From Zero to Millions, A Certificate in Entrepreneurship

Published on July 29, 2011

WCE′s Corporate Entrepreneurship Certificate Teaches Students Business Ropes

After completing the Corporate Entrepreneurship Certificate, Jennifer Connelly launched a business from an idea she developed in class, starting her own online pet boutique.

Businesses look to fill their ranks with employees who can make a good idea great, a trait that is second-nature to many entrepreneurs but at times a challenge for those who are working within a corporation.

Students at the University of Houston can find their entrepreneurial spirit through the corporate entrepreneurship certificate (CEC) program in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

Open to UH students of any major, the CEC program includes two courses, ENTR 3310 and ENTR 3312, which introduce entrepreneurial concepts and give hands-on training in gaining the CEO perspective.

“This certificate is a real bonus on your résumé because it demonstrates that you know how to help foster innovation and create a climate of innovation in any endeavor you attempt,” said Alan Lish, a professor who teaches in the program.

“Entrepreneurship is about marshaling resources to create value by taking advantage of perceived opportunities, and this certificate gives you the tools to know how to do so. In a world of ever-changing competitive advantages, ‘innovation’ is the one competitive advantage that always stands out,” he added.

The first course in the program, ENTR 3310, is focused on the steps to start a business — planning, leadership, negotiation, entrepreneurial thinking and idea generation. The next course, ENTR 3312, builds upon that knowledge, allowing students to discover key factors to future business success.

Upon completion of the certificate program, students have a better knowledge base not only for starting a business but for being a valuable employee in any company.

“Both entrepreneurship courses were taught in a relaxed and experiential demeanor full of open brainstorm sessions with an excessive amount of creativity flowing about the entire class,” CEC graduate Jennifer Connelly said.

“No one fell asleep in these lectures,” she added. “From practicing mind-mapping techniques to being the investors on (ABC reality competition show) Shark Tank, these lessons were unique and unbelievably successful in instilling these crucial business lessons.”

After graduating, Connelly created her own business from an idea she developed in class — So Fetch Canine Couture, an online pet boutique that donates a portion of its proceeds to no-kill animal shelters. She hopes to one day expand her business into the So Fetch Foundation, where she hopes to provide animals with a place with better conditions than current animal shelters.

Bradley Boyd learned valuable business lessons during his time in the Corporate Entrepreneurship Certificate program, enabling him to launch his own online business.

Another CEC graduate, Bradley Boyd, has found success with the help of the experience he gained in the program.

“My experience in the entrepreneurship certificate courses was eye opening to me — it made me understand and believe that I actually could start a successful business,” he said. “What I’ve learned from (professors) Bill Sherrill and Alan Lish has transformed me from a college student sitting in Bauer not really knowing what I want to do, to being a very successful entrepreneur. They help you transform your idea into a running business and show you the steps to getting started.”

Even for students who aren’t planning to launch their own businesses, honing an “inner entrepreneur” will give any job seeker an edge on the competition, Boyd added.

“See if you recognize these names — Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Cuban, Russell Simmons, Tim Westergren and Steve Jobs, just to name a few,” Boyd said. “These guys came up with an idea and said, ‘This could work.’ They built a business from just an idea and each one of them now is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and some, billions. Only an entrepreneur can go from zero to making millions.”

For more information on the Corporate Entrepreneurship Certificate, click here.

By Ryan Tang