Created with the generous support of the Kauffman Foundation, the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership has had a significant impact on the culture of the University of Illinois. The first five years have also proved to be an unprecedented opportunity for the College of Business to be in the vanguard of entrepreneurship education on our campus, and to engage so many of our colleagues from other colleges and schools in the development and delivery of the Academy’s entrepreneurship programs.
In common parlance, when people say “business,” they often mean large corporations, but what is sometimes forgotten or overlooked is that even the largest business begins as an entrepreneur’s idea. To be entrepreneurial is not only to have that initial idea, but also to launch a venture around it, and to acquire the skills and experience to shepherd the subsequent growth of the enterprise that produces the product, or delivers the service spurred by that idea. Much of what we know about starting and growing businesses can be translated to other ventures. In that vein, the Academy has served as a crossroads for the developmentof entrepreneurship education: the College of Business has brought its experience in business development curriculum to the campus’ entrepreneurship education initiatives, and it has also been the beneficiary of the many ways in which entrepreneurship curricula have been enhanced by the perspectives of our colleagues from other disciplines.
The College of Business at the University of Illinois has a 95-year history of producing some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, and we are proud to impart that collective wisdom to the students who enroll in the courses and participate in the programs the Academy offers.
I thank the Kauffman Foundation for their thought leadership and congratulate those who have made the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership a success in its first five years. I have high expectations for the future of the Academy and wish the new leadership success as they move this critical initiative forward.
Larry DeBrock, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Business,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign