Entrepreneurship is about action and engagement. People who exhibit the entrepreneurial mindset are not passive…they are active doers. They are not timid souls. They are in the arena making dust, not eating dust.

For MSU undergraduates, the rubber meets the road in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Experiences Program.

E&I Experiences are small projects, related to entrepreneurship, that students do as an extension of their normal coursework. In other words, it is that part of the curriculum where they take action. Doing an E&I Experience in a course involves adding an entrepreneurial element to a course by proposing to a faculty member a project that is over and above the typical requirements of the course. Think of it as an extra-credit project about entrepreneurship and innovation.

Any undergraduate can do an E&I Experience in any course. Students in the E&I Minor are required to complete two E&I Experiences in courses that are not counted toward the 15 credit-hour requirement of the Minor.

Want to start a business? Write a business plan? Form a non-profit? Do a crowdfunding campaign? Attend Startup Weekend? Develop a prototype? All of these could form the basis of E&I Experiences.

The decision whether to allow an Experience in a course is made by the instructor of that course. MSU Undergraduate Entrepreneurship is always available to help advise either students or faculty in crafting sensible projects, but the decision always rests with the instructor.

This video, which is 3:11 in length, gives a quick overview of the E&I Experiences program.

A question often arises about who the instructor is for an E&I Experience, so that will be clarified here. An E&I Experience is done as an extension to a course in which the student is enrolled. So for example, if a student wants to do an E&I Experience in the Fall 2017 semester, they will need to secure the support of one of the instructors of one of the courses in which they are enrolled that semester. Even if they wind up participating, hypothetically, in an event off campus (like an innovation competition elsewhere), they still must have the support of an instructor for a course in which they are enrolled that semester. The notation on their transcript (see below) will be for that course. The final decision about whether to support the proposed E&I Experience rests with the faculty member. The Director of Undergraduate Entrepreneurship can help to make the case, but the final decision always rests with the faculty member.

Some helpful advice
Plan ahead! The execution of E&I Experiences needn’t cause anxiety. They should be rewarding as well and without question we’ve found that students enjoy them. When students get into trouble, however, it is usually because they waited too long and then their options narrow considerably–both because faculty get busy and the assortment of programs to work on will shrink a lot as the academic year goes by. So plan ahead. You can only do an E&I Experience in a course with a consenting faculty member.

Students who complete an E&I Experience in a course will have the following appear on their permanent transcript next to the course name:  ENTREP & INNOVATION OPTION.

How do I sign up?
Experiences are initiated by the student. Students should log into the Registrar’s website at https://reg.msu.edu/. Then click on Student Resources // Forms // Student-Instructor Forms. On that screen look for the form called “Application for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Experiences Option.” Once you fill it out, it will be automatically routed to your instructor for approval.

The form asks you five simple questions about your proposed project:

  1. Description of Proposed Option Coursework (Subject matter purpose, methods)
  2. Rationale (Explain how project satisfies one of the entrepreneurial criteria)
  3. Work to be completed (Describe specifically the work product)
  4. Evaluation Criteria (Describe specifically what will meet expectations)
  5. Date by which the project is to be completed   [Ideally the work should be completed during the semester, but cannot be any later than the start of the following semester].

This document is a one-page summary of the administrative procedures for signing-up for E&I Experiences.

Every college on campus has one or more E-Advisors. These are people well versed in the E&I Experiences program and also familiar with the programs and curricula of each college. For both students and faculty, they should be your first point of contact.

How about some examples?
The Examples page provides a long list of sample projects and ideas. There is a database of actual student projects at MSU StartupTree.

Where can I get more detail?
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Experiences Option Program Handbook provides a comprehensive set of detailed instructions and guidance. If all else fails, please contact this office or reach out to the E-Advisor in your college. And be sure to check out the FAQs.

I’m confused
This is a new program and is sure to generate some head-scratching. Please contact us. We’ll set you straight. Don’t flail.