Entrepreneurship offers students opportunity for growth 

By Trevor Piccone, Contributing Writer
Dr. Rickard Briggs is one of the hilltop’s latest hires, and he has big plans for the entrepreneurship program and students alike here at WLU.

Not only is Briggs the director of the entrepreneurial department, but also he can be described as the incubator of this program, on and off campus. “Entrepreneurialism has become an integral part of most universities, primarily because it is applicable to every curriculum,” said Briggs. 
Briggs also noted that some of the major universities in the United States are integrating, regardless of curriculum, an entrepreneurship class as a core requirement. This is because the idea of entrepreneurship is not just limited to business. 
Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been defined as an individual who is looking to be their own employer and open their own business. However, the term entrepreneurship has broadened its reach in the sense that now an individual who can function as an entrepreneur is simply aiming to utilize critical, as well as creative, thinking in order to identify and seize opportunity.
Briggs notes it doesn’t matter what you do within an organization, each a has different areas with which they can identify and improve opportunity. 
An example that Briggs especially wanted to emphasize, was one in which he speaks of how individuals come and select a major they are looking to achieve, yet statistically a large percent of individuals don’t work in their curriculum six months after graduation. With an entrepreneurial degree, you can broaden your spectrum for opportunity.
“Employers understand that an individual who has majored in entrepreneurship has gone through the process of identifying and understanding how to think differently,” said Briggs, “and if we know that education or college is based upon the assumption that individuals come to the university to grow emotionally and intelligently, that’s enough coupled with some background in supporting opportunity identification as well as critical/creative thinking. That’s appealing to an employer.”
 To quantify the development of this department, Briggs expects, based on other universities as a standard for where the program is going, the major to double, triple, and quadruple within the next year. 
Briggs reports that a couple of individuals have already changed their major based on what they can see happening with the department. He expects to see a lot more individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship not just because of its applicability, but because it allows them to think differently. Opportunity is not just in the work place, its available all throughout life. 
“These are skills that are identified and developed in the entrepreneurship department, so you walk away with a tangible benefit,” said Briggs. 
For more information about the entrepreneurship program, contact Dr. Rickard Briggs at 304-336-8285 or by email at [email protected].
Photo credit: Megan Sayre