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Liberal Arts College Venture Competitions–They’re Contagious!

This paper extends budding research on the spread of venture competitions among liberal arts college campuses. While venture competitions are common at large institutions with specialized business or engineering schools, the liberal arts college campus is a unique and somewhat recent site in which to elicit the entrepreneurial mindset. Quite often one finds: 1) suspicion towards anything related to business or engineering among colleagues in other areas or administrators; 2) limited resources, and 3) little tradition or culture of entrepreneurship as part of the college script among LAC undergraduates. Despite this adverse environment, many faculty at LACs are excited about the co-curricular potential of venture competitions for their high-achieving students. With an expanded dataset and new insights from additional informants, this paper compares and contrasts findings from three liberal arts college innovation challenge competitions. The three Centennial Conference case studies are: Muhlenberg College, Franklin & Marshall College, and Ursinus College.

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