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Entrepreneurship and Innovation

"Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our hearts sing."
— Steve Jobs

At Lake Forest College, our entrepreneurs and innovators identify problems worth solving and mobilize the resources to solve them. Ranked one of the top 40 Most Innovative Schools in the US and a best school in Illinois for entrepreneurship, our program fosters a culture of openness, knowledge sharing, risk taking, cooperation, and trust. Students follow their passion into their major and choose a minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation (ENTP) to make their dreams come true. Our program serves as a connector for all programs and majors from the arts to the sciences, catalyzing innovation and change across the College.

Launched in 2014, Lake Forest College's Entrepreneurship and Innovation program has become the most popular minor on campus. It is open to ALL undergraduate student majors. ENTP continues Lake Forest's illustrious and storied tradition of innovation. 

Our small class sizes ensure our students receive personalized instruction and attention in each and every class.  Through direct faculty instruction, mentorship, and experiential projects and work, ENTP students are prepared to design the future, addressing problems in ways that will ultimately improve lives and change the world.  

We are committed to helping our students build entrepreneurial resilience and habits of mind to thrive in college and beyond.  When our students go out into the world, they are equipped with the design-thinking skillset, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a creative, human-centric approach to problem solving.  Our students are ready to meet the demands and solve the problems facing us today.

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation program at Lake Forest College is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community comprised of 33% students of color and first generation college students and 44% women.  We believe entrepreneurship should be accessible to everyone, and we are working towards the day when every entrepreneur - regardless of race, place, gender, income, or background - has the opportunity to realize their dream.  We believe every person with an entrepreneurial resilient mindset and a good idea deserves the opportunity to create and launch.  And we believe it is the spirit of collaboration, resilience, and inclusion that makes our program vibrant and special.

Our distinguished faculty teach the foundations of entrepreneurial resilience, activating a growth mindset, reframing failure and adversity, and cultivating self-efficacy

ENTP students learn how to build effective entrepreneurial teams, to design contingency plans as well as business plans, and to increase personal and organizational resilience

Through faculty instruction, mentorship, and experiential projects and work, ENTP students are prepared to design the future, addressing problems in ways that will ultimately...

Our ENTP students solve problems that move business and society forward, and pitch their solutions in our annual pitch competition   

In ENTP, we promote and foster an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem where all students have access, support, and opportunity to build a thriving, high-growth company ...
Our students work with mentors and coaches to put what they learn into practice, becoming the global entrepreneurial leaders we need to lift our communities and our world ...

Our students learn how to turn ideas into action 

Most Popular Minor on Campus

More than 20% of Lake Forest College students participate in the ENTP programming, courses, and internships that allow students to tailor their experience based on their:

1) AREA OF INTEREST (clean technology, inequality, water rights, food)…

2) INTENDED CAREER PATH including intellectual property development (scientists, artists, writers), self-employment (designers, doctors, lawyers, real estate), nonprofit (social innovation, NGOs, education, arts, government) or for-profit venture (start-ups, corporate intrapreneurship, small business).

3) Need for NECESSARY SKILLS for success beyond the ENTP curriculum (writing, web design, accounting, organizational psychology, etc.).

The Self-Design Major in Entrepreneurship

"I can't find a major that fully meets all of my interests."

Some of our strongest students find that no one traditional major fully meets what they want to study.
The Self-Designed Major emphasizes selfdetermination for its students, while offering guidance and assistance in developing their individualized plans.

Innovation Spaces

Lake Forest College has a series of Innovation Spaces, creative spaces where students can experiment with the latest technology in virtual reality, 3-D printing, audio and video recording, digital photography, theater design, and software creation. Students working on new ventures work with their teams, and mentors, at the Oppenheimer Center.


Entrepreneurship and social innovation students regularly participate in national and international competitions and ideathons such as the Davis Prize for Peace, Princeton University’s Environmental Ideathon, and TCU’s Values and Ventures Competition in addition to the Venture Design Challenge with $10,000 in total prizes.

Interested in learning more?

Check out the Venture Design Challenge

Program Leadership

Created by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, the ENTP program is looked after by the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, a group of highly successful Chicagoland social innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders with a diverse range of expertise.  Our Interim Director, Kate Jackson, has worked across multiple cultural contexts and industry verticals from the west coast to the east coast to APAC and Europe, making change happen by taking a human-centric approach.  Passionate about building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, she focuses on addressing barriers for women, BIPOC entrepreneurs, rural entrpreneurs, LGBTQIA entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.  Our Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Patricia "Trish Thomas is a 3x founder and previously led the program.   Thomas was recently picked Illinois Entrepreneurship Professor of the Year by Future Founders at the 2nd Annual EntrepreneurshipU Awards.  In 2017, Lake Forest College placed in the top 3 of USASBE’s Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Programs.

High Praise for Program
  • In 2021, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTP) placed in GCEC's (Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers) top 4 for "Outstanding Student Engagement and Leadership," a recognition of our center's commitment to putting students and alumni at the center of all that we do.
  • ENTP placed in the top 3 of USASBE’s (United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) “Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Programs” in 2017. 
  • Entrepreneur in Residence, Patricia “Trish” Thomas, named Illinois Entrepreneurship Professor of the Year by Future Founders at the 2nd Annual EntrepreneurshipU Awards.
Distinct Approach

What is distinct about the Lake Forest approach is that our courses and programming provide students with the context, skills, knowledge, discipline and experience to flourish during the process of finding, and solving problems, and to do so in a way that betters themselves, others, and the world.

We do this by teaching, and deliberately practicing, the foundations of psychological resilience (accessing a growth mindset, re-framing failure and adversity, cultivating self-efficacy, self-advocacy and agency; building networks of support, mastering active listening and fearless asking, and navigating difficult conversations) in parallel with the study and application of leading entrepreneurial education theory and the processes required for new venture creation.

The ENTP program is focused on teaching our students how to build effective entrepreneurial teams as well as entrepreneurial leaders; to design contingency plans as well as business plans; and to increase personal and organizational resilience as a means of improving success outcomes. Students learn to understand their personal strengths and motivations, and how to use them as a vehicle for growth in themselves, their teams, and their ventures.

I want to learn how a business is run, from the marketing to the planning to the costs. The entrepreneurship and innovation minor lets me learn it all.
Paris Burton ’19

Related Programs

Contact Us

Matthew Kelley
Professor of Psychology
Associate Dean of the Faculty
Chair of  Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Commons 202

Kate Jackson
Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

Patricia Thomas
Entrepreneur in Residence
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program