February 2, 2016 12:02 PM

Julie Shields, director of Millikin University's Center for Entrepreneurship, recently shared her thoughts on the different approaches to initiating an entrepreneurial venture. One approach Shields referred to was a focus on an individual's talents, skills and passions.

"Entrepreneurs who leverage these qualities are often, but not always, artists, writers, organic farmers, social entrepreneurs, etc.," Shields said. "They are primarily interested in supporting an emotionally rich, creative lifestyle where they can continue to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for living a life of meaning and value."

Another approach to entrepreneurship Shields shared was opportunity recognition and customer-focused innovation. These entrepreneurs often look for existing unmet needs or inefficiencies in the market.

"In the Center for Entrepreneurship we talk about these two approaches quite a bit," Shields said. "Millikin is nationally known for its Arts and Entrepreneurship Program, and many musicians, theatre students, artists and writers enroll in our entrepreneurship courses or visit the Center to consult."

Finding the balance of passion/talent and opportunity recognition is critical for artists throughout their journeys.

Shields says, "Each individual's sense of balance is different, and the journey is defined by one's sense of self and understanding the creative market in which one exists."

Shields was named director of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship in July 2015 following the retirement of Sharon T. Alpi, founder of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship.

In 2013, Shields joined Millikin University's faculty and in the spirit of Millikin's Performance Learning mantra, led the Arts and Entrepreneurship Program including the Blue Connection retail art gallery learning laboratory. 

Click here to read more from Julie Shields in an article from the Herald & Review.