Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

Olin Business SchoolOlin Business School
Write a business plan, run your own business, or work with an entrepreneur to attact venture capital

​University-wide Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Bear-y Sweet video For the past decade, St. Louis has been growing its reputation as a start-up community, especially in the areas of biotechnology, healthcare, and plant sciences. Washington University research is driving innovation and invention. And Olin faculty, alumni, and students are working with entrepreneurs and companies to commercialize ideas for new products and services.

If you’re interested in exploring entrepreneurship, Washington University provides “an amazing sandbox to participate in,” says Cliff Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and director of the MBA program’s entrepreneurship platform.

The Hatchery

In Olin’s Hatchery course, you work in teams – guided by local entrepreneurs and investors – to develop a business plan of your own or a venture brought to the business school by an outside party. At the end of the course, teams present their analyses to a group of business start-up and venture capital experts. The Hatchery is the oldest university-affiliated business-plan development course in the United States.

The Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurial Studies

The center is the heart of the university’s on-campus entrepreneurial activities, with a mission “to ignite entrepreneurial interest and foster a collaborative learning environment and open discussion of ideas.”

The center coordinates a 10-week internship program for undergraduates from all university schools, and runs the IdeaBounce® website and IdeaBounce® events.

Business-plan competitions

In addition, the center sponsors two business-plan competitions that award seed capital and grants: the Olin Cup and the YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition.

For more information, see the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies website.

Center for Experiential Learning Entrepreneurial Consulting Team

The semester-long CEL Entrepreneurial Consulting Team (CELect) course is designed to leverage relationships between Washington University and the St. Louis start-up community – and to provide one-of-a-kind opportunities for students who want to run existing companies or launch their own firm.

In other words, “The course isn’t just for individuals who want to be founders. It’s also for people who want to join the founders,” says Cliff Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and director of the MBA program’s entrepreneurship platform. Read more about CELect.

Student Entrepreneurial Program

You also can create a campus business or buy an existing campus business from a university student and run it for profit (or loss) until you graduate. The university allocates and subsidizes storefront locations for the businesses, but making your company successful is up to you. Business ownership builds a host of personal and professional skills – and it’s a great addition to your résumé.

For more information, see the Student Entrepreneurial Program website.

Fast Facts

entrepreneurship courses campus-wide through the Skandalaris Center
The Hatchery
First business plan course in the United States
No. 19
for undergraduate entrepreneurship (U.S. News & World Report)