Pitch perfect | Education | insightonbusiness.com
In the New North region, higher education officials know that encouraging entrepreneurship is one of the strongest ways to support the local economy and help reduce the loss of young talent through “brain drain.”
And they’re actively working on new programs, majors and workshops to help engage students who are interested in innovating and creating change from their own backyards, whether the reach is local or global.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s new Cofrin Technology and Education Center, planned for 2026, will include a brand new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to be a “headquarters for our campus-wide efforts” to engage multiple disciplines in entrepreneurial learning, says Mathew Dornbush, dean of the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business.
With new schools of engineering and nursing, and rapidly-growing computer science and health science programs, entrepreneurship programs are “critically important to reaching those other groups that have different skillsets and need that foundation for business initiation that our entrepreneurship program can provide them,” Dornbush says. “That’s a really important strategy that we’re trying to pursue here at UW-Green Bay.”
The university currently has a bachelor’s in business administration program with an entrepreneurial emphasis, an entrepreneurship certificate, and is in the process of adding a 30-credit minor. It is redesigning its entrepreneurship curriculum to build on the experiential and applied learning process of the program.
“That’s really where we see the future of education, and entrepreneurship is clearly critical to that,” Dornbush says.
The region has so many industries seeking solutions to issues they encounter, whether it’s small manufacturers creating products for dairy farms or digital entrepreneurs creating new apps, says Paul Werner, assistant teaching professor at UW-Green Bay. Younger students also are seeking more independence with their income and futures.
“Entrepreneurship is very robust in Northeast Wisconsin, and a lot of the students are choosing entrepreneurship because they want to have more agency,” Werner says.
With leading organizations like Schreiber Foods, Schneider, KI, Green Bay Packaging and of course the Green Bay Packers, “we really feel like it’s part of our responsibility to make sure that that sort of culture is carried on into the future to assure continued prosperity for the region,” Dornbush says.
UW-Green Bay also works closely with partners like TitletownTech, the Urban Hub, and Wisys, Dornbush adds, and the university aims to help facilitate more of those types of partnerships.
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