Skip to Main Content
Chico State

University’s Center for Entrepreneurship Receives Global Recognition for Interdisciplinary Excellence

The Makerspace, located in the Meriam Library, features 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, and an industrial sewing machine and is a product of Chico State's Center for Entrepreneurship. Here, a sign for the grand opening for the Makerspace is shown.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

The Library’s new Makerspace held a grand opening with demonstrations of equipment, discussions of integrating Makerspace into course work and curricula, and ribbon-cutting Tuesday, February 6, 2018 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

California State University, Chico’s Center for Entrepreneurship has been recognized as one of the world’s top programs for interdisciplinary education and preparation of its students.

In late October, the Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) named CSU, Chico’s Center for Entrepreneurship in its list of 2018 Top 5 Programs for Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines at its annual conference in Chicago.

The GCEC is a global organization with more than 200 member centers. Its mission is to become the key junction for university-based entrepreneurship centers to collaborate, communicate and jointly advance excellence in entrepreneurship through the unique role and position of the centers in academic and business communities.

While proposals from more than 100 entrepreneurship centers around the world were considered, CSU, Chico’s many interdisciplinary programs stood out to the GCEC. The University’s proposal focused on the center’s interdisciplinary work, which includes Bridge Entrepreneurship, Bridge Fellows Program, the Makerspace, the Accelerator Fund, the Collegiate Wind Competition, and collaboration with the mechanical engineering and computer science departments as well as the Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology.

“It’s a great global recognition for the work we’ve done,” said Colleen Robb, director of CSU, Chico’s Center for Entrepreneurship. “Over the past two years, our faculty have built relationships with disciplines across the University to enable students that wouldn’t normally work together innovate and have a truly interdisciplinary experience in the classroom. Frequently that kind of collaboration leads to the creation of concepts and companies that students work on outside of the classroom.”

Other finalists for the recognition included the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s DifferenceMaker Program; the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute; London South Bank University’s Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation; and Purdue University’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Operating within the College of Business, the Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to providing resources, inspiration, support and mentorship for entrepreneurial minded individuals from every school of thought. The center supports students in their educational endeavors through opportunities to learn how to launch a product, service, or business, build prototypes for ideas, launch online businesses, and apply for and secure funding from investors, among many other hands-on learning opportunities. More than 190 students are enrolled in entrepreneurship courses this semester.

Robb said that over the last year, CSU, Chico’s Center for Entrepreneurship has worked tirelessly to engage different majors and to encourage students with varying strengths, interests and communication styles to work together in the classroom. She noted that this provides valuable experience before the students reach the workforce where, for example, engineers, designers and business majors may all collaborate on the same project.

“In a traditional academic setting, that kind of communication doesn’t happen. Typically they don’t interact until after they graduate,” Robb said. “The foundation we give them to collaborate early and often is demonstrated in the creativity and success of their entrepreneurial ideas and primes them for leading the way in their eventual fields.”

Funding for the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship relies solely on private donations to fund student projects, student organizations, extracurricular activities and regional development efforts.

For information on how to get involved in the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, visit its website or call 530-898-4894.