Research shows that for individuals to assume a role, they must have models to follow. Entrepreneurs are everyday people, and the Belk College of Business increasingly is providing opportunities for UNC Charlotte students to learn from entrepreneurs.
Justin Webb, Belk Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation, developed the novel course Entrepreneurial Decisions, which is open to UNC Charlotte undergraduate and graduate students and includes a public speaker series component. He joined UNC Charlotte in 2014 as part of a $5 million gift from Belk Inc. to the Belk College to boost entrepreneurialism and innovation. He and other faculty in the Belk College are helping to educate next-gen entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Each week this fall, select entrepreneurs discuss their key experiences and decisions they made with regard to their ventures. Beyond having the opportunity to learn from these innovative business leaders, class participants have opportunities to network and engage in topics related to entrepreneurship.
Innovative entrepreneurs provide value to the community, which is one reason the Belk College places an emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship and innovation.
“These entrepreneurs become role models for others living in the community, and having role models is a critical factor in encouraging others to take similar steps,” said Webb. “Beyond simply serving as a role model, entrepreneurs are often individuals that love to help others. So, entrepreneurs often make themselves available as sources of advice and knowledge to prospective entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs looking to take the next step in growing their ventures. And, successful entrepreneurs also often appreciate the support they received in starting out their ventures and are willing to pay it forward.”
Webb added, “As faculty members, we try to give students the experiences so that they can take action and actually experience entrepreneurship. Students develop specific competencies including opportunity recognition, alertness, vision, creative problem solving and risk taking - very specific skills entrepreneurs need to succeed. Entrepreneurship and innovation drive economic development.”
Students in the class are excited to learn from some of the Queen City’s top entrepreneurs. Here’s what some have said about the Entrepreneurial Decisions class: