Entrepreneurship 411, a practicum-based course taught through the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan, is challenging its students to learn and experience entrepreneurship in a non-traditional way.
In the course, students go beyond learning basic entrepreneurial concepts by being placed directly into the role of an entrepreneur and tasked with launching their own business by the end of the course.
While each student isn’t graded on the overall success of their ventures, an overwhelming majority of students have found financial success, and some ventures have developed into real business opportunities.
Out of a total of 10 teams, students generated a total revenue of $21,644.75 with $10,699.11 in profit in just one section out of three during the Fall 2017 semester.
Four ventures had more than $500 dollars in profit, with one — Fresh Chefs of Ann Arbor — producing $9,277 in profit alone.
Cost Clothing continues to grow and test sustainable business practices. With more than 800 followers on their Instagram account, the venture holds daily auctions of original, limited-edition clothing specifically catered to college students
Ending at midnight every day, the winner with the highest bid in the comments section of the post wins. Clothes auction for anywhere from $35 all the way up to the $110.
Three other ventures have continued to grow or develop into non-profit student organizations on campus, including Bagel Brunch Bunch, which creates and delivers breakfasts to nurses working the night shift at the University of Michigan hospital.
Every semester, student interest and demand for Entrepreneurship 411 has continued to grow. The course, which began in the Winter 2013 semester with around 20 students at half-capacity, now has more than 110 students enrolled across 3 sections offered as of the Fall 2017 semester.
The course is available to any undergraduate or graduate student at the university and offers students the opportunity to engage and become a real entrepreneur. Many students feel this course offers an unmatched, one-of-a-kind entrepreneurship education.
Deeya Naval, a sophomore in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, spoke on how the course challenges students to become innovators and to think big and make construct a product with limited support.
“I’ve only taken one other entrepreneurship course but this is more creative in how there are limited resources you are given to create something,” Naval said. “Which was very different from the last course where you could’ve done anything you wanted.”
Nonetheless, the course also has something to offer for students who hold previous experiences in entrepreneurship — a new perspective.
“Don’t overthink it,” Benjamin Zimmerman, a current ENTR 411 student and undergraduate senior in the School of Information said.
He describes how the hands-on, direct approach of the course defies the standard approach to entrepreneurship he’s had in the past.
“In all the other classes I’ve done, they’ve all been theoretical ideas,” Zimmerman said. “In this course, we made a physical product and we’re actually putting it on the market to sell in three weeks which is crazy.”
The course is taught by University of Michigan graduate Dr. Brandon McNaughton, CEO and Co-founder of Akademium Life Sciences, Inc., with the aid of Thomas Kidd, an undergraduate student in the University’s School of Information.