WCU’s entrepreneurship program recognized as one of five best

Western Carolina University’s online Master of Entrepreneurship Program has been recognized as one of the five best online entrepreneurship programs in the nation by Fortune Small Business magazine.

WCU’s listing among the “56 top schools for would-be tycoons” is included in the September issue of Fortune Small Business and online at CNNMoney.com, the Internet home of Fortune Small Business and three other business magazines.

The magazine notes that WCU’s entrepreneurship faculty members address topics ranging from small-business finance to how best to protect a company from fraud, and that students are required to take part in an online business discussion with a professor and classmates at least twice a week. “The breadth of information covered helps students who enter the program with varying levels of business creation experience,” the report’s authors say.

Fortune Small Business compiled its lists of top schools for entrepreneurship after seven months of interviews with entrepreneurs, professors, students, alumni, university administrators and venture capitalists. WCU was the only university in North Carolina recognized for its online program.

“The objective of our program is to help our students take an idea for starting a business and be able to create a sustainable venture by the time they graduate,” said Frank Lockwood, director of the master’s program. “A big majority of our graduates either expand their existing companies or start a new company.”

WCU offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in entrepreneurship, with the graduate program offered online. When the university started its Master of Entrepreneurship Program in 2003, it was one of the first M.E. programs in the world, Lockwood said.

The Fortune Small Business listing is not the first national honor for WCU’s graduate program in entrepreneurship. The program won first place in a 2005 national competition sponsored by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Representing WCU at the competition were Jim and JoAnn Carland, the husband-and-wife team of faculty members who envisioned and developed the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs. WCU finished in second place in the competition, behind Harvard University, the year before that and is the only regional comprehensive university to ever win an award in the competition, Lockwood said.

For more information about WCU’s entrepreneurship programs, contact Lockwood at (828) 227-3390 or by e-mail at lockwood@email.wcu.edu, or visit the Web site Entrepreneurship Program.