Entrepreneurship minor open to students of all majors

By Rory McCarty

By Rory McCarty

Senior Reporter

Oakland University’s School of Business Administration began one of its newest program with the knowledge that businesspeople are not the only ones to start their own businesses.

Some students aspire to take the knowledge they gain in school and use it to start their own company.

However, a student not currently majoring in business who intends to start his or her own business may not know where to start.

That’s what OU’s minor program in entrepreneurship has been teaching since last year, and the program has just produced its first graduate.

The program is open to students of every discipline, and Wayne Blizman, who created the entrepreneurship minor with former business school Dean Jonathan Fiberman, says the minor can be an excellent complement for business and non-business majors alike.

Blizman, who also teaches of one of the classes, Foundations of Entrepreneurship, ENT 300, said that the program would benefit non-business students who would like to make a living off of their chosen field of study. For instance, a dance major who was not interested in performing for a living could learn the tools needed to open their own studio.

The minor contains a total of six, three-credit courses. The classes also include concepts like “Creativity and Innovation,” which is taught by psychology professor Cynthia Sifonis.

The program finishes with a Capstone course that focuses on incorporating all the elements together.

The idea for the minor came about when Blizman spoke to Fiberman, who believed that there was a need for such a program, and saw other universities starting similar programs.

“Look what’s going on in the Detroit area. Look at the automotive companies and suppliers laying off employees. People [who have been laid off] say ‘why don’t I just start my own business?'” Blizman said.

Blizman also pointed out that every business had to start somewhere.

“Bill Gates started out as an entrepreneur. Steve Jobs started out as an entrepreneur. Ford Motors was started by Henry Ford. He was an entrepreneur. If you think about it, almost every company was started by an entrepreneur,” he said.

Blizman said that one of his goals is to expand the visibility of the program throughout OU. He said that student reaction so far has been positive, and most students who took the first course later decided to continue with the minor.

One such student is Brennon Edwards, a senior public administration major who began taking the entrepreneurship minor courses last winter.

“So far I’ve taken only the introductory course, but it was amazing,” Edwards said.

Edwards said he is taking the minor to help him run a company with his twin brother, Alonzo.

In their company, Fraternal Easels, Edwards manages the business side of the company while his brother creates paintings that they sell.

Edwards is currently working on a business plan for Fraternal Easels as he prepares to graduate.

Edwards said that he’s learned a great deal about managing a company from meeting with entrepreneurs who come in to assist in teaching the classes.

“One of the entrepreneurs … took my business with my brother and saw a lot of potential in it,” Edwards said. “It was so good that after almost every class, I’d call my brother and tell him the ideas I’d learned.”