The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative reimagines a liberal arts education for the 21st century by preparing students to be innovators in a rapidly changing world.
The initiative provides opportunities to blend your passions with the support, structure, and resources to address challenging problems with innovative ideas. It advances important and in-demand skills and experiences for students, alumni, and faculty who wish to apply the liberal arts by thinking critically, engaging creatively with technology, working iteratively, taking smart risks, and prototyping tangible solutions to real-world issues.
By leveraging Davidson’s strong foundation in the liberal arts and commitment to educational excellence and access, the initiative supports the college by contributing to its mission of preparing servant leaders with humane instincts who will make a disproportionate impact for good.
Why the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative? Entrepreneurial approaches to problem solving are now a key component of leadership and service and valuable across all fields and professions. A hallmark of a Davidson education is that students are producing knowledge rather than passively consuming it. Entrepreneurship (broadly defined) is one way our students actively produce knowledge. The Initiative aims to focus on the range of talents and skills that entrepreneurial problem solving requires so Davidson students and graduates can take their place as innovators in a rapidly changing world. I&E programs provide students and alumni with the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship with funding, internships, mentorship, innovation space, workshops and more.
Our program aspires to make a big difference in the world by solving problems and addressing needs in a sustainable way. It aims both to teach students a way of thinking and an approach to solving problems, giving them a chance to “try it out” with seed funding and support. And through this process, we aim to illuminate the nexus between the liberal arts and entrepreneurship and develop specific connections between Davidson’s curriculum and an entrepreneurial way of thinking.
For the past three years, the college has explored the many relevant and important connections between entrepreneurship, innovation, and the liberal arts, as well as what kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities exist for Davidson students, faculty, staff, and alumni. As the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative grows, Davidson increasingly finds ways to redefine and re-articulate the value of liberal arts education in our increasingly interconnected, rapidly changing world.
Incubated by the President’s Office in 2013 and aimed at furthering Davidson’s institutional goals and aspirations, the Initiative focuses on the range of talents and skills that entrepreneurial problem solving requires so Davidson students can lead as innovators in a rapidly changing world. By providing spaces where students can create, experiment, fail safely, incubate and prototype ideas, products and solutions, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative supports the college’s mission of reimagining the liberal arts and creating disproportionate impact for good.
Because ideas are and can be incubated, prototyped and solicited by all members of the campus community, the I&E Initiative does not currently have a centralized office or center. Collaborators from divisions and departments across the college contribute to and support the Initiative and the ideas that emerge from its programs and projects.
The cross-disciplinary environments and experiences Davidson students work within set the stage for the kind of creative, global and nuanced problem-solving that an increasingly complex landscape and a global innovation economy require. As students and faculty members begin to think of their education and workplace as a living laboratory, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative aims to create infrastructure that supports a culture of curiosity and openness, and to widen the scope of possibilities for those who want to delve deeper into what it means to creatively apply, experiment and fail forward with and within a liberal arts education–both before and after graduation.