8/26/2013 8:48:00 AM Local entrepreneurship program encourages students to take risks
Ken Hedler/The Daily Courier Mia Adair, right, an entrepreneurship major at Northern Arizona University-Yavapai in Prescott Valley, leads a presentation in James Subach’s Innovation and Creativity class Thursday while student Juanita Monreal looks on. Twenty-six students are majoring in entrepreneurship while 30 others are minoring in the program, Subach said.
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
A three-year bachelor's degree program at Northern Arizona University-Yavapai here is training students to become entrepreneurs like Bill Gates. Part of that is expecting to fail along the way and learning from mistakes.
Students in the entrepreneurship program take three-credit courses in classes such as Effective Business Communications, Innovation and Creativity, and Professional Practice and Ethics, according to a brochure. The classes prepare students for career paths in franchising and startup opportunities, business consulting and project management, new-media marketing and independent business ownership.
"Our focus here is on how you create the business, whereas most business programs are, 'How do you run a business?'" said James Subach, the sole full-time faculty member.
"The other thing has to do with the character of entrepreneurs," Subach said. "They are more comfortable with ambiguity and risk tolerance."
An entrepreneur, Subach said, is "somebody who takes an idea, develops a product or service from it, then is willing to take a risk. It is somebody who has an idea and the guts to make it work."
Subach, 65, is new to the faculty at NAU-Yavapai, which launched the entrepreneurship and three other majors in the fall of 2010 with a total of 15 students. The first graduating class at NAU-Yavapai in May 2013 consisted of 14 students, only one of whom majored in entrepreneurship: Alex Maynard. Twenty-six students currently are majoring in entrepreneurship and 30 others are seeking a certificate, or minor, in the program, Subach said. Majors require completion of nine classes and minors must take six classes.
New student Drew Nelson, 27, of Prescott said he is pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship because he likes to create things.
"I like to improve things around me," Nelson said. "So I figured, why not take the risk and take it to the next level?"
Nelson said he is working on baking a bread from whole wheat that people with gluten intolerance can digest.
"I have anywhere from six to 12 projects I am working on in my head," Nelson said.
Subach said he is encouraging Nelson and other students to pursue their interests. He also started the Entrepreneur Central club to help quad-city residents start businesses, and is doing it independently of NAU-Yavapai.
Meanwhile, Maynard, the first entrepreneurship graduate, said he started at an entry-level job a week ago at European Techniques in the Prescott Airport industrial park. The company, founded in 1995, manufactures and installs institutional casework.
"I'm pretty thankful because it is a good business to be in," Maynard said, adding he lacks experience in manufacturing.
Maynard, 25, of Prescott said leadership is a major component of the entrepreneurship program.
Nelson recommends the program, saying, "Everyone is very personable and honest. And they are willing to help you in anything. I feel very comfortable asking for advice on any matter."
For more information, call NAU-Yavapai at 775-4567.