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How to build your entrepreneurial experience to successfully launch or innovate a company

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By Jamie Kraft, Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center

When building a house, there are a number of steps one needs to follow in order to make sure a solid structure is in place: choose a location, pour the foundation, erect the walls, add the plumbing, etc. It is no different when building the experience you’ll need to successfully launch a company or innovate an existing one. But just how do you build a portfolio of entrepreneurial experience? By hiring the No. 3 Best Entrepreneurship Master’s program, the Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE), to serve as your contractor!

Select the site

Located in sunny Florida, Gainesville is a college-town with a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is home to multiple top incubators and accelerators (including high-tech, biotech, small business and kitchen incubators), a significant support network of mentors and advisors, and a startup culture represented by many successful entrepreneurial companies of all types and sizes. And lest we forget, the MSE program is located at the University of Florida, a land, sea and space grant university with a deep history of innovation, entrepreneurship education, a wide research base covering all manner of invention and a large network stretching around the globe.

Pour the foundation

The MSE program exposes you to deep, rigorous coursework covering entrepreneurial subject matter delivered by top faculty. Courses such as Creativity, Product Development, Venture Finance, Business Planning, Entrepreneurial Law and Entrepreneurial Selling, among many others, serve as the base on which your entrepreneurial experiential portfolio will rest. Many of these courses are taught by been-there, done-that entrepreneurs and academics, who have had entrepreneurial success in their own lives.

Erect the frame, walls, and install the doors and insulation – the infrastructure

The MSE program provides students with cutting-edge facilities, from state-of-the-art classrooms and study rooms in the 70,000-square-foot Hough Hall, to meeting space for teams and business owners, to the Gator Hatchery student incubator, there’s a place for you to build your entrepreneurial experience!

Add the plumbing, electrical and HVAC – the life-blood of the home

For the MSE program these are the 13 entrepreneurial competencies that run through the curriculum and are introduced and reinforced both inside and outside of the classroom. Entrepreneurs who want to be successful must master these competencies, such as the ability to identify opportunities, leverage resources, mitigate risk, create value and convey a compelling vision.

Select the flooring, trim and fixtures

These are the elements that provide your house with its personal touch and differentiate it among others. The MSE program requires that students maintain an individual portfolio of experiences gained over the course of their time in the program. Whether they be projects in class, such as providing consulting to local small business owners, or outside of the classroom, like interacting with some of the nation’s top venture capitalists during the Silicon Valley spring break trip, or participating in the campus-wide Big Idea Competition with the chance to win up to $25K, the MSE program offers many experiences that students can highlight as part of their entrepreneurial journey.

Time and budget

Now that you know more about how to build your entrepreneurial experience portfolio, you’re probably wondering, what’s all this going to cost me? Time-wise, the MSE program takes just one year. You won’t need to worry about blowing your budget, either. The University of Florida is consistently ranked as a Best Value College by Forbes, Money and Kiplinger, accepts financial aid and has opportunities for student assistantships, among other opportunities.


So, what are you waiting for? Start building today by requesting information about the Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship!