Teaching entrepreneurial practices is their business, and business is good – the best, in fact. The “business,” in this case, is the Student Venture Experience (ENT 420), an elective course in Rider’s Entrepreneurial Studies program that won a Best Practice Award at the Small Business Institute National Conference in San Diego from February 14 to 16.
The Student Venture Experience, or SVE, allows students to actually launch and conduct a business venture with mentoring from faculty and professional businesspeople for one semester. Participating students must have completed a business plan that is suitable and ready for execution in order to be approved. Student ventures needing financial assistance for the SVE can apply for, and if approved, receive a no-interest matching loan of up to $5,000 through the Rider University Student Venture Fund.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to get their feet wet in the business world for academic credit,’ said Dr. Ronald Cook, director of Entrepreneurial Programs. “The training they receive, along with the continued mentoring and financial backing, allows undergraduate students at Rider to enjoy experiential learning at its finest.”
The Rider SVE was one of just seven programs out of 32 finalists to claim Best Practice in Entrepreneurial Studies honors at this year’s conference. The program, whose objective is to help students understand the entrepreneurial process, learn fiscal discipline and manage their own business while coping with the unexpected, is uncommon in higher education, according to Dr. Radha Chaganti, professor and SVE coordinator.
“It’s unique because few other colleges or universities provide such an opportunity for hands-on entrepreneurial experience,” Chaganti explained. “Students actually plan for, invest in, start, and run a small business venture for one semester under faculty supervision. They also consult with entrepreneur-mentors as needed. Therefore, they put their entrepreneurial skills to a practical test on a relatively small scale.”
Chaganti went on to say that the Student Venture Experience is offered selectively and only to students who navigate the rigorous approval process. “Two students completed venture projects during the spring of 2007, and three projects are currently under way for 2008,” she said.
The Student Venture Experience and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies are housed in the College of Business Administration.