Cal Poly

Entrepreneurship Concentration


Dr. Jonathan York
Location 03-425
Phone (614) 271-3500
Fax (805) 756-6347

Entrepreneurship Concentration

The entrepreneurship concentration is open to business administration and economics majors in the Orfalea College of Business. The entrepreneurship concentration aligns with a plethora of resources in Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) to afford students collaborative Learn by Doing experiences with students from all disciplines on campus.

About the Entrepreneurship Concentration

Many people think of entrepreneurship just as “starting a business.” Some identify it only with Silicon Valley tech startups and venture capital. In fact, all these are part of how we see entrepreneurship at Cal Poly.  But we go beyond that to include a broader mindset and viewpoint.  We see entrepreneurs (of all ages) as individuals who keep their eyes open for opportunities to innovate, to do something better—to “create value.” The entrepreneurial business person understands how to manage and grow a company through stages. And, above all, there are entrepreneurs in all industries and walks of life.

View entrepreneurship minor

Can you learn entrepreneurship?

We take the viewpoint that entrepreneurial business growth requires the whole breadth of business activity—strategy, marketing, sales, people management, technology, finance, accounting, etc.  Entrepreneurs must have a deep understanding of business management practices and also learn to surround themselves with people of experience. Then, you need to add a willingness to experiment, to learn quickly, and to manage risk.  Above all, entrepreneurs need to know the “questions to ask” to understand their business operations and strategy.

Course Number Course Title Units
BUS 310 Introduction to Entrepreneurship 4
BUS 418 Listening to the Customer 4
BUS 436 Entrepreneurial Finance 4
BUS 488 Planning and Managing New Ventures (fall quarter) 4
IT 428 Commercialization of New Technologies 4
Approved Electives Marketing, Finance, Management, Accounting, etc. 8

*Courses reflect the 2015-2017 catalog.

View the entrepreneurship Concentration’s Declaration Form, Course Flowchart, Tentative Course Offerings and Career Information on the Orfalea Student Services concentration page.


The Entrepreneurship Concentration Senior Projects

The Entrepreneurship Concentration offers two “official” senior project opportunities. Students choose either of these two options because they want to get a taste of a real startup, and in many cases, continue with it after graduation. Both of these options are challenging and emphasize out of class time with the startup. Both of these options for 2017-2018 will be listed on PASS but require permission.

<!–More Senior Project Option Information–!>

  • Option 1: Work with a Startup
    In this track, you will work directly in a startup, with its founders, helping to build the company. You will be supervised by experienced entrepreneurs, and will learn “entrepreneurship by doing” in a hands-on way, putting to use what you have learned in classes about value propositions, customer development, etc.
    This track begins with Business 488 in the fall (required) which then moves into Business 464, the senior project course, in the winter. (Note: senior projects are all titled Business 464.)
    In the past, Entrepreneurship Concentration students in this track have worked with founders in companies that are part of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, such as Spectrvm, Higea Technologies, and Gatherologie, as well as community-based startups like, Formalytx, and Flume.

  • Option 2: Grow your own Startup
    A selected number of students are accepted into the interdisciplinary senior startup sequence, which consists of three full quarters of building a startup. You will work in a team of students from business, engineering, and graphic communications to identify a need, find a market, design a product and develop a prototype or even final product. Many of these startups connect with the CIE and participate in the Hatchery and Innovation Quest, and apply to the HotHouse Accelerator in order to launch.
    This Entrepreneurship Senior Startup Project is a sequence made up of a separate section of Business 488, the capstone course, taught in the fall, which then moves into a PASS-listed section of Business 464, in the winter; students make a commitment to continue working with their team in spring quarter and may get credit through a supervised independent study.

  • Other senior project options for Entrepreneurship Concentration students:
    Those students who do not wish to follow the startup senior project path outlined above, or who are not able to for schedule reasons (study abroad, etc.), may attempt to enroll in any other senior project sections in any given quarter. You may start receiving emails from professors in other areas of business about a senior project section they are offering on PASS. For example, one non-entrepreneurship professor may have emailed you offering a version of a senior project in entrepreneurship.
    You may also find a professor to sponsor you in a senior project outside of a PASS listed section, by separate permission. I also do this in special circumstances.
    Please note that entrepreneurship students who have finished their senior project before taking Business 488 (i.e., in their junior year) will not be working in any startup opportunity in 488 and will necessarily have a different experience. If you are unclear on this, please email me to make an appointment to talk.

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