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Millikin University’s Arts & Entrepreneurship (A&E) Program received high accolades at the 2013 United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Conference held Jan. 10-13 in San Francisco, Calif. The Arts & Entrepreneurship Program won the USASBE 2013 Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program Award for offering a high quality and innovative program with the purpose of educating future generations of entrepreneurs in a specialty area.

“The significance of this award is the development of collaboration with Millikin’s College of Fine Arts and the Tabor School of Business,” remarked Sharon Alpi, Director of the Millikin University Center for Entrepreneurship. “The real key is pure collaboration – we are collaborating on common outcomes, common goals, and continuing to foster creativity and innovation by both the faculty and the students.”

Launched in 2003, Millikin University’s Arts & Entrepreneurship Program is a six-credit course sequence providing performance-based learning opportunities for students to practice self-employment. A&E integrates disciplines from the Tabor School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. Students develop, launch, and grow a business. Rather than learn before doing, students are required to learn while doing by first starting a micro-venture in the A&E Program’s introductory course. Students then design and execute growth strategies for one of five student-run ventures.

“This truly speaks to the faculty who lead courses and student ventures in the College of Fine Arts,” remarked Alpi. “We have a specialty that lifts up our nationally-recognized College of Fine Arts with entrepreneurship. The laboratories of practice are real, live ventures within the Fine Arts disciplines and we provide authentic ownership experiences.”

In order to be considered for the award, Millikin’s Arts & Entrepreneurship Program submitted a self-nomination in October 2012. The A&E Program was then selected as a finalist at which time the program had to submit additional supporting materials. Representatives of the Arts & Entrepreneurship Program presented the supporting materials in front of judges at the USASBE 2013 Conference.

“One of the important things the judges took away from our presentation was the sustainability of the program and the impact,” remarked B.J. Warren, Instructor of Entrepreneurship. “This program has been on campus for over 10 years, and while it’s evolved based on the needs of our students, it has continued to be an integral part of majors across campus.”

USASBE is the premiere, professional, entrepreneurship education organization dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship. USASBE has over 1,000 members from universities and colleges, for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector, that share a common commitment to fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors. Each year USASBE awards the Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Award to a program that demonstrates innovation, quality, comprehensiveness, sustainability, depth of support, and impact. Previous recipients of the award include the University of Portland, Rice University, George Washington University, and Purdue University.

“Entrepreneurship is important, it will continue to be important, and it’s going to be important to cultivate that attitude of reasoning, thinking and opportunity for any major,” remarked Alpi. “The key thing for what we want to do is to create an opportunity for our students to have ownership experience in a real life business.”
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL