When big business dominated the nation’s commerce, college business students typically had three choices of majors: administration, finance and accounting. The contemporary search for “the next big thing” has moved entrepreneurship into the spotlight. Daniel J. Freeman is associate professor of business administration at the University of Delaware and director of its Horn Program in Entrepreneurship.
What is the Horn Program and how did it get started?
The program started in October 2012 as an outgrowth of our entrepreneurial studies program. It was truly an inflection point in our effort to build a robust entrepreneurial education program at the university. It’s named after donors Charlie and Patricia Horn. He’s a 1975 UD grad — a sociology major — who became a serial entrepreneur in insurance-related businesses.
Is it for undergraduate students, graduate students or both?
It’s for both. Undergrads can major in entrepreneurship and technology innovation or minor in either entrepreneurial studies or social entrepreneurship. Graduate students can earn an M.B.A. with a major in entrepreneurial studies or an M.S. in entrepreneurship and design. About 175 students are enrolled in degree programs. Nearly 1,000 students are taking classes or participating in program activities.
What is the program’s goal for its students?
We aim to create, capture and deliver value from new ideas. We want our students to learn how to recognize opportunity, generate ideas, validate innovative business models, bring new technologies to market and launch new ventures.
How do you help your students connect with other entrepreneurs?
We bring them together through a lot of special events. On our Free Lunch Fridays, entrepreneurs come in and share the secrets of their success. We usually get 50 or 60 students out to listen to them. Our Venture Development Center provides resources and support to help students hatch and grow their own businesses. Alumni and local entrepreneurs come in to judge pitch competitions as students seek funding for their projects. We look at startups as an educational process, an opportunity for advanced learning.
This article appeared in the premiere issue of Delaware Innovation Magazine, an overview of the state’s cutting edge industries and the people leading them. See the whole issue here.