Build A Business: Supporting Student Entrepreneurs
Raise your hand if you’ve thought of starting your own business someday. Maybe you have a great idea for a new service that could change the world. Or perhaps you want to launch a startup that could become a Fortune 500 company. But starting a business is hard––a great concept is just one small part of the puzzle. You also need to know how to craft a business plan, how to find and secure seed capital from investors, how to hire and fire, how to market effectively, and how to scale appropriately.
Like most other business schools, the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama offers a wide variety of majors that include accounting, finance, marketing, economics, plus a number of concentrations and minors. And for students who are enrolled in the management major, they may also focus their studies on how to launch and grow a business venture by enrolling in the entrepreneurship concentration.
Students in the entrepreneurship concentration learn how to identify and evaluate opportunities and how to capitalize on those opportunities. In doing so, they will work closely with faculty and experienced entrepreneurs to gain hands-on experience in key activities necessary to build comprehensive business models and create profitable enterprises.
Course titles include “Starting New Ventures,” “TechnologyCommercialization,” and “Small Business Consulting.” A key part of the concentration is a capstone experience wherein a student can work directly with a company to help grow their business or launch a startup of their own.
All that said, it’s not just students concentrating in entrepreneurship at Culverhouse that get to have all the business-innovating fun.
The College is also home to the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, which hosts events and manages programs that support budding and current entrepreneurs both on the UA campus and also throughout the state.
Win A Competitive Edge
One of the Institute’s biggest events, the Edward K. Aldag Jr. Business Pitch Competition, distributes over $100,000 annually to the best business ideas, which have included teams composed of students enrolled in non-business programs. Winning teams also get access to entrepreneur-focused resources such as office space at The EDGE, which is a business incubator and accelerator located in the heart of Tuscaloosa operated by the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute.
Recent winning companies include outdoor adventure and travel platform Trips4Trade, which won the $50,000 grand prize in 2019, and test preparation company PrepHQ, which came out on top for the 2020 edition. Dr. Theresa Welbourne, executive director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, gets excited by the future of entrepreneurship at the Capstone, “We’re building connections across campus with other entrepreneurially-minded programs so that our students get the resources and help they need to launch a successful business.”
“Last year we piloted the first Crimson Entrepreneurship Academy for students who have business ideas, went through the business plan competition and could benefit from spending the summer with other like-minded students across campus working on their businesses full time.”
“This is great training for people who want to start their own businesses or who want to take that learning and new skills to a more established firm right after graduation,” she added. For more info about entrepreneurship programs at Culverhouse, visit culverhouse.ua.edu.