Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy. As such, developing and educating entrepreneurs must extend beyond the walls of business schools. From doctors to musicians and non-profit managers to engineers, professionals and aspiring professionals from extraordinarily diverse fields benefit from solid entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurship is good for everyone, not just business school students.

This is the exact philosophy taken by the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Denver Business School.

The Center has been working to help to create entrepreneurs across multiple disciplines, and helping to develop them across geographic boundaries.

The Jabs Center is working hard to keep up with the demand for entrepreneurship from students outside the Business School. In addition to offering certificates in entrepreneurship and bioinnovation, the Jabs Center offers a specialization in technological innovation, and is in the process of adding more certificates and specializations. For those who simply want an education in entrepreneurship without getting a full degree, the Jabs Center also offers certificates for non-degree seeking students.

More and more, students from all fields are realizing the value of an education in entrepreneurship. In Spring 2013, the most recent semester, 21 percent of students taking entrepreneurship classes through the Jabs Center were from another school of the University, or were non-degree-seeking. This is part of a steady upward trend, with non-business students accounting for just 9.8 percent of entrepreneurship students in Fall of 2011.

One of the ways in which the Jake Jabs Center is able to promote entrepreneurship is through their annual Business Plan Competition. Beyond the more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes that are given to winners of the competition, the event gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to hear feedback on their business plans, receive help in developing their ideas, and be mentored by successful entrepreneurs.

The Jake Jabs Center Business Plan Competition is one of the foremost events for early stage companies in Colorado.  The first Business Plan Competition was held in 2002, and the event has been growing ever since. The goal of the competition is to promote the development of high-caliber business plans, recognize the most outstanding plans with cash and in-kind awards from area businesses, and encourage the creation of new businesses.

The CU Denver Business School launched its Center for Entrepreneurship in 1996 with an initial gift by Richard H. and Pamela S. Bard.  The Center for Entrepreneurship was renamed in July, 2013 following a generous $10 million gift from American Furniture Warehouse Founder and CEO, Jake Jabs.

With Jabs’ gift, the newly renamed Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship will expand its annual Business Plan competition to encompass universities throughout Colorado and the West. It will enable the build-out of a named marquee space for the new Business School building. It will fund new endowments for a professorship, faculty research, programming, and operations.

For more information about the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, visit the Center’s homepage.

For more information about the Business Plan Competition, visit the competition’s homepage.

Find out more about Jake Jabs’ gift to the Business School here.

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