MU budget challenges push out entrepreneurship program

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Tim Keane

Tim Keane

Tim Keane, Marquette’s entrepreneur in residence, plans to take his graduate entrepreneurship program to Carroll University, in light of budget challenges at Marquette.

“Marquette is my first love,” Keane said, “but given all the recent changes, it just isn’t prepared to do this program.”

The entrepreneurship program is an intensive, 15-credit course aimed at serious entrepreneurial candidates looking for a more hands-on approach to studying enterprise, and will be taught by six established business professionals and expert entrepreneurs. The program will be held in the Water Council’s Global Water Center in downtown Milwaukee, instead of at Carroll’s campus in Waukesha.

“You have to have a real passion for entrepreneurship,” Keane said, in order to be considered for the program. Twenty-four candidates will be selected for the program and Keane said that within the first month, Carroll already received that many applications.

Keane said he tried to keep the program at Marquette, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

“It never caught on, never gained any traction,” he said, attributing a lack of interest on the fact that very little advertising had gone into the program. “People never knew about it.”

Keane said he paid about $10,000 out of pocket to advertise the program for Marquette, but it ultimately was not enough. The few students the program was able to engage were spreading their courses over several years, which Keane said made for a different experience than the intensive one he initially envisioned.

Mark Eppli, interim dean of the College of Business Administration at Marquette, said in an email that “in order to be mindful of and strategic about budget decisions, it made good sense for us to sunset that program at that time.”

Eppli also said, however, that the university “continues to offer educational opportunities in entrepreneurship through our undergraduate major, our growing undergraduate minor and the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship,” and that the college is “very supportive” of the university wide Social Innovation Initiative.

Keane said the idea came about naturally after getting hired by Marquette in 2001. After spending time with the many graduate students, he began brainstorming ideas that would be able to benefit the students.

Keane said he asked himself, “What could you do that could really make a difference with all the people you’ve met?”

Eventually, he decided on the 15-credit program that would give graduate students an opportunity to engage with working professionals in order to give them a concrete understanding of entrepreneurship. After it ended at Marquette, he told the online news site Xconomy that he approached Carroll University because it was a “forward-looking institution that was willing to get behind” the idea.

He also said Carroll was the right choice because it intended to focus on entrepreneurship in southeastern Wisconsin. Keane added he would not rule out another partnership with Marquette in the future.

“I wanted to see it happen because it’s good for entrepreneurs,” he said, “but I would be back to Marquette in a heartbeat.”

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