The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management is setting up shop in the thriving tech hub that is San Francisco.
Eller’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is preparing to launch courses at a remote campus designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs understand what it takes to successfully move their ideas to market.
“What happens very often is people start companies and they fail because they haven’t paid attention to some of the business perspectives,” said Eller College of Management Dean Paulo Goes. “It’s not enough to have a great engineering solution, or a great scientific idea or a new health-care diagnostic; you need to understand how to take it to market and that’s exactly what we do.”
The courses will be offered through a partnership with business incubator Impact Hub San Francisco, which provides resources, workspace and programming to entrepreneurs focused on driving social, economic and environmental change.
The new project, expected to begin in the fall, furthers Eller’s mission to expand its reach and become more visible outside of Arizona, Goes said.
Should the partnership prove successful, Impact Hub co-ounder Tim Freundlich says the model could be replicated at any of its 100 incubators around the world.
“We can actually migrate this across the map once we prove it out in San Francisco,” Freundlich said. “This is not the end, it’s the beginning. We can do this in Austin, we can do this in Santa Barbara, we can do this in Seattle ... or New York or Boston or Baltimore. (Impact Hubs) are also in Canada and Mexico and across 30 countries around the world.
“We have the distribution network, the physical architecture and the installed base of all of these communities that if this catches, it will be relatively easy and quick to replicate and the sky is the limit.”
Entrepreneurship programs have, as of late, been proliferating across universities and business schools, but the UA is home to one of the first such programs in the nation, established over 25 years ago, Goes said.
Teaching students how to look at the feasibility of consumer acceptance; the size of the market; how to develop a business model; how to price products; and how to launch, fund and structure a company, is what entrepreneurship education is about and what the Eller College is known — and highly ranked — for, Goes said.
“Embedding all of that in this really rich Impact Hub community so that you’re not just doing it academically, you’re in the midst of hundreds of startup entrepreneurs doing environmental and social ventures, doing impact investing — that’s why we can work so well together,” added Freundlich.
The UA will offer both certificate and graduate master’s programs at Impact Hub San Francisco. The hybrid courses will be a mix of online content and weekly visits from Eller faculty who will work with participants. The program will serve 25 to 30 participants to start.
In addition to the possibility of a continued partnership with Impact Hub in the future, Goes has his eye on creating a global presence, with planning underway for entrepreneurship programs in Indonesia and Peru through micro-campuses the University of Arizona is establishing.
“We are living through what we call the innovation economy and having education around commercialization and entrepreneurship is essential,” Goes said. “The Eller College is very well positioned to be a leader in these programs, and that’s part of our vision for the future.”