Tiffin U exploring entrepreneurship program

The Tiffin University School of Business is in the beginning stages of creating an entrepreneurship program to serve its students, as well as the greater Tiffin community and beyond, according to marketing professor Perry Haan, who is to lead the new effort.

The program concept first was proposed by Lillian Schumacher, dean of the business school.

“It is never too early to teach students about creativity and innovation, and this is the heart of entrepreneurship. This generation is filled with intelligent and highly technologically competent young minds and it would be a shame to not educate them to leverage those skills in today’s global environment,” Schumacher said.

The broader concept of entrepreneurship, according to Haan, includes those who are starting or expanding business “but also includes exploring innovative risk-taking within organizations, sometimes referred to as intrapreneurship. It also consists of risk-taking in non-business organizations and can include social entrepreneurship, political entrepreneurship and knowledge entrepreneurship.”

Haan has been in communication with members of the Tiffin community, local representatives of the Small Business Administration and faculty and administrators involved in academic entrepreneurship programs in other parts of the country.

“Before we decide what we want to do in our entrepreneurship program, we are trying to determine what others in the communities we serve are doing and how what we do can fit to the market without duplicating efforts of other groups,” he said

He said the current goal is to explore characteristics of entrepreneurship and determine how TU can create a program “that meets the needs of the university and its wider communities.”

A group of community leaders met recently to provide input to the research conducted on the project. Included at the meeting were Jodie Reinbolt from the Tiffin Charitable Foundation, Rich Focht from Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., John Detwiler and Deb Martorana from the Tiffin Chamber of Commerce and Barbara Higgins, an entrepreneurship consultant.

Haan said the program hopes to cultivate a broader understanding of entrepreneurship and the concept of alternative funding.

“Many entrepreneurs still see the bank as their only source of potential funding. Today, many other sources are available including newer ideas such as crowd sourcing, which is just now in the formative stages” he said.

Haan said the group also has been discussing exporting. Federal and state governments are encouraging businesses to explore exporting as a way to expand their businesses and bolstering the economy.

“This could be a good opportunity, with Tiffin’s experience with its MBA programs and other ventures into international markets,” Haan said. “Since we have started looking into this entrepreneurship program, some very interesting opportunities have arisen, including some inquires that came from our involvement in Romania, Poland and Czech Republic. Entrepreneurship is a hot topic in many parts of the world.”

Although the end product has not yet been determined, one of the

options appears to be offering a non-degree certificate programs in entrepreneurship.

Another idea being discussed is a program geared toward area high school students.

Eventually, Haan said there could be an entrepreneurship concentration in the undergraduate management curriculum. As a starting point, he is offering an undergraduate class in entrepreneurship next fall.

An Entrepreneurship Club also is in the works at TU.