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Thomas F. Cone Center for Entrepreneurship

Centers For Excellence

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Business students come to Belmont and study entrepreneurship for a variety of reasons. Some want to start their own businesses, others want special training for a start-up or family business, and still others know they simply do not want to work for anyone else. If you identify with one or more of these reasons, consider joining one of the fastest growing majors in the nation, at one of the strongest programs available — the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship in the Jack C. Massey College of Business at Belmont University.

National Recognition

Our program has been named a National Model Undergraduate Program for excellence in entrepreneurship education by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), as well as a national Top 25 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program by the Princeton Review. In 2010, our program was featured by Fortune magazine as one of five schools to consider when studying entrepreneurship. These awards and distinctions place Belmont's Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship among the most exceptional entrepreneurship programs in the country.

Co-curricular Programming

The hands-on approach offered by the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship sets us apart from other programs and helps our students hit the ground running. Student entrepreneurs are given opportunities to work in one of several student-run retail spaces on campus or they can develop their own business ventures with faculty support. This co-curricular programming equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to become successful entrepreneurs.

Belmont's Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship offers learning options for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates can major in Entrepreneurship by pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree within Belmont’s Undergraduate School of Business. An Entrepreneurship minor is also available for students outside of the business school. Graduate business students, through The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business, can expand their business education through the Center's graduate-level courses.

By the Numbers

Typically, around a third of the students concentrating in entrepreneurship create businesses that are their main or sole source of income after graduation. Within five years of graduation, we expect half of our alumni to have started their own businesses. Graduates who don't go into business for themselves will find careers in entrepreneurial businesses owned by others or in traditional corporate settings.

alumni started businesses around the world
of those started are still in business
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Recognized for excellence, Belmont’s Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship is designed to prepare student who believe they will want to pursue an entrepreneurial career. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are responsible for 77 percent of new jobs created in the past 20 years, and studies have shown that right after college is an excellent time in the lives of new graduates to begin an entrepreneurial education.

Learning Objectives

The Entrepreneurship undergraduate program has five main objectives that serve as the heart of its program and that are taught to all entrepreneurship students, no matter what track they are taking for their entrepreneurial education.

  • Ethics and values- In addition to exploring issues of business ethics that relate to small business and entrepreneurship, students will examine their own personal values and aspirations to help guide their entrepreneurial careers.
  • Knowing the numbers- Entrepreneurs must be intimately familiar with the financial health of their businesses, particularly in regard to cash flow and other limited resource management and forecasting.
  • Business Model- Students will be expected to develop a full understanding of how to create and utilize a business model and transform it into a fundable business plan.
  • Opportunity scanning and recognition- Students must understand how to identify and evaluate potential opportunities in the marketplace.
  • Managing growth in entrepreneurial companies- Students will learn the unique set of skills necessary to guide a company through its most perilous time period: rapid growth.

The Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship offers a wide variety of programming to support our students’ needs. All activities strategically fall under three main pillars of the Center for Entrepreneurship: Student Organizations, the Campus-Based Business Program, and the Practicing Entrepreneur Program.

Student Organizations

Student organizations allow our students to expand their education, network, and participate in national competitions.

collegiate deca logoStudents may join Belmont’s distinguished chapter of Collegiate DECA. Collegiate DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in colleges around the globe. DECA competitive events connect college to careers by reinforcing 21st Century Skills: Financial, Economic, Business & Entrepreneurial Literacy; Creativity & Innovations; Critical Thinking & Problem Solving; Communication & Collaboration; and Leadership & Responsibility. Our Belmont team achieved exceptional results at the 2018 International Collegiate DECA Competition. 19 students placed in the Top Ten of their event finals. Even more impressive, our students placed in the top three in an unprecedented number of individual events. These individual achievements led the Belmont chapter to place in two of Collegiate DECA’s five overall career clusters: 1st place in the Entrepreneurship Cluster and 3rd place in the Business Management and Administration Cluster. These are landmark achievements for our chapter and place Belmont in the upper echelon of schools participating in this competition.

Enactus LogoStudents may also join Belmont’s internationally recognized chapter of Enactus. This chapter is made up of a dedicated group of students from majors across campus, such as business, finance, design, political science, social entrepreneurship, computer science, education, and more. The students use their skills and talents to serve marginalized populations around the world by utilizing the power of free enterprise. By partnering with nonprofits and social entrepreneurs in Nashville and abroad, our Enactus team works on multiple projects that gives students the opportunity to use what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real world situations, while at the same time helping those in need. In 2018, the team was awarded the Regional Championship for the 13th year in a row and advanced to the National Exposition.

Sigma Nu Tau  LogoSelected students are invited to join Sigma Nu Tau, an entrepreneurship honor society with the mission to promote, recognize, and reward academic excellence in entrepreneurship and to encourage and recognize the practice of principled entrepreneurship. Selection is based on a students’ year in the program, grade point average, and involvement. 

Student-Run Businesses

The Campus-Based Business Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to create and run a variety of retail businesses on campus. This program gives students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in managing a small business. Approximately 3,400 square feet of prime retail space has been set aside by Belmont University for students to use to develop retail or services businesses. Currently, we have 2 businesses operating in this space.

House Of is a student-run retail concept, in partnership with the Nashville Fashion Alliance, that provides the Nashville community with a curated group of local designers and brands. The store opened in April 2016 an employs 15 students from a variety of majors who actively learn about brand management, marketing, sales, and supply chain management. The partnership with the Nashville Fashion Alliance allows House Of to support the broader creative community in Nashville. Over 30 local designers are featured in the store and work with the students to learn more about pricing, promoting, and running a business.

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Practicing Entrepreneur

Some students come to Belmont with an operating business already in-hand. Other students will start-up a business while they are enrolled in our program. For these students, we created the Practicing Entrepreneur Program with a wide variety of resources and support systems.

The Hatchery offers student entrepreneurs access to a co-working space with desks, printers, white boards, and conference table for meetings. Students involved in the Hatchery also have access to a variety of educational and networking opportunities tied directly to their personal entrepreneurial experiences through Practicing Entrepreneur Roundtables. Faculty and several local professionals provide support and advice for students hatching their business through the Hatchery.

The Accelerator is a semester-long program that consists of weekly meetings with 7-10 student businesses. After working through the Hatchery, student entrepreneurs may apply for the Accelerator. The dedicated office space in the Massey Business Center provides a private work room for the entrepreneurs to meet with mentors, business professionals, and Belmont’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. These student entrepreneurs are supported throughout the year to help them accelerate their business growth and development.

Each year, we invite successful alumni entrepreneurs to serve on staff as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs). EIRs give one-on-one advising to student entrepreneurs, help support our other programs, and spread the entrepreneurial mindset to all corners of campus. In addition, these seasoned entrepreneurs act as a connector between our students and the larger Nashville community by bringing in speakers, setting up our students with mentors, and engaging our students through other events around Nashville.

Our undergraduate students may compete in an annual internal business plan competition sponsored by The Center for Entrepreneurship. The top three winners receive thousands of dollars in cash prizes, a prize package filled with business-building tools, and are eligible to compete at LaunchTN’s 36/86 Conference in Nashville during the summer. A panel of alumni entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and community partners provide feedback to the students competing, and the competition ends with networking between the students and local entrepreneurs.

Clinics and workshops are available to all students to support the development and growth of their business. We work with a variety of experts to provide legal guidance, focused workshops, and specialty clinics on a variety of topics such as marketing, customer discovery, SEO, and accounting.

Each year, we celebrate all student entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurship Village. We showcase the innovation, creativity, and success of the student businesses by taking over the Belmont lawn in this all-day event. Any student or alumni may participate and will receive a tent and table to sell items, present demonstrations, and meet customers. Nearly 1,000 students, faculty and staff, and locals walk through the Village each year to learn more about the businesses our students are developing.

This grant is awarded to students seeking funding to help start their business. This program is designed to assist with small, business-related expenses students incur as they begin their entrepreneurial journey.

The Moench Entrepreneurship Lecture Series has been generously funded by gifts from the late Ernest J. Moench and his wife, Anna and allows us to bring leading entrepreneurs to our campus each year.

Examples of past speakers include:

  • Candace Nelson, Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and Pizzana, NYT Best Selling Author, and judge on 10 seasons of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars
  • Craig Dubitsky, founder of hello Products, LLC and the entrepreneur behind Method brand, eos Brand, and The Kind Group
  • Marc Randolph, co-founder and former CEO of Netflix, serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, advisor and investor in numerous successful tech ventures

Whatever your path or vision, our Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship has the expertise, passion and values to prepare you for your own entrepreneurial venture.

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Jack C. Massey College of Business

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212

Email:  ginger.cork@belmont.edu
Phone:  (615) 460-6175

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