California State University, Fresno’s entrepreneurship program claimed high rankings in a survey of more than 500 entrepreneurial colleges and universities by Entrepreneur magazine.

Fresno State’s entrepreneurship program was ranked No. 8 in the country by program directors, faculty and alumni. This was just below MIT, which was ranked No. 7 and above the University of Colorado, No. 9.

Babson College was ranked as the No. 1 program in the country by the magazine, which published the rankings in its April edition.

This is the third year in a row that Fresno State’s entrepreneurship program has been recognized by a national media source since its inception in 1996. More than 500 entrepreneurship programs were researched from September to December 2004 with 75

criteria used in the study conducted for Entrepreneur magazine.

Dr. Timothy Stearns director of the Lyles Center and holder of the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies at Fresno State, said several key commitments have moved the Fresno State program to the national forefront.

“First is the commitment by Bill Lyles to invest in the program in a way that will provide students, faculty and the community with a center that is second to none,” said Stearns. “Second, is the Coleman Foundation in Chicago, which has made a substantial investment over the past eight years to fund programs to grow entrepreneurship on our campus. Third is the strong commitment from President Welty and Provost Echeverria, who have crafted a formula for success as both an academic and community program,” said Stearns.

“We take great pride in that we are now ranked as a Top 10 program in the midst of such renowned universities as Indiana, North Carolina, MIT, Colorado and Arizona. And comparatively, we are the youngster in the group having launched our program less than 10 years ago.”

Stearns said the Fresno State program is unique, with a strong emphasis on application.

” ‘Applied entrepreneurship’ is our core concept and students understand its value,” he said. “We are increasing enrollments some 25 percent to 30 percent a year, and our introductory course enrolling over 100 students each semester.

In the 2005-06 year, the program will be offering two $10,000 scholarships to high school and community college students who come to Fresno State with an existing business. In addition, a campus business plan contest is planned that will net the winner $10,000 in cash, Stearns said.

“I have been telling people for some time that we have one of the best applied programs in the country. I will now adjust that statement and say ‘we are the best applied program in the country’, and the ranking by Entrepreneurship Magazine confirms that,” Stearns said. “The resources, both on and off campus, far exceed what students would experience at another campus in terms of facilitating their efforts to launch a business or acquire the entrepreneurial skills necessary to be successful in the work place. And entrepreneurship skills are the most sought after by college students across the nation.”

For more information about Fresno State’s program, contact Stearns at the Lyles Center, (559) 347-6834.

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