Business Entrepreneurship (2-year program)
This program is offered at Middlesex Community College in Maryland, USA.
This is a very hands-on major. By the time a student graduates, they will have completed a business plan of their own for a business, they are interested in starting.
Introduction to Entrepreneurship
This course will focus on the entrepreneurial process including idea generation, opportunity evaluation, planning, and implementation. Experiential, project-based learning will help solidify concepts learned.
Society is growing more aware of the need to take care of our world and restore it to a sustainable path. This course will examine current economic, social, and environmental issues and develop a process of identifying viable solutions.
You will explore the roots of social entrepreneurship and its champions as well as the current trends and initiatives in place.
Other topics will include a triple bottom line, social ventures, intrapreneurship, corporate social responsibility, social innovation, and business models.
Entrepreneurship and Opportunity
This course is geared toward actively engaging in the entrepreneurial process by developing and using an entrepreneurial mindset. The primary purpose is to utilize tools and practices to evaluate ideas and business opportunities, test the viability of opportunity, and prepare a business model to launch a venture or strengthen an existing one.
Students will gain an understanding of how to define customer fit through a focus on value proposition and customer segments. Students are expected to have a business idea they want to develop.
Entrepreneurship in Action
This is a followup course to Entrepreneurship and Opportunity.
This course is geared toward actively engaging in the launch of a new venture. The primary purpose is to utilize a business model to apply a workable small business plan for starting and maintaining a new venture. will allow students to apply lessons learned in all previous business education directly to their venture. If financing is required, they will need to prepare a business plan.
Students are expected to have a business they are currently developing.
This course is geared toward actively engaging in the entrepreneurial process by attending workshops, events, and entrepreneurial activities that prepare an entrepreneur in setting up systems necessary to operate their business.
The primary purpose is to utilize tools and practices within their industry, which support the launch or growth of a business.
Students must take a minimum of 50 hours of workshops from a list of agreed-upon courses available through MCC’s Continuing Education department or make other arrangements for outside workshops with the Entrepreneurship Coordinator as deemed necessary.
Students will receive credit for this course after the assessment of deliverables created during workshops.
Entrepreneurship Launchpad (internship in your own business)
This course is geared toward actively engaging in the launch of a new venture; think of it as an internship within your own business. The primary purpose is to utilize a business model to set up and maintain a new venture.
Students will be able to actively work on their new venture while benefiting from peer-mentoring and coaching from their professor(s). Students will prepare a complete business plan then present it at an investment pitch to a funding committee.
Financial Accounting is the study of the analysis, interpretation, and use of accounting information by external decision-makers. Topics include the preparation of financial statements, business accounting cycle, cash vs. accrual basis accounting, and GAAP. Computer applications are integrated through the course.
Managerial Accounting is the study of the use of accounting information for managerial decision making. Topics covered include cost analysis, budgeting, activity-based costing, and relevant cost decisions. Spreadsheet applications are integrated throughout the course.
Computer Applications provides the general knowledge and skills needed to operate computers for academic, professional, and personal use with an introduction to the major software tools: word processing, spreadsheets, data management, and presentation graphics. This course also covers computer concepts, managing and storing files, and utilization of Internet resources.
This course provides a comprehensive study of the relationship between business and the law. It includes a study of the American legal system and an exploration of the types of legal entities through which business can be conducted. The course also introduces students to various legal issues affecting businesses.
A general statistics course, which includes understanding data, measures of central tendency, measures of variation, binomial distributions, normal distributions, correlation, and regression probability and sampling distributions, Central Limit Theorem, confidence intervals, estimates of population parameters and hypotheses testing. Interpretation and data analysis are emphasized.
Precalculus for Business and Social Sciences
Topics in preparation for Calculus for Business including the study of polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions. Applications will draw from the fields of Business and Social science, including revenue/cost, matrices, and linear programming.
Associate of Arts and Sciences in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies (2-year program)
This program is offered at Middlesex Community College in New Jersey, USA.
This program takes more a traditional learning of the material as opposed to the hands-on approach of the above program.
1. Mathematics of Finance
2. Introduction to Business
3. Computer Applications and Systems
4. Accounting for Small Business
5. Small Business Management
6. Marketing and Sales for Small Business
7. Fundamentals of Public Speaking
8. Business Law I
9. Advertising and Promotion in Small Business
10. Leadership and Supervision
11. Principals of Economics I
12. Risk and Financial Management
13. Cooperative Education / Internship in Small Business
14. Seminar in Management Experiences
For anybody interested in starting their own program, a hands-on A.S. or A.A.S. program in Entrepreneurial Studies where the student graduates with a well-written business plan for their own business idea is an excellent investment in the student’s future.
Another popular option is to focus on the theory, as opposed to the hands-on development of a student’s own business plan. This may be the right choice is a student wants a foundation knowledge to run a small business but does not actually want to start their own small business.
A full Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies program should cover both the theory as well actually working through writing your own business plan.
If I was going to give advice to my own college-bound child, I would tell them that if they did not know what they wanted to study in college or what they wanted to “do in life”, I would recommend that they get a certification of degree in Entrepreneurial Studies - offered at many institutes of higher learning in South Africa.
Even if a student has no desire to run their own small business, no matter what type of company they eventually end up in, having a founding in Entrepreneurial studies (how to manage and run a small business), will give them a solid foundation for future promotion into a management position.