Case Study

Entrepreneurs in the Classroom

SUNY Purchase is a public liberal arts college in Purchase, NY and is one of 13 comprehensive colleges in the State University of New York system. Together, with a long-time donor, the President and Dean of Liberal Arts of the college identified a gap in the school’s curricular offering –  the school lacked a platform for venture creation for the talented and diverse undergraduate population.

After turning to the economics department to explore internal resources for developing an entrepreneurship course, the school decided to enlist the help of Ethos to identify and recruit an entrepreneurial practitioner to create a hands-on learning opportunity for the students.

Taking Ethos's class has made me feel really prepared for the tasks I'll be doing in my job at a coding startup.

Eric Rios, SUNY Purchase ’19

Key Phases

Phase 1: Curriculum Development

To ensure a focus on real-world, practical, hands-on skills development, Ethos built the curriculum with an entrepreneur-in- residence that was able to leverage deep and varied startup expertise. As a practitioner with direct experience in multiple accelerator programs he could touch on every facet of early-stage business development.

Assuring that the course content matched the needs of the students, Ethos turned to its network of 30 college and university student fellows to conduct a qualitative analysis of the business and entrepreneurship offerings at those schools and the observed gaps therein.

Phase 2: Course Delivery and Iteration

The course focused heavily on reverse classroom style instruction, allowing the students to learn startup concepts through immediate direct application. Each class was coupled with interactive workshops and subject matter expert (SME) guest speakers on topics ranging from pitch delivery to fundraising best practices, establishing a sales pipeline, marketing channel development, and more.

Each class session included mandatory student surveys to appropriately evaluate the effectiveness of the class, allowing for week-by-week adjustments in the curriculum based on the student’s evaluation. The course culminated in a Shark Tank-style business plan competition (video testimonial below) where a select group of students pitched their ideas with a chance to win $2,000-$5,000 of  startup capital with support from a college donor.

Ethos organized, marketed, and facilitated the entire event featuring judges like David Liu of TheKnot.com, Danny Mastronardo of Nardos Natural (ABC’s Shark Tank Winner) and other prominent college donors.

Impact

Ethos supported the university in identifying and training faculty to facilitate the course. Ethos additionally reported findings from pre- and post-assessments created for the course once facilitated.

The findings gathered from these assessments will be used to identify how closely the course supports the greater university’s initiatives and increases the footprint of those initiatives. Long-term, Ethos looks forward to increasing opportunities to support the institution’s students and subsequently the greater SUNY community.

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rated this course as excellent

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took value from the course

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felt the course contributed to skill growth

We’re thrilled to work with Ethos and help students bring their business ideas to fruition.

Dr. Liya Palagashvili, SUNY Purchase Economics Professor

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Questions?

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