A student gives a slide presentation, which shows 2 students outdoors holding to-go drink cups with large straws.
Center for Engaged Liberal Arts

Entrepreneurship

Katie Kim ’20 at LaunchU pitches a business plan for offering boba tea to Obies.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Recognize Opportunity. Add Value. Turn Ideas into Actions.

At Oberlin we define entrepreneurial thinking as the creativity to see potential and create visionary change.

Our approach encompasses three main areas: the broad benefits of entrepreneurial thinking, the fundamentals of business and start-ups, and the tools needed to effect real social change. Through workshops, academic courses, co-curricular opportunities, and consistent mentorship, students with a variety of interests and goals can learn the skills to make a difference.

Get involved. Get started.

Learn how our programs in entrepreneurship can activate your Oberlin education.

LaunchU: Oberlin’s Competition for Entrepreneurs

Four students pose with their award certificates.

Each year awards nearing $40,000 have been granted to the most promising student, faculty, and community ventures.

Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Learn what it takes to grow an idea into a sustainable business, non-profit or social enterprise that can change people’s lives.

Every winter, LaunchU convenes a bootcamp and pitch competition on Oberlin’s campus for what some have called a “mini-MBA.” Over the course of several weeks, students receive mentorship from industry professionals and thought-leaders on how to build an action plan, accelerate their venture, and execute for success.

Learn more about LaunchU at Oberlin

Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum

Business Integrative Concentration

The business integrative concentration, open to students of any major in the college and conservatory, covers foundational areas, including accounting, economics, management, and ethics. Through immersive experiences in organizations from local nonprofits to Columbia Pictures, JP Morgan and the World Bank, students test what they learn in the classroom and apply critical thinking and agile action to a wide range of opportunities.

Students collaborate around a big wood table, with laptops and open binders.
Photo credit: Sarah Goodstein

BUSI 104: Entrepreneurship Fundamentals

Offered yearly, Oberlin’s flagship course in entrepreneurship provides an introduction to core concepts including opportunity evaluation, marketing strategies, the securing of resources, as well as leadership, scalability, and sustainability in a range of contexts. The course also serves as an incubator for students to formulate their own projects they can continue to develop both on- and off-campus.

Students in a classroom.
Photo credit: Matthew Lester

Arts Administration & Leadership

The Arts Administration & Leadership Integrative Concentration trains students in the business and organizational aspects of arts management and production, from museum administration to rock band management to the film industry. Students will acquire both an intellectual and practical foundation in arts management while also exploring enrichment experiences on stage, in museums, and in other co-curricular activities available in the College and Conservatory.

A woman gives a talk.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Social Entrepreneurship

Oberlin’s Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence builds on our long-standing commitment to social change by hosting a recent alum or community member to mentor student fellows on a venture with a direct positive impact in the surrounding community. Under the guidance of Jesse Gerstin, current Entrepreneur-in-Residence, the fellows are researching minority-owned small business growth in Lorain County for ECDI, a community bank.

A student writes on a sticky note, which is on a board with many other handwritten notes.
Photo credit: Osama Dawood

From the Classroom to the World

The Engaged Liberal Arts at Oberlin takes what you’re learning in your courses and puts it into practice through internships, research, study away experiences, winter term, career exploration, and beyond.

Aerial view of intersecting paths in a campus quad.

Next Steps

An Oberlin education puts the liberal arts to work in achieving a life of meaning and purpose.


The science center at dusk.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi