Perhaps you have a business idea that has been incubating in the back of your mind, but school and work keep you too busy to convert an idea into action. Or perhaps you simply don’t know where or how to get started in entrepreneurship. If the thought of being your own boss and owning your own business appeals to you, here’s a thought – creating your business plan can be part of your UNM education.

There are several ways for any major to build entrepreneurial opportunity into the academic experience. One option is an independent study class where the work you produce is part of the academic credit that will move you closer to your degree. Discuss an independent study class approach with your professors and link it to your academic program.

Students can also enroll in MGMT 594/490, independent studies at Anderson School of Management, in which you will create your business plan under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Management and Endowed Chair in Economic Development, Sul Kassicieh. The class, offered fall semester 2014, guides students through the Lean Startup methodology for creating and launching a new business. Lean startup methodologies have stressed the streamlining of processes to include more than planning, by focusing more on building a business rather than only planning its activities. This course helps students in learning these new techniques (business model generation and lean startup) by applying them to the new business. 

When your plan is ready, UNM also offers an exceptional launchpad: the UNM Business Plan Competition. The annual spring event invites student teams from all across UNM to present business ideas to area entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in competition for significant startup funding. Six winning teams in 2014 shared a purse of $75,000, plus additional legal and office services and mentorship opportunities. And the New Mexico economy wins with the inauguration of new company startups.

Starting a business is an intimidating process. The first step is making a plan and UNM can help you take that life-changing first step into the world of entrepreneurship. Make plans to talk with your professor this fall to see how this can become part of your curriculum planning, and mark your calendar for March 27, 2015, for the UNM Business Plan Competition. Plan to compete and be part of what students have called “the best part of their UNM experience.”

Teaching individual economic empowerment at UNM provides a means to address the many significant problems confronting New Mexicans.  The support and encouragement of entrepreneurship and economic development is a significant element of the UNM mission of education, research, and service to New Mexico. Consider making entrepreneurship a component of your UNM education – and take your place among New Mexicans who will create the economic future of the state.