Rice to offer minor in entrepreneurship

New program will help students succeed in a world where entrepreneurial capabilities are critical

Credit: Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Rice University, which has the No. 1 graduate entrepreneurship program in the U.S., will now offer an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship.

The program, administered by the university’s Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie) and jointly offered through Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business and Brown School of Engineering, provides students with a pathway to pursue rigorous and interdisciplinary study in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. It enables students to understand the theory and frameworks behind different disciplinary aspects of entrepreneurship and how to apply these theories to develop and scale innovative solutions to societal problems.

“Entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses and industries are critical to Houston and Texas’ future prosperity and quality of life,” said Yael Hochberg, the Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Finance at Rice Business, who leads Lilie. “Rice students continuously seek to lead change and build organizations that can have real impact on our world. In today’s new and uncertain world, the skills and frameworks taught in the new minor are particularly important.”

The minor’s curriculum helps students develop professional skills that are valuable beyond the confines of entrepreneurship, administrators said, such as the ability to identify critical problems or market opportunities and to develop validated solutions to meet these needs; design solutions that are sustainable, inclusive and equitable; embrace empathy to better understand customers, users, clients and team members; and excel in interdisciplinary teams and in communicating messaging across departments, organizations and industries.

Lilie, which was founded in 2015, is a cross-disciplinary initiative to provide students with skills and knowledge to succeed in a world where entrepreneurial capabilities are increasingly critical for meaningful and influential careers. Lilie’s inception expanded the entrepreneurial offerings at Rice Business, creating opportunities for both undergraduate and non-MBA graduate students. Lilie features a coworking space, graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship courses, and a variety of cocurricular activities and resources dedicated to supporting Rice students in entrepreneurial endeavors.

In recent years, Lilie has added a large variety of programs to the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Rice. For example, the annual H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge, established in 2018, allows students to vie for over $65,000 in cash prizes through a series of workshops and three rounds of competition. In addition to the new minor, Lilie also oversees the Rice Business entrepreneurship concentration, which was founded in 1978 by the school’s nationally recognized faculty led by Al Napier and the late Edward Williams. Over the past decade, Rice alumni have created more than 535 businesses and raised more than $7.1 billion in funding, according to the school’s surveys. More than 80% of those companies are still operating.

Rice’s current offerings are universitywide and encompass renowned student- and community-facing efforts. The university is currently working with Houston’s city government and major corporations and organizations, such as the Texas Medical Center and NASA, to define and develop the future of technology and industry innovation in the city. Rice is also developing the Midtown innovation district anchored by the Ion.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.