UF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the top in rankings

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) was ranked in the “First Tier” of regional entrepreneurship programs for 2005 by the research firm EntrePoint in its Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program Rankings. This is the first time that Warrington’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has been named one of the 13 centers in the “Top Tier.”

The Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program Rankings were compiled through a combination of survey information collected from faculty, students, center directors, deans and program heads, as well as data from program catalogs, web sites and other published sources.

Among the Center’s “Top Tier” activities are a master’s degree program and a minor in Entrepreneurship, which are offered through the Warrington College. The master’s program includes a weekend format for working professionals, and more than 200 undergraduates University-wide are enrolled in the minor. Both the master’s and minor programs incorporate courses focusing on the principles of new venture planning. In the past year, these courses have produced more than 100 business plans for new start-ups throughout Florida and the Southeast.

Arnold Heggestad, Ph.D., Center director, said “We are pleased and proud of this recognition. It indicates that our blend of theory and practice, academics and experience, is the way to prepare the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.”

In addition to curricular activities, teams comprised of four to six graduate and undergraduate students worked with more than 30 start-up companies for a semester in the planning and managing of new ventures. This activity is part of the Center’s “Learn by Doing” experiential education. More than 2,500 students, faculty, entrepreneurs and staff were engaged in the activities of projects of the Center in 2005-2006.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are the engines for private and public wealth development and global economic growth,” said Dean John Kraft. “We established CEI six years ago to harness and direct this energy at UF and throughout Florida and the Southeast. “The ‘Top Tier’ ranking by EntrePoint indicates that the Center is successfully realizing its vision and mission; to teach, coach and inspire students to become entrepreneurial throughout their lives. The faculty and students of the Center have done an outstanding job!”