Higher Ed

NJIT Among Top Schools in Country for Entrepreneurship

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has been cited by The Princeton Review as being among the best schools in the nation for students aspiring to become entrepreneurs. NJIT is ranked No. 41 among the Top 50 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurship Studies for 2020 across the country, and is the only university in New Jersey to achieve this recognition.

“These schools have truly robust offerings in entrepreneurship studies,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief of the Top 50. “Their faculties are outstanding. Their courses are rich with in-class and out-of-class experiential components, and the financial and networking support their students receive is extraordinary.”

Schools were selected based on The Princeton Review’s June-August 2019 survey, conducted in partnership with Entrepreneur magazine, which solicited information from administrators at more than 300 undergraduate and graduate schools providing entrepreneurship studies. The 60-question survey analyzed over 40 data points, including the number and breadth of entrepreneurship-related courses, student enrollment in these courses, faculty’s entrepreneurial experience, and the number of startups launched by alumni and the funding amounts they raised. It also examined the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies, along with the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

“As New Jersey’s only polytechnic university, and as an R1 institution [the Carnegie Classification® for very high research activity], NJIT is uniquely qualified to develop technological innovation with societal significance and market potential,” remarked Cesar Bandera, associate professor of entrepreneurship at NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management (MTSM), who has completed the annual survey on the university’s behalf since 2015. “Placing among the Top 50 entrepreneurship programs in the county is a recognition of NJIT’s strengths in entrepreneurship curriculum, funding and mentorship for students and university-affiliated startups, and scholarly research and service in this discipline. There is no doubt — entrepreneurship is in NJIT’s DNA!”

NJIT offers 17 credit-bearing entrepreneurship courses, currently to more than 450 students, as well as both major and minor entrepreneurship degrees. Two-thirds of its faculty has entrepreneurial experience and, in the past five years, alumni startups have raised $1,100,000 in funding. Additionally, the university conducts extracurricular entrepreneurial activities that engage all of its colleges. Among them are the New Jersey Innovation Acceleration Center, which sponsors a New Business Model Competition; the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps at NJIT, which provides seed grants and technology commercialization training to faculty-student teams with competitive innovations; and the Tech Venture Support Program, which provides technology startups with market research and fundraising assistance.

As part of their experiential learning, entrepreneurship students are also involved with NJIT’s community small business incubator, VentureLink, the largest in New Jersey. Some go on to establish startups there, joining dozens of companies primarily in the biotechnology and telecommunications sectors. VentureLink provides budding entrepreneurs with educational workshops, professional networking, mentoring programs and more.

NJIT’s Office of Research plays an integral role in entrepreneurship as well, through its commitment to commercialization of innovative research with high-potential impact on society. Together with VentureLink, the office works with NJIT researchers to help bring real-world applications to the marketplace.

“As you walk around the NJIT campus, it is hard not to feel the entrepreneurial mindset and spirit of our students and faculty,” said Oya Tukel, dean of MTSM. “Now that we are in the process of building an entrepreneurship ecosystem at NJIT, connecting all entrepreneurship-related parts of NJIT under one umbrella, we celebrate this recognition institutionwide.”

Entrepreneurship in the United States is on the rise. According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2018 National Report on Early-State Entrepreneurship, the monthly rate of new entrepreneurs in 2018 was 0.32% of the adult population (or 3.84% annually), a figure marking one of the highest levels in the past 20 years. Further, the U.S. ranks as the best country for entrepreneurs, as measured by the annual Global Entrepreneurship Index, which evaluates the health of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in 137 countries.

The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur have administered the survey and rated both the top undergraduate and graduate schools for entrepreneurship studies since 2006. The magazine will publish a feature on the 2020 rankings in its December issue.

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