Belmont University’s Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Business Administration was recently selected by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as the winner of the National Model Undergraduate Program. USASBE, which presented the award at its national conference in San Antonio, recognizes excellence in entrepreneurship education in seven categories including undergraduate, MBA and Ph.D. programs. The USASBE Excellence in Education Awards are sponsored by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).
Belmont Professors Dr. Mark Schenkel and Dr. Jeff Cornwall along with Chris Gray also won the Outstanding Case Study award for the instructional case, “The Bun Lady,” a study of Cordia Harrington, president and CEO of the Tennessee Bun Company in Dickson. Harrington, who delivered a keynote address at the conference, was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.
Belmont University Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander said, “The Entrepreneurship major at Belmont has, since its inception, been recognized as one of the top 10 programs in the country. These ‘best in the nation’ recognitions by USASBE affirm that the program is indeed a national model of excellence in the field. We are extremely proud of what this team of faculty, staff and students has accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Cornwall in the four short years since he joined Belmont University. ”
Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, added, “This is an amazing time to be teaching entrepreneurs. This generation has business ownership as one of their top goals. They are full of energy, excitement and optimism. Many young people today are graduating from college with a successful business already operating and growing. Although my entrepreneurial career has passed, I am able to continue to live the dream of free enterprise through my students and alumni.”
The annual USASBE conference is one of the premier gatherings of entrepreneurship scholars and educators in the world. It features sessions on the best practices in entrepreneurship education and program development, with recognition given annually to the model academic programs, pedagogy and outreach efforts in the United States.
USASBE is the largest annual conference devoted exclusively to entrepreneurship. The quality and impact of the research and ideas shared at USASBE have a world-wide effect on entrepreneurship research and practice. Dean Pat Raines of the Belmont College of Business Administration noted the pervasive impact the entrepreneurship program has had on the Belmont campus: “Recognition as the national model for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs validates our highly engaged approach to entrepreneurship education and firmly establishes our program as one of the best in the country.”
The Belmont entrepreneurship program is led by Dr. Jeff Cornwall. He is the inaugural recipient of the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship. He is supported by two full time faculty members, Dr. Mark Schenkel and Mr. Jose Gonzales and Program Coordinator, Rebecca Gann. Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship offers a hands-on approach and a co-curricular environment that helps students to hit the ground running. Student entrepreneurs are given the opportunities to work in student-run retail spaces on campus or develop their own business ventures with the support of their professors in one of three business hatcheries. Previously, Entrepreneur magazine named Belmont one of the Top Ten schools in the nation with an Emphasis in Entrepreneurship.