ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

CSU will unveil program for entrepreneurs in 1997

Anne McCarthy knows about starting a business and how an owner must know it all: financing, taxation, 401(k) plans, health care, not to mention a little something about the business itself, be it landscape design, running a veterinary office or a restaurant.And now she’s involved in setting up Colorado State University’s entrepreneurship program for undergraduates and graduates. The new program joins those already in place at the University of Colorado at Boulder, CU at Denver and the University of Denver.
Though the curriculum won’t be approved and in the catalog until November 1997 at the earliest, McCarthy, an assistant professor of management, is hard at work designing the courses, appointing a board of advisers and trying out some of the courses.
McCarthy gained experience as an entrepreneur after graduating from Georgetown University in 1980. First she worked for a small hotel chain, Guest Quarters, and later went to Hartford, Conn., where, with two friends, she bought historic buildings and renovated them into office space.
Later, she pursued her doctorate at Purdue University and landed a job at Indiana University overseeing its entrepreneurship program. Now she’s setting out to do the same thing at CSU.
Students in the program will benefit in three ways, she said.
“First, if they want to start their own business, they will learn the trials and tribulations, the critical success factors, the real tools on how to get started, how to write a business plan, conduct a feasibility study, how to assess the competition,” McCarthy said.
The second benefit? “Perhaps you’re not interested in owning your own business,” she said, “but you want to work for a small business. This curriculum would give you a better feel for what the small-business owners encounter.”
The program, she explained, will have an integrated, broad-based curriculum that draws across many disciplines.
The third benefit of taking the course, she said, is that students who desire to go into a field that supports entrepreneurs, such as banking or venture capital, will gain an understanding of small businesses. They will learn how to assess financing plans, create their own financial plan and understand the mechanics involved.
At the undergraduate level, students will take a three-course sequence on entrepreneurship. The first class will focus on generating an idea for a new business and creating a feasibility study; the second will investigate cash flow, taxation and financing; and the third will have students writing the business plan and dealing with special topics, such as exports, 401(k) plans and employee health insurance.
The masters in business administration program, McCarthy said, should attract students from many other disciplines, including veterinary medicine, physics, engineering and horticulture.
“We’ll take an idea or patent or copyright and work on commercializing it. MBA students are better suited for that; they have more experience.”
McCarthy said, however, that in her experience, less than 1 percent of students who complete an entrepreneurship program actually start their own firms.
“It’s a combination of not being at a point where you want to take the risk, or you don’t have the capital, or you haven’t come across that idea,” she said. “In their 30s is when people usually start their own business; until then, they work for someone else, get capital and get ready to take that risk.”
She also noted that entrepreneurs with the greatest ideas are those with education, experience or a hobby that essentially doubles as a second profession.
“A lot of entrepreneurs got to work for someone else, like the market, product or service and decide they can do it better, differently or in a different geographic area. This is the type of person who comes back to an entrepreneurship program so they can get those tools.”
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Anne McCarthy knows about starting a business and how an owner must know it all: financing, taxation, 401(k) plans, health care, not to mention a little something about the business itself, be it landscape design, running a veterinary office or a restaurant.And now she’s involved in setting up Colorado State University’s entrepreneurship program for undergraduates and graduates. The new program joins those already in place at the University of Colorado at Boulder, CU at Denver and the University of Denver.
Though the curriculum won’t be approved and in the catalog until November 1997 at the earliest,…

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