Economics is the home for the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, a College-wide initiative that offers the Minor in Entrepreneurship. The E-Minor, as it is known on campus, is a five-course sequence that combines the rigor of our liberal-arts programs with practical applications and an internship. This brings the academics to the real world. It has become increasingly popular over the years, with 121 graduates in May 2018 and over 500 students, from first-year to senior, currently declaring their participation.
The Research Triangle is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, and our students on campus are well-integrated into that. When you bring up the idea of entrepreneurship, though, one location springs to mind: Silicon Valley. We have taken that to heart in developing an innovative semester-long program that combines the E-Minor with residence in Palo Alto: the quality academics of Carolina with the unmatched opportunities for mentoring and internships in Silicon Valley.
Students participating in this program spend a semester in Palo Alto. They complete 15 credit hours towards graduation while completing four of the five courses required for the E-Minor. They intern for an innovative enterprise. They also experience the strong entrepreneurial culture associated with the Bay Area. Trips to venues such as the Stanford Design Lab, the Y-Combinator Incubator, and iconic companies such as Apple, Google, Twitter, and Uber are incorporated into the curriculum. Local entrepreneurs provide additional mentoring
for the students.
Conrad Ma, current E-Minor student, was a participant in the semester in Silicon Valley last year. His courses, his internship (at Go-Daddy) and his camaraderie with mentors and other students all were extraordinary. In his words, the E-semester in Silicon Valley “introduced our students to tech businesses and UNC alums in the Bay Area both personally and professionally. It instilled the spirit of innovation deeply in our soul.”
They leave having completed the requirements of the E-Minor degree and with an extraordinary experience. Madrid Danner-Smith, Silicon Valley participant, put it this way: “In a 10-mile radius, there are probably 500 entrepreneurs trying to be the next big thing. Confidence is being able to do something you’re not sure you are able to do. Confidence is taking that leap of faith.” How does one get that confidence? The E-semester in Silicon Valley is a good place to start.
To learn more about the E-semester, visit: https://vimeo.com/265183147