Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Carolina entrepreneurship education earns top-tier ranking

U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC-Chapel Hill as the No. 4 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country.

Two students use a 3D printer.
Nick Aguilar, left, a junior linguistics and German major from Charlotte, and sophomore Aydan Smith, right, of Atlanta work in the 3D printing area of the BeAM makerspace on June 14, 2017, at Murray Hall in Chapel Hill. BeAM is a network of makerspaces where students can participate in the design and making of physical objects for education, research, entrepreneurship and recreation. The makerspace offers open studios, training sessions, workshops, hosted classes and group activities. It is equipped with emerging technologies like 3D printing as well as wood and metalworking shops. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Undergraduate entrepreneurship education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has never been stronger, according to a new national ranking. US News and World Report ranked UNC-Chapel Hill as fourth best on its undergraduate entrepreneurship programs list. The ranking, which is the highest in the program’s history and is based on peer assessment surveys, signals the breadth, depth and diversity of Carolina’s entrepreneurship education opportunities.

“By teaching an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset through a variety of curricular offerings and programs, UNC-Chapel Hill prepares students with the practical knowledge and skills they need to go from ideation to full-blown innovation,” says Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. “The skills that students learn – such as the ability to plan ahead, be flexible and adaptable, take smart risks, and work hard – will help them succeed in any professional path they choose.”

One of the most distinctive elements of entrepreneurship at UNC-Chapel Hill is the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the College of Arts & Sciences. For 13 years, undergraduate students from any major across campus have been able to earn a minor in entrepreneurship.

The Shuford Program not only involves course work in the economics department, but also a summer internship with entrepreneurial firms either in the local area, across the country or abroad. A generous $18 million gift from the Shuford family in May 2017 has allowed the program to amplify the way it serves students. It’s now able to support additional faculty and internship opportunities to meet increasing student demand. Since 2005, more than 1,500 students have enrolled in the program.

The Kenan-Flagler Business School supports entrepreneurs through courses and many other forms of structured learning. Its Entrepreneurship Center allows both undergraduate and graduate students to enroll in entrepreneurship courses or pursue a concentration. Each year a high percentage of undergraduate and MBA students enroll in these courses. The business school also provides special co-curricular offerings. These include: