Entrepreneurship at UTC

Entrepreneurship is one of the fundamental drivers in a free market economy, and the primary source of U.S. job growth.  The Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga recognizes the role of entrepreneurship in the global economy and places a priority on entrepreneurship education in getting students ready for a business career.


UTC’s Rollins College of Business provides the right education to properly prepare students for success as an entrepreneur.  All graduates receive a thorough foundation in critical aspects of business, such as marketing, accounting, management and finance, with a more in-depth understanding of entrepreneurship with topics like cash flow management.  Additional course work in creativity, innovation, and business plans for new ventures help round out the Entrepreneurship major.


For non-business majors, UTC's Rollins College of Business also offers an Entrepreneurship minor to fill out any interdisciplinary majors' collegiate experience.  


The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship sponsors two annual student Pitch Competitions each academic year.  The pitch competitions inspire students to move beyond classroom theory to actual application and provides invaluable lessons in salesmanship and business analysis.  After excellent mentoring from UTC entrepreneurship faculty and community members, UTC students have represented UTC and Chattanooga extremely well at regional and national competitions.  UTC has been fortunate to receive sponsorship from the LampPost Group and an anonymous donor, as well as a sponsorship from Launch Tennessee for participating in their statewide University Venture Challenge Competition.


At UTC, students also benefit from the insight and experience of the area’s most successful entrepreneurs – who partner with the school to ensure that fresh minds are exposed to the tried and true.  The Entrepreneurship department works closely with the TSBDC (Tennessee Small Business Development Center), the INCubator (Hamilton County's Business Development Center), Co.Lab, and the Edney Innovation Center in the Innovation District of downtown Chattanooga.


In 2015, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and Chattanooga State Community College announced a new higher education partnership funded jointly by the Chattanooga Area Chamber and the Small Business Administration (SBA). UTC and Chattanooga State will jointly develop economic research internship opportunities to actively involve students in research and outreach services. Research interns will receive credit hours awarded by their respective institutions and will be paid by the internship employer or sponsors.  As part of the pilot program, UTC will offer an Opportunity Assessment class in the spring of 2016 to instruct students about how to conduct research.

“The Research Internship Program will provide students with quality, real-world research experiences that will build upon and enhance the knowledge they gain in the classroom,” said Dr. Robert Dooley, Dean of the UTC Rollins College of Business. “This program will also benefit new and expanding businesses by providing quality research.”  More of this story here: http://blog.utc.edu/news/2015/08/utc-and-chattanooga-state-small-business-development-center-enter-internship-program-partnership/

In 2016, the Rollins College of Business announced the Steffner Entrepreneurship Internship program.  This program allows selected small businesses with the BDC's INCubator to interview and hire entrepreneurship interns.  Funding internships in entrepreneurship is challenging because young ventures typically cannot afford to pay for this assistance. Through Mr. Steffner's donation, young students and young companies will flourish.  For more information on our College of Business Internships, please contact the Decosimo Success Center at 423-425-5111.  

Dr. Diane Halstead, who holds the Mary Harris Professorship in Entrepreneurship, teaches a practicum for entrepreneurship and marketing students each spring. The students prepare marketing plans for young businesses who are clients at the Hamilton County Business Development Center.  Dr. Halstead also provides consulting for the BDC clients through her professorship. 

The Rollins College of Business has created an Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame as a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit in Chattanooga; to honor entrepreneurs and make their success stories a role model for UTC students.  Additionally, the Clarence E. Harris Chair hosts an annual Entrepreneurial Forum to promote dialogue and interaction between students, faculty and entrepreneurs. UTC’s Rollins College of Business is an excellent starting place for launching the next generation of entrepreneurial ideas that change minds, influence processes and make everyone’s lives a little better.

The Entrepreneurship Department is active in the support of StartUp Week Chattanooga and many other Chattanooga events as well.

Please contact the Marketing and Entrepreneurship Department directly with any questions you may have.  Our phone is 423-425-5726.