For two decades, UNC has offered students the ability to complete a minor in entrepreneurship outside of the Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship was originally founded in 2003 via a $3 million grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Program, which aims to teach students entrepreneurial skills, is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, with 33 majors being represented across the minor.
“There’s a times question of 'Can entrepreneurs be taught or are they just kind of born that way?' and I think it's a combination of both,” Joe Colopy, a UNC alumnus who received a Master’s of Business Administration in 1999, said. Colopy works within the Triangle's venture capital industry.
In May 2017, an $18 million donation by fifth-generation alumni members of the Shuford family — the largest single monetary gift in the history of the College of Arts and Sciences at the time — allowed for the program to grow significantly.
A few months after its expansion, Bernard Bell was instated as executive director of the Shuford Program and remains so today.
“I think Bernard, the director, is always so involved," Isabella Casis, a senior undergraduate student at UNC and Shuford ambassador, said. "I genuinely believe he knows every single person in the minor."
Since 2017, the number of students in the program has expanded from 150 to 515, and two new full-time staff members have been hired.
More than 800 students graduated with a minor in entrepreneurship in the first 13 years of the Program's existence. Since the gift, the Program has turned out almost 900 more graduates.
Shuford is an appealing alternative to Kenan-Flagler for many students who don’t necessarily want to commit themselves to the business or economics major, but still have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, Casis said.