WMU course examining startups wins national award

contact: Deanne Puca
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University course examining the factors that foster vibrancy in high-tech startup communities took third place in a national business education competition.

Offered in the Lee Honors College's Study in the States program, "Entrepreneurship: Understanding Startup Communities," received one of seven 2015 Innovation in Business Education Awards from the MidAmerican Business Deans Association. Submitted by Dr. John Mueller, assistant professor, and graduate assistant Fareed Shalhout, it was one of 18 submissions from across the country.

About the course

In the course, WMU students are encouraged to learn and experience what cities are doing to foster startups in their environment and compare those environments with Kalamazoo's startup scene.

Students are exposed to communities that have allowed new high-tech firms to thrive in recent decades, including Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit and Grand Rapids. In addition, the students experience a retreat at the Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis to learn how entrepreneurs can grow their companies to become viable economic entities in a community.

During the trips, they engage with individuals in various organizations that have fostered a culture in their community that allows entrepreneurial and innovative activities to happen, and they meet with entrepreneurs, investors, officials with accelerators and incubators, university professors and government officials. 

First place went to Truman State University and second pace to Saint Xavier University. There were four honorable mention recipients: University of Wisconsin secured two awards, and Minnesota State University and Fort Hays State University each earned one.

To learn more about the Lee Honors College Study in the States program, visit wmich.edu/honors/advising/states.

For more information on the WMU course and to read blog posts from the students about their travels and learning experiences, visit broncostartup.com/usc

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.