Know Your Theme: Entrepreneurship

Interested in a Theme in Entrepreneurship? Learn more from Associate Professor Erik Monsen below!

Erik Monsen, started at UVM in 2014 and has taught:

    • BSAD 230 Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization
    • BSAD 290 Entrepreneurship Theme Capstone

Can you give a brief overview of what it means to be an Entrepreneurship theme

Entrepreneurship means pursuing the creation of financial (as well as social and environmental) value in new and different ways, whether you have the resources or not. The theme prepares you to do this in a range of contexts, ranging from small independent new ventures to large corporate organizations.

What are some important things for students interested in Entrepreneurship to know

  • In order to create value in new and different ways, one has to leave the well-worn paths and make you own new way through the world. This is often scary, as humans are generally wired to avoid uncertainty, even if it means following a more certain but also riskier path. Thus, learning entrepreneurship is about learning to see uncertainty not as something to be feared, but rather as an opportunity to be in charge and share the world as you choose.
  • Keep in mind that 50% of all new businesses fail in the first 5 years. Thus, if you are going to choose the entrepreneurial path, it is important to be prepared and to learn how to integrate all areas of business knowledge into a robust business model and plan. While this will not guarantee success, it should increase you changes of success.

What are some big things happening in Entrepreneurship right now

  • Modern technologies, ranging from the internet to 3D printers, is making it easier and cheaper to become an entrepreneur at lower cost and less risk.
  • Communities both large and small across the US and around the world are building local infrastructure to make starting your own new venture, such as co-working spaces ( and makerspaces (
  • The passage of the Jobs Act in the US in 2012 took a large step toward the democratization of venture capital , by increasing a new venture’s ability to raise need investments from a wider range of investors through what is commonly called “crowd funding”  (

What types of careers could students with an Entrepreneurship theme pursue

  • Start your own new venture and be an independent entrepreneur
  • Work as an employee in a new venture and support an entrepreneur or a team of entrepreneurs.
  • Locally own and operate a franchise of a larger national chain
  • Be part of a multi-generational family business, and eventually take over your parent’s business.
  • Be an entrepreneurial employee or manager in an established corporation or charity by developing radically new and innovative products and services.


By Amanda Simpfenderfer
Amanda Simpfenderfer Amanda Simpfenderfer