News | November 13, 2019

Campus LifeCommunityEngagementFeaturedLearningNews

FGCU named best school in Florida for undergraduate entrepreneurship

FGCU also makes The Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern,” “Green Colleges” lists

Photo shows FGCU professor and alumna
Sandra Kauanui, director of the  School of Entrepreneurship, presents alumna Alainah Hacker with a check Hacker earned after a Runway Program pitch. The money is seed funding for her business, Accugentix, which is developing a cannabis oil dosing system for medicinal use.

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is the top college or university in Florida for undergraduate entrepreneurship studies, according to The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Coming in at No. 30 out of more than 300 schools, FGCU ranked higher than entrepreneurship undergraduate programs at Florida State University, Drexel University, the University of Saint Thomas, Boston University and American University, among others.

“We tried a new model with an independent School of Entrepreneurship, and it works!” said Sandra Kauanui, director of FGCU’s School of Entrepreneurship. “This ranking by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine sets us apart from other entrepreneurship schools, especially those in Florida. It’s nice to be recognized for the hard work we have all contributed to reaching our goal.”

Since its founding three years ago, FGCU’s entrepreneurship program has grown exponentially. Its mission is to infuse entrepreneurial spirit throughout the university with an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship major and minor. These are the fastest-growing degrees on campus with 1,800 students currently enrolled in entrepreneurship classes.

A rendering of the future Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which will house the School of Entrepreneurship.

“This ranking demonstrates FGCU’s commitment to entrepreneurship,” said Jim Llorens, interim provost of FGCU. “The significant growth in the past several years shows we have created a program the region wants and needs. This recognition is the result of a commitment by Dr. Kauanui, her leadership team and the Southwest Florida community. Without that support, this would not happen.”

Beyond degrees, FGCU’s School of Entrepreneurship is home to the highly successful Runway Program, which helps students develop a business model and a viable product while earning their degree. Other features include the Mentor Program, through which faculty and outside business experts offer guidance and advice, and the Faculty Fellows Program, which integrates entrepreneurship into academic departments across campus. Additionally, the School of Entrepreneurship, in partnership with Veterans Florida, helps U.S. military veterans develop their business plans and obtain seed funding.

Photo shows FGCU student Jakub Adamowicz
FGCU alumnus Jakub Adamowicz founded RoomDig while he was a student in School of Entrepreneurship. RoomDig developed an app that helps college students find the housing and roommates that best fit them.

“We pride ourselves on setting our goals high and achieving them. Each faculty member we have hired has placed students first in their work. We listen to our students and take their feedback and incorporate it into our program. That approach has made all the difference for the School of Entrepreneurship,” Kauanui added.

The ranking comes at an important time for FGCU. The university is raising money to build the new Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which will house the School of Entrepreneurship, the Small Business Development Center and the Regional Economic Research Institute. The 27,000-square-foot facility will have a business incubator, flexible meeting rooms and expanded faculty and office space. It will be a central location for advancing the culture of entrepreneurship, business development and market analysis that are essential to growing Southwest Florida’s economy.

Entrepreneurship major Jade Gibson started her business, Jade Strings, through the FGCU School of Entrepreneurship. Photo: Hadassa Romero/FGCU

In addition to its No. 30 placement in the “Top 50 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurship Studies for 2020” ranking, FGCU is listed in The Princeton Review’s “2020 Best Colleges: Southeastern” list. The university is also one of 413 “green colleges” featured in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition.” Colleges and universities in the guide have “strong commitments to green practices and programs,” according to a release from The Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review revealed the entrepreneurship ranking lists for 2020 on https://princetonreview.com/entrepreneur. Entrepreneur magazine posted the ranking lists on https://entrepreneur.com/topcolleges. The magazine will publish a feature article on the rankings in its December issue.

For more information about the FGCU School of Entrepreneurship, visit https://fgcu.edu/soe.