This fall, the University of Delaware will launch its Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Design program. The new program can accommodate about 30 students who are looking to gain experience in design, business development and entrepreneurship. Applications for the 11-month program are now being accepted on a rolling basis.
We caught up with Dan Freeman, director of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and associate professor of marketing at UD. He said he hopes this program will help boost Delaware’s growing technology ecosystem.
Technical.ly Delaware: What is the focus of the program?
Freeman: The program has three parts. It’s how you take a new idea, develop a new business model and bring a new idea into the marketplace. Twenty-five percent is creative and what is your idea and what are you solving. How do you come up with a lot of ideas before choosing? How do you design a product appealing to consumers? Twenty-five percent is product development and industrial design. How do you design and develop a project. So the focus is really from the idea to validating the idea to building.
TD: Who is the program for? Do you expect mostly UD undergrads or students from elsewhere?
Freeman: We’re really interested in anyone that might have a passion for art, design, someone from the maker community, to someone who is interested in being entrepreneurial. The program is open to anyone who wants to get immersed in an entrepreneurial context by trying to bring ideas to marketplace.
TD: Are these students eligible for the competitions that have already helped launch a few startups in Delaware?
Freeman: It’s absolutely a part of the core value of the program. Students can gain access to our robust competitions like Hen Hatch, a startup funding competition. They can attend Fast Forward, get involved with the local community, and our advisory board, which has national reach and visibility.
TD: If more students study entrepreneurship in Delaware, how do you think that will affect the startup ecosystem here?
Freeman: Absolutely. The more we can add innovative human capital, the more vibrant the startup community will be. It’s a very advanced form of innovative capital — someone who understands the innovative and design process, the business process and the industrial design process.
TD: Why launch this program? Why now?
Freeman: I think it’s really just taking a look at all the incredible opportunities for people who have this combination of skills. It does prepare you to launch your own companies — the Kickstarter route — or the opportunity to be valuable at driving innovation for an established company. It’s really about a changing marketplace for the entrepreneurial skill set, which is a rare skill set.