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ASU's business school adding degree in entrepreneurship

Sidnee Peck, director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W.P. Carey School, says integrating students with Arizona's community of investors, mentors and CEOs will increase the state's jobs, wealth and talent. (Photo Courtesy of the W.P. Carey School of Business)

PHOENIX - Arizona State University's school training students to work in accounting, finance, marketing and other traditional business roles is adding a major specifically for those who want to start their own companies.

The W.P. Carey School of Business will start offering a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship next fall, joining the University of Arizona McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and many other business schools around the country. ASU currently offers certificate programs in entrepreneurship.

Sidnee Peck, director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W.P. Carey School, said integrating students with Arizona's community of investors, mentors and CEOs will increase the state's jobs, wealth and talent.

"There's a lot of value placed on an entrepreneurial mindset, the ability to innovate and execute on innovative ideas, the ability to recognize market patterns and trends in order to capitalize on opportunities," she said.

According to a list compiled by Saint Louis University, there are 224 U.S. schools offering degrees in entrepreneurship.

Professor Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W.P. Carey School, said unlike other programs ASU's major will emphasize fundamentals of accounting, finance, management, marketing and economics and not just the "excitement" of starting a business.

He said it's important to equip students to seek self-employment, especially in times of economic uncertainty in which small businesses create many of the new jobs.

"It's almost like new cells growing in the body all the time," Mittelstaedt said. "You need to have new companies that start to replace old ones, to replace concepts, ideas and technology that have become outdated."

The 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity ranked Arizona as the state with the nation's highest entrepreneurial activity. Out of every 100,000 adults, 520 create businesses in the state each month.

Sherry Hoskinson, former director of the UA's McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the Eller College of Management, said having majors at both universities will attract more people who can create companies offering high-paying jobs.

"This is and will remain an entrepreneurial economy," said Hoskinson, who is now director of commercialization networks and operations for the UA's Tech Launch Arizona. "We have to have these kinds of people to be the visionaries of it."

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said a second university offering a degree in entrepreneurship suits the state's business climate. Ventures started by trained entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed, he added.

"Entrepreneurs create jobs, improve upon existing products. They develop new ones and often increase efficiency," Hamer said.

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