The Future of Jobs Report 2020 from the World Economic Forum noted that 50 percent of people will need to re-skill within the next five years due to the “double-disruption” of the pandemic’s impact and the increasing technological automation that has been transforming work for some time now. The report identified the top 10 in-demand skills of 2025, with innovation at the top of the list. And now students at Penn State Wilkes-Barre can choose to minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) — one of the fastest growing minors within Penn State.
“Students in the ENTI minor are able to become innovative leaders within their career paths and, most importantly, learn critical-thinking skills,” said Theresa Clemente, business program coordinator and assistant teaching professor of business at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. “They can be entrepreneurs within an existing company, which is called intrapreneurship, or they can engage in a startup venture. They can create alliances and build their network.”
“Minors help students become more well-rounded and develop skills toward any industry while differentiating themselves,” Clemente added. “The ENTI minor is limitless in terms of majors that it pairs well with, since so many different clusters are offered.”
The ENTI minor includes three core courses and three “cluster” courses that focus on the student’s concentration area. Clusters are set up to provide specific skills to help students achieve their career goals in a certain area. At Penn State Wilkes-Barre, classes are offered in the New Ventures cluster, designed to help students develop the skills and ways of thinking required to create, develop, innovate, and manage entrepreneurial ventures.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre students interested in other clusters (Arts Entrepreneurship, Bio-Tech, Digital Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Entrepreneurship as Advocacy, Food and Bio-Innovation, Hospitality Management, New Media, Social Entrepreneurship, or Technology-Based Entrepreneurship) can take courses remotely.
The minor is an intercollege offering that is part of the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship and is open to all Penn State students. It uses faculty and resources from several colleges across the University, including Clemente, who teaches minor courses at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
The ENTI minor is part of the Invent Penn State initiative, which aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship across all university disciplines. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business start-up training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and collaborations among the University, communities, and industry. The goal is to turn research discoveries into valuable products and services that benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.
At Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Invent Penn State will function through what is known as the IDEA Hub, promoting local entrepreneurship offerings while emphasizing the educational opportunities — such as the ENTI minor — provided by the campus. The IDEA Hub will focus on immersion, discovery, engagement and advancement of new ideas.
Stephanie Gresh, IDEA Hub coordinator and assistant teaching professor of business, said, “Our goal is for Penn State Wilkes-Barre to be the place where students can learn about innovation and what’s trending. Education and discovery are an important part of the entrepreneurship process. We want to teach students how to create ideas that can lead to opportunities.”
“The IDEA Hub will help students learn how to develop ideas and get referrals to local organizations through our partnerships with them,” Gresh said. “Through the ENTI minor and lessons in entrepreneurship, students will leave with an entrepreneurial mindset, which is related closely to critical thinking. Both of these are valuable skills for employment.”
Clemente said that employers find it beneficial to hire graduates with skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship. “They’re getting innovative thinkers, leaders and managers as employees.”
Megan Millo, owner of the The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, pointed out that students with diverse résumés have more employment possibilities.
“It gives them more avenues to find rewarding and fulfilling work,” she said.
Millo is a 2013 graduate of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre business program, where she focused on marketing and management. She serves on the campus advisory board.
“Owning a business takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, but it’s extraordinarily rewarding to be able to be your own boss and have something you can build and make your mark on,” she said.
Millo encouraged students to consider studying entrepreneurship, saying, “Having a background in entrepreneurship can prepare students and also motivate them. So many students want to start their own businesses but don’t feel confident enough to do so, and there is so much creativity the world is missing out on because of this issue. I think studying entrepreneurship at Penn State Wilkes-Barre can give students the knowledge and skills they need to go out and pursue their dreams and be successful.”
To learn more about a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, contact the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Admissions Office at 570-675-9238 or [email protected].