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Belmont Ranked Top 20 Nationally for Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Education

University represents only entrepreneurship program in Tennessee to be recognized by Princeton Review, Entrepreneur Magazine

Aspiring business owners need to look no further, as Nashville’s Belmont University offers one of the best programs in the country for those who want to study entrepreneurship, according to a recent ranking from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. The education services company named Belmont No. 20 on its list of “Top 50 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2020.”

Belmont represented the only school in Tennessee, and one of only six colleges in the Southeast, to be named to the list. Belmont’s prime location in Nashville makes it even more attractive for budding entrepreneurs as the city was recently ranked by Inc. as the nation’s fourth best city to start a business, rating it high in job creation.

“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the Jack C. Massey College of Business to Belmont University,” said Dr. Jan Williams, Massey’s interim dean. “Mr. Massey was himself an outstanding entrepreneur, and entrepreneurship is one of the primary pillars upon which his vision for the school was based. Being recognized by Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship Magazine reflects the extraordinary effort of our faculty and Elizabeth Gortmaker, director of our Cone Center for Entrepreneurship. They are a great inspiration for all of us at Belmont.”

Gortmaker added, “It is an honor to be recognized once again by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine as a top entrepreneurship program in the country. Each year we continue to grow and develop our programming to support the increasing number of students coming to Belmont to start their business. We’re proud to be a part of the Nashville community and see so many of our alumni start businesses in this thriving city. We’re proud of the unique educational opportunities given to our students through the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship.”

Named in honor of the nationally acclaimed entrepreneur who is the only person to take three companies public at the New York Stock Exchange, the mission of the Jack C. Massey College of Business is to educate entrepreneurial and ethical future business leaders. Since launching the entrepreneurship major in 2003, it has become the largest major in Massey College, and earlier this year a $2 million endowed fund provided the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship a new name:  the Thomas F. Cone, Sr., Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Cone Center provides a clear path to equip students through ideation, launch and development and provides robust co-curricular offerings along with an emphasis on experiential learning. These stats tell the story of what Belmont Entrepreneurship offers those aspiring to launch their own start ups:

• Belmont entrepreneurs represent 537 businesses in 74 cities around the world

• These start-ups have raised more than $280 million in funding

• Approximately 3,500 square feet of prime campus retail space is reserved for Belmont students to use to develop and manage a small businesses

• Annual business plan and pitch competitions

• The Hatchery, on campus co-working space, provides an office environment containing basic resources and support to help students develop their own entrepreneurial ventures

• Students are advised by faculty, staff and local entrepreneurs, who are part of the Belmont Entrepreneur Network, and can learn first-hand from the Entrepreneur-in-Residence

• Other resources available to students include free legal clinics, accounting clinics and practicing entrepreneur roundtables

Photo from Belmont Entrepreneur Awards
Belmont Entrepreneur Awards at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 10, 2019.

The Cone Center recently held its inaugural Belmont Entrepreneur Awards, recognizing 100 alumni and the successful businesses they have launched in a wide array from photography and music management to restaurants and digital marketing to health care and banking. As the home of the first social entrepreneurship undergraduate major in the country, Belmont has also helped launch a number of enterprises and nonprofits built to create social change. To learn more about all of the businesses honored in the first Belmont Entrepreneur Awards, visit the event program or watch the event video.

The Princeton Review tallied the 2020 lists based on its June–August 2019 survey of administrators at more than 300 undergraduate and graduate schools offering entrepreneurship studies. More than 40 data points were analyzed for the ranking list tallies. Topics on the 60-question survey included: the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships, and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

“These schools have truly robust offerings in entrepreneurship studies,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor in chief. “Their faculties are outstanding. Their courses are rich with in-class and out-of-class experiential components, and the financial and networking support their students receive is extraordinary.”

“The popularity of entrepreneurship has increased exponentially since we began publishing this annual ranking more than a decade ago,” said Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. “As more future leaders seek out paths to realizing their ambitions, this ranking is a valuable asset they can use in the discovery and exploration process.”     

The Princeton Review has reported its lists of top schools for entrepreneurship programs annually since 2006 in partnership with Entrepreneur Media Inc., publisher of Entrepreneur magazine. Entrepreneur posted an online feature on the lists at An article on the lists will publish in the magazine’s December issue, available on newsstands November 19.

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