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|Volume 10 Edition 7: April 2011|
Dr. Dianne Welsh on University Entrepreneurship at UN Economic Commission Conference in the Ukraine -previously published in the Bryan School newsletter
Dr. Dianne H.B. Welsh, the Charles A. Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Bryan School of Business and Economics, has received the Best Practices National Award for Creative Cross-Disciplinary Entrepreneurship from the Small Business Institute. The award recognizes Welsh’s work in developing the entrepreneurship major and minor in the Bryan School of Business and Economics for students and non-business students, and the graduate certificate in entrepreneurship. Welsh is also the founder and executive director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG and has written four books on international franchising.
In November 2010, Welsh spoke on university entrepreneurship at an international conference of the United Nation's Economic Commission for Europe in Kiev, Ukraine. After her presentation, a Russian official referenced Welsh’s presentation in her own address and referred to Welsh by name. The official, a director of a Russian entrepreneurship center, was discussing what must be done to change the culture and education system in Russia and throughout the former Eastern Bloc to create a new generation of entrepreneurs.
“It’s highly unusual based on culture and history that the Russians would recognize our programs in their talk,” Welsh said recently. The conference was designed to teach emerging countries in Eastern Europe how to cultivate commercialization in their countries. Participants included government officials, professors and scientists, and entrepreneurs from eastern European countries, as well as US embassy officials.
“I talked about the importance of cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship,” said Welsh, who is the Charles A. Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Bryan School. “Spread entrepreneurship throughout the curriculum so that you spread innovation and commercialization. You can’t just start a center and expect that’s how it works. You have to put the foundation there first.”
Universities play a key role in this because the vast majority of research that could lead to business creation occurs on campuses, Welsh said. Her case study for the presentation was UNCG’s efforts to integrate an entrepreneurial mindset through the curriculum through cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship.
“If you lay the foundation for entrepreneurship throughout a campus, you’re going to end up having people who have an entrepreneurial mindset and can produce products and services, and start their own entrepreneurial endeavors,” she explained.
Moving in this direction will be difficult in Eastern Europe since most people were taught Marxist economics. “There is a lot of talk within these governments and not much action in terms of moving these countries forward. Change will be slow,” she said. “A new generation of entrepreneurs needs to be created with a reward system put into place in order for progress to be made.”
In the US, however, entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing subjects in undergraduate education. At UNCG, 33 new or revised cross-disciplinary courses with an entrepreneurship focus have been added in curricula across campus in recent years, including a new minor for non-business majors, a redesigned minor for business majors, and a new entrepreneurship major launched last fall. The university also offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in entrepreneurship.
UNCG’s Welsh to Discuss Entrepreneurship at United Nations Conference (Bryan School)
Welsh wins national award for entrepreneurship practices (University News)
The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC)