Readers of From the Murphy Center know that new firms — those under six years of age — are the source of all net job growth in the United States economy. These firms are also the source of new entrepreneurial creativity. New and small firms also know that they cannot compete head-on with older, more established businesses. To survive, the new, the small, the creative, must compete around the edges of the market with niche/unique goods and services.

I would like to think that the same could be said about academic enterprises. Are we creative entrepreneurs? While I let you be the judge of what follows, I do think some adjectives that could be used to describe the School of Business and Public Management (SBPM) at the College of Coastal Georgia might include new, small and entrepreneurial.

SBPM was created in fall of 2009. So, we are sort of new, yet a bit older than six. Let’s just say that we are new relative to all the other units in the University System of Georgia (USG). We are also small. Programs in SBPM enroll only about 900 students. Also, from business administration to culinary arts, we are probably one of the more program-diverse schools of business in the state system. So my colleagues don’t think bad of me, we have degree programs in business administration, criminal justice, public management, workforce management and leadership, health informatics, hospitality and tourism management, and culinary arts. We are like Nick’s — a buffet of high-quality products, friendly service and simply unique. (Some will also say that with me as dean, we also have some bull.)

But are we entrepreneurial? Do we try to solve the problems of others?

Everyone enrolled in the BBA receives a general business major. However, as part of their program of study, each student chooses an area of concentration like accounting, finance, marketing, etc. for extended, in-depth study.

A new BBA concentration this fall is cyber defense. Several years ago, we added cyber courses to our criminal justice program. This was based on the idea that cyber security issues tend to end up as criminal justice issues. The recent cyber attacks on various companies and looking at Colonial Pipeline specifically, questions were raised if business leaders fully understand cyber security and the management of cyber assets within a business context. This is a real problem. One part of a solution is to start hiring new, knowledgeable employees. So, to help we added the cyber defense concentration to the BBA program. It is essentially the same as the one we created for the criminal justice program. This offering is rather extensive, eight courses in all, across all four years of study. In addition, students can earn valued certificates found in the cyber security area that are expected of well-trained and qualified individuals. This is much more than a minor which is found in other business programs.

Another new concentration offered this fall is small business creation. Students pursuing our BBA degree have several concentrations from which to choose. To a large degree, our students will be seeking entry level positions at existing firms. Again, a concentration adds to a student’s knowledge base that is being offered to potential employers. I suspect that this is true of almost all graduates of undergraduate business programs.

However, there are students who simply want preparation to start their own businesses after graduation. Traditional concentrations do not really prepare a student to do this. A traditional concentration is just adding specific knowledge about one area of business. However, students selecting the small business creation concentration see themselves as entrepreneurs ready to take on the marketplace. The goal of this concentration is to assist a student developed a business plan that can be executed after graduation, if not before. This program covers 18 months. A very special feature of it is that a student works, not only with faculty, but with a mentor who may come from our wonderful coastal retirement community. This is truly a unique BBA concentration.

So, are we creative entrepreneurs that just happen to be academics? You be the judge. Join us in our entrepreneurial endeavors by spreading the word of these new programs. Better yet, for real fun, give back by giving it forward, become a mentor. Drop by to learn more. I’m in 211 Academic Commons North at the college.

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